Social Media Usage by the Inc. 500 Nearly Doubles in Just One Year: Society for New Communications Research Senior Fellow Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson Lead First Longitudinal Study of Corporate Social Media Adoption

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Thirty-nine percent of the Inc. 500 are now blogging, a 20 percent increase in just one year according to a new research study, "Social Media in the Inc. 500." The study was conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Chancellor Professor of Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Senior Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite Inc., a Seattle-based research firm.

Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Society for New Communications Research

Social Media in the Inc. 500.

nine percent of the Inc. 500 are now blogging, a 20 percent increase in just one year according to a new research study, "Social Media in the Inc. 500." The study was conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Chancellor Professor of Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Senior Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite Inc., a Seattle-based research firm.

The study represents the first statistically significant, longitudinal study on the usage of social media by corporations. For the first time, growth in familiarity, adoption and importance to mission has been documented. The new study compares corporate adoption of social media between 2007 and 2008 by the Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies compiled annually by Inc. Magazine. This study revisits the Inc. 500 approximately one year later (using the 2007 list) in the first longitudinal study on corporate use of these new technologies.

In 2007 (using the 2006 Inc. 500 list), the first study of this group and their use of social media was released and revealed that the Inc. 500 was outpacing the more traditional Fortune 500 in their use of social media. For example, at that time, 8% of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging compared to 19% of the Inc. 500.

Questions explored familiarity and adoption of six social media types: blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking and wikis.

Key Findings include:

  •     From familiarity to usage to importance, social media is expanding rapidly within the Inc. 500. The adoption rate of social media by Fortune 500 companies pales in comparison to that of Inc. 500 companies over the same time period.
  •     All six forms of social media have enjoyed growth in the adoption of these tools with 77% of the Inc. 500 reporting use of at least some social media tool.
  •     The social media type that continues to be the most familiar to the Inc. 500 is social networking, with 57% of respondents in 2008 claiming to be "very familiar with it" (compared to 42% in 2007).
  •     In 2007 just over one quarter of the Inc. 500 reported that social media was "very important" to their business/marketing strategy. That number has increased to 44% just one year later.

"Not only is this widespread adoption being driven by strong familiarity with social media, but also from recognizing the critical role of social media to a company's future success in today's online world," noted Barnes. "It's clear that this group of fast-growing companies considers the use of social media a central part of their strategic plans."

"If the Inc. 500 is embracing social media at this record pace, can the rest of corporate America be far behind," added Mattson.

The full executive summary of the study is available for download at http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/studiesresearch/blogstudy5.cfm.

In addition, Dr. Barnes will publish a paper based on the findings in the upcoming issue of the Society for New Communications Research's Journal of New Communications Research and will present the findings at the 3rd Annual Society for New Communications Research Symposium, which will be held in November in Boston, Mass.

About the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth
To facilitate the economic development of the region by providing an affordable, high-quality economic alternative to meeting business needs for research, training, and consulting in any and all aspects of Marketing. The Center for Marketing Research is associated with and maintains a close relationship with the Chambers of Commerce within southeastern Massachusetts. This unique relationship provides the Center with an effective business networking capability. For more information, visit http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/.

About the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR)

The Society for New Communications Research is a global nonprofit think tank dedicated to the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society. SNCR creates a bridge between the academic community and practitioners using these new tools and methodologies, and is focused on research, education and best practices. For more information about the Society for New Communications Research, visit http://www.sncr.org or call +1 (650) 331-0083.

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