Social Media Failures of the Fortune 500

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According to a new study by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the adoption of the most popular social media tools by the Fortune 500 appears to be leveling off, with little or no change in the past year. 

Close to one third of these corporate giants are without either a Twitter or Facebook account. While the percent of companies blogging remains at 23%, that number now represents 114 companies with blogs instead of the 116 recorded last year. 

Other key finding from the study include: 

- 23% (114) of the primary Fortune 500 corporations have an external corporate blog; representing a leveling off since 2010 and only a 1% increase over the 2009 study.

- Fortune 500 companies are blogging at a lower rate than other business groups, specifically the Inc. 500. In 2010, 50% of the Inc. 500 had corporate blogs and in 2009 45% had externally-facing corporate blogs.

- 62% (308) of Fortune 500 primary companies have corporate Twitter accounts. This is an increase of only 2% over the 2010 Fortune 500.

- 58% (289) of the 2010 Fortune 500 have a Facebook presence. There is an increase of only 2% over the 2010 Fortune 500.

- Specialty Retail stores are most likely to have a blog. These include Home Depot, Best Buy, Toys-R-Us and BJ’s Wholesale.

- 31% of the 2011 Fortune 500 do not have a Twitter account or a Facebook presence.

“These results may signal a leveling off and possibly retrenchment when it comes to the adoption of social media among the 2011 Fortune 500," said Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Research Chair of the Society for New Communications Research and Chancellor Professor of Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. "There is also evidence of change in the adoption of these tools by industry and a clear sign from some companies that these are not part of their communications strategy. Given that the Fortune 500 are the titans of American business, we may be seeing the slowdown in business adoption of social media. At the very least, this group appears to have slowed or stopped its adoption of the three most prominent tools." 

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