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Friday, January 28, 2011

Fast-Growing Companies Use Social Media More (But 'More' Is As Little As Just One Tweet)

America's fastest-growing companies are significantly more likely to use social media than their larger, established peers, according to two studies by the UMass Dartmouth's Center for Marketing Research.

The UMass Dartmouth center conducted longitudinal surveys of the Inc. 500, which lists the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., and the Fortune 500, listing the largest companies, to determine how many have adopted different types of social media. According to the UMass Dartmouth comparisons, 71% of the fast-growing companies on the Inc. 500 list said they have Facebook pages, while 59% use Twitter, 50% maintain a corporate blog, and 33% use bulletin boards.

All these figures are up from 2009, when 61% said they used Facebook, 52% used Twitter, 45% maintained a corporate blog, and 28% used bulletin boards. In terms of rules governing social media use, 34% of the Inc. 500 said they have policies guiding employee blogging.

As noted the large, established companies on the Fortune 500 list indexed much lower in social media usage virtually across the board. The proportion using Facebook was 56% in 2010, while the number maintaining a corporate blog edged up from 22% in 2009 to 23% in 2010. In keeping with these disparities, just 20% of the Fortune 500 said they had rules governing employee blogging.

Interestingly Twitter was an important exception, with the percentage using Twitter increasing from 25% in 2009 to 60% in 2010; however, because the study set the bar pretty low for the Fortune 500 study -- just asking if there was a Twitter account with one tweet in the last month -- so it's hard to know just what this means.

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