Following up on a recent study looking at Fortune 500 companies, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has now released one focused on the social media usage by companies in the Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing companies as opposed to those with the largest revenue.
- Among the more startling findings of the study is that the use of blogs by these companies has actually declined, the first time it has done so since the first study in 2007. Where last year adoption had risen to 50% it has now dropped down to 37%, below even the level found in 2008.
- Facebook and, somewhat surprisingly, LinkedIn are the most widely used social platforms, with 73% of respondents saying they were being utilized and around 25% saying they were the most valuable publishing platforms in the respective company’s arsenal.
- “Brand awareness/reputation,” “web traffic generation,” “lead generation” and “customer support” were all called out – in that order of importance – as the corporate goals a social media program was helping to achieve.
So first off, yes, 37% is higher than 23%, meaning the Inc. 500 still outpaces the Fortune 500 in terms of blog adoption and usage. But where the previous study showed some (minor) continued growth this one shows regression. And it’s regression among companies that, presumably because of their rapid growth, are the ones that are the most active in terms of customer acquisition, something that social media is supposed to be super at.
What’s even more surprising for me is that video usage is also dropping year to year, down from 36% in 2009 to just 24% in 2011. We’ve been told that video is the hot new way for companies to connect with consumers. Further down the survey report YouTube is pegged as being a successful tool for 87% of those using it, so perhaps there’s some barrier to entry that is keeping it from being more widely adopted.
You can read the whole study here. And, as I stated in my previous post, it’s far better that companies use the tools that are going to work for them and not be bullied into maintaining channels where there is no return for them and no engagement with fans simply because the prevailing conventional wisdom says they should.