The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research has released its latest analysis of social media usage in the marketing efforts of companies on the Fortune 500 list. As always, the study has a number of interesting insights into how corporations view different online platforms and how they can contribute to their marketing efforts. Here are some of the report’s key takeaways.
Blogging Continues Rebounding
In 2015 corporate blog usage fell to a low of 21%. That was the height of the buzz around “distributed” media when everyone was seeking off-site solutions. After beginning to grow again last year it’s now at 42%, twice the 2015 number and, in fact, the highest it’s ever been. Blog usage is still highest among those at the top of the list as well among tech and other consumer-centric industries.
All of that is good news, but there’s also that fewer corporate blogs than ever before allow on-domain comments, just 51%. On the one hand that’s not surprising and forgoing comments in favor of social media conversations is a trend throughout the media world. But it’s also disappointing since allowing such comments can be a valuable customer service and audience feedback tool.
As the study notes, one reason for the resurgence in blog adoption is that it’s a wholly-owned platform, a notion that seems to be coming back into vogue as companies get whiplash from ever-changing algorithms and terms of service on other services. They are unencumbered by character restrictions, can offer a variety of distribution options for the reader to choose from and more while owning their content.
LinkedIn Dominates, Twitter Beats Facebook
Because it appeals to all industries and is a valuable corporate reputation tool, LinkedIn continues to be the most widely-used social network by companies of all types. 98% of the Fortune 500 maintain active LinkedIn profiles, which can be used not only for news but are powerful recruiting tools.
More surprising given Facebook’s dominant stature worldwide is that it falls to third place in usage after not just LinkedIn but also Twitter. The numbers are close – 88% to 85% – but Twitter’s second-place showing indicates it’s still viewed as more important for its timeliness in breaking news and as a customer service platform than Facebook.
Visual Platforms Usage Grows
Instagram continues to gain more and more usage among these companies, growing to 53% this year from just 95 in 2013. Specifically the study calls out its usage as not just a marketing/corporate reputation tool but also a sales platform, something the company has been trying to encourage with more tools geared in that direction.
Also growing is Snapchat, which is used by 10% of the Fortune 500. That may seem small, but it’s going to keep getting bigger if the company can make changes, as it plans to do, that ease the on-ramp for new users and make advertising a more sustainable revenue source.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.