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Business - Written by on Thursday, August 28, 2008 9:18 - 1 Comment

Denis Hancock
Social Media use: the Inc. 500 vs. the Fortune 500

An interesting little report came out of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently – a “statistically significant, longitudinal (study) on the usage of social media in corporations.” However, it wasn’t just any corporations – the study focused on the Inc. 500, which is comprised of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. One particularly interesting headline result – 39% of the Inc. 500 is blogging, which is a 20% increase over the previous year. In contrast, other research indicates only 11.6% of the Fortune 500 currently has “active public blogs by company employees about the company and/or its products“, a bump of 3.6% over the same time period. As the following chart shows, the Inc. 500 is also showing rapid growth in the adoption of social networking, online video, wikis, and podcasting:

It will be intriguing to see if the leadership of the private companies over public continues to persist, and/or whether the Inc. 500 adoption is a leading indicator of what the public companies are going to do. Wikinomics readers might also be interested in following the “In contrast” link above, which is a wiki page that was created by Chris Anderson and Ross Mayfield to enable a cooperative, volunteer effort to review the blogging activity of Fortune 500 companies. My favorite link here is the “spectrum of corporate social media“, which hopes to flush out a taxonomy of ways to engage in social media (with specific examples). I think it still has a long way to go, but here’s how it currently stands:

  • Sue and fire Employee Bloggers (e.g. Delta Air Lines Inc)
  • RSS Feeds of existing content (e.g. Intel Corporation)
  • Internal Wikis and Weblogs (e.g. DrKW)
  • Executive Bloggers off-Site (e.g. guest blogging)
  • Host Consumer Blogs (e.g. most media companies, Google)
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for Employee Blogging (e.g. Apple Computer, Inc)
  • Group Blogs on-Site (e.g. Yahoo! Search Blog)
  • Executive Bloggers on-Site (e.g. SAP Executive Blogs)
  • Public Wikis (e.g. Intuit)
  • Encourage Employee Blogs (e.g. Scoble)
  • Host and Employee Blogs (e.g. Sun Microsystems Inc, Microsoft Corporation)
  • Carpetbombing (e.g. commenting anonymously in blogs)

Note: I don’t think “sue and fire employee bloggers” is a good category to be in :) .

1 Comment

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Jan 10, 2010 11:58

Denis, I took this survery as a member of the Inc 500 (I think I’m quoted in it somewhere) and I just took another one for the YPO. What I’m seeing is that i’m updating about 6 different blogs per day and I really want my employees (ALL of them) to be actively participating in online forums, communities, blogs, ect. as members of my company and their own personal lives. Good or bad. Mostly what I see now is individual product branding rather than branding an experience. I would like the world to know when my company did something good, and I don’t mind if our (non competitive advantage :) ) information gets out if it’s bad. And you know what? The employees are the ones that don’t want to do it because while the blog on company time, they would like to be compensated extra for the extra participation. Oddly enough this is going to cause me to install an internet filter unless I can come up with some good incentives and everyone cooperates.

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