Social Media Adoption Slows For Fortune 500

A recent study by UMass at Dartmouth examined the use of blogs, Twitter and Facebook among the 2011 Fortune 500 companies.

23% (or 114) of the 500 companies have public-facing blogs, including two of the top five corporations: Walmart and Exxon.  In 2010 this percentage was the same, but there were two more – 116 companies – with blogs.  In 2009, the it was 22%. Blogging is now seen as a fairly mature tool, and UMass speculates that this consistent percentage “may signal a plateau” for corporate blogs among the Fortune 500.

These corporate blogs are fairly interactive, with frequent posting and ongoing discussion through RSS or subscription feeds. 91% of Fortune 500 corporate blogs take comments.

62% (or 308 companies) of the Fortune 500 have corporate Twitter accounts that have been used within the last month, a 2% increase from last year.  Companies ranked higher in Fortune’s list are more likely to be Twitter users, with the top 10 companies all on Twitter. Nearly half (49%) of the Twitter accounts belong to the companies in the top 200 on the list, while just 34% belong to companies in the bottom 200.

This year’s study included the number of Twitter followers for the first time, with a list of the top 8 corporate Twitter accounts (by follower numbers) including Google, Whole Foods, Starbucks, and notably the Washington Post with a rise to nearly 600,000 within just one year.
Top Twitter Accounts for 2011 Fortune 500 by Follower Numbers - UMass Dartmouth study

289 companies (or 58%) of the 2011 F500 are on Facebook, up from 56% last year. Just as with blogs and Twitter, companies higher in the 500 are more likely to have a presence on the social network. Nearly half – 48% – of the top 200 have a corporate Facebook page, while only 35% of the bottom 200 use Facebook.  The top 8 corporations by number of Facebook fans include Coca-cola, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Walmart.
2011 Fortune 500 Facebook Accounts By Followers - UMass Dartmouth study

There are still 156 companies (31%) in the Fortune 500 that have neither a Twitter account nor a Facebook presence. There has been little or no change in the number of companies using corporate blogs (0%), Facebook (2%) and Twitter (2%) in the last year – does this mean that social media adoption has leveled off among the big corporations? The researchers at UMass conclude: “Given that the F500 are the titans of American business, we may be seeing the slowdown in business adoption of social media.”

The Fortune 500 is based on total revenue (not growth) and can include public and private companies.