Facebook and LinkedIn are now the most popular and most effective social media tools among the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Center for Marketing Research, under the direction of researcher Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD.
Meanwhile, the number of Inc. 500 businesses that publish a corporate blog has fallen over the past year, the study found, as companies appear to be shifting away from maturing tools (e.g., blogs, message/bulletin boards, online video, and podcasting) toward popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Foursquare.
Key social media-related findings among companies listed on the 2011 Inc. 500, according to the study:
- Facebook and Twitter use is still growing, albeit slightly: 73% of Inc. 500 companies use Facebook, up from the 71% that did so in 2010, and 64% use Twitter, up from 59%.
- Blogging and online video are down: 37% of Inc. 500 companies now publish a blog, down from 50% in 2010, and 24% use online video (vs. 33% in 2010). Among those not using blogging, 56% plan to start, whereas only 34% of those not using online video plan to do so.
The use of podcasting has also fallen sharply—from 16% in 2010, to 6% in 2011.
Below, other findings from the 2011 Inc. 500 study of social media use, conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Center for Marketing Research.
Across other social channels and digital marketing activities, LinkedIn enjoys nearly the same popularity as Facebook among the Inc. 500:
- 73% use LinkedIn and 45% use YouTube (adoption levels were not measured in 2010).
- 13% use Foursquare, up from 5% in 2010.
Blogging: Inc. 500 vs. Fortune 500
Among the Inc. 500, the use of blogging may have peaked as a primary social media tool. By contrast, among Fortune 500 companies, blogging has leveled off over the past three years, at roughly 23% penetration: