Fortune 500 companies warm up to social media

by Darinia Khongwir    Jul 29, 2013

Social media

CXOs are warming up to social media like never before. A study conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, found that companies with lesser online presence who tweet, have greater impact than big companies who have many followers but interact less with their audience.

Now, a new report by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has also revealed that companies on Fortune Magazine’s Fortune 500 list are using social-media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Foursquare, and Pinterest.

The report showed that of the Fortune 500 companies, 77 percent had active Twitter accounts, 70 percent have a Facebook page, and 69 percent have YouTube accounts. All these stats are up over last year—with 4 percent more companies keeping Twitter accounts, 4 percent more having a Facebook page, and 7 percent more on YouTube, reported CNET.com

Other social networks aren’t as popular with the Fortune 500 companies, but they still have some presence. According to the report, 35 percent of companies have an active Google+ account. Of the 500 companies, 44 are on Instagram, 44 are on Foursquare, and 45 have Pinterest accounts.

“Due to the hugely influential role that these companies play in the business world, studying their adoption and use of social-media tools offers important insights into the future of commerce,” the report reads. “These corporations provide a look at emergent social-media trends among America’s most successful companies.”

Not surprisingly, the company that tops the list in social-media activity is a social network itself—Facebook. Ranked 482 on the Fortune 500 list, Facebook has more than 8.5 million Twitter followers and more than 92 million Facebook fans.

The report by Stanford Graduate School of Business Corporate showed that tweets generally contain links to a company’s full original announcement, but very people actually click on the link to see the results. Interestingly, most businesses are investing money in social media without really knowing how it will work. Companies with higher visibility (big companies) have a lesser impact than companies with lower visibility (smaller companies).

This clearly proves that unless companies make an effort to reply to tweets by followers, Retweet their followers and engage in conversation on Twitter, they will not be able to connect with the target audience. Since larger corporations already have an online presence, they may be less likely to have a direct impact on Twitter than smaller companies.

The Fortune 500 companies are also blogging more. This year 34 percent have taken to blogging. Currently, 171 companies are blogging including two of the top five Fortune 500 companies Walmart and Exxon.

“This is a group that now seems comfortable and even excited with its newfound ability to engage its vendors, partners, customers, and others in ways that could not have been imagined when most of their corporations began,” the report reads. “Judging by the increased use of tools, fans, and followers, they are making some very powerful new connections.”