Key findings from the study are that:
As of 2009, 75% of respondents claim to be "very familiar" with social networking tools. In 2007, 42% percent were "very familiar" with social networking and 57% were "very familiar" in 2008. However, as the chart shows, across the board a significant percentage of the companies are "very familiar" with each of the technologies studied.
From familiarity, the survey moved into the companies' actual usage of social media. While familiarity is related to adoption, even
the least familiar tool (podcasting) has 37% adoption. Social networking and blogging have enjoyed growth, while the use of message boards, online video, wikis and podcasting ha
ve leveled off or declined. The addition of Twitter in the latest
study shows that 52% of the Inc. 500 is using this tool for their business.
When asked if the use of social media has been successful for their business, Twitter users report an 82% success rate while every other tool studied enjoys at least an 87% success level. Measuring success was investigated and most respondents report using hits, comments, leads or sales as primary indicators of success.
When asked if they plan to adopt any of the social media technologies that they are not currently using, they clearly intend to continue immersing themselves in these tools. 44% percent of those without corporate blogs intend to have one. 27% percent of respondents who do not currently have a business presence on Twitter plan to move into that space. Even though the use of online video appears to have dropped slightly, the intent to adopt it appears strong.
Social Media, 2009 (Inc. 500)
% Very Familiar
Plan to Adopt (If Not Currently Using)
Don't use any
Source: UMass Dartmouth, January 2010
When queried on the importance of social media, 26% of respondents in 2007 felt that social media is "very important" to their business and marketing strategy. That figure rose to 44% in approximately one year and remains virtually the same in 2009.
Importance of Social Media For Business/Marketing Strategy, 2009 (% of Respondents)
% of Respondents
Source: UMass Dartmouth, January 2010
The conclusion from the UMass report suggests that... from familiarity to usage to importance, social media has
expanded rapidly. And, for the first time, 3-year trends in familiarity, adoption and importance to mission have been documented in a statistically significant, longitudinal study. This third study,
says the report, begins to shed light on exciting new social media tools like Twitter,
and new uses of social media like recruitment and hiring. With almost every responding company using at least one form of these exciting new technologies, social media is clearly here to stay in the business world.
At the same time, a new Weber Shandwick study, to evaluate how effectively Fortune 100 companies used Twitter to its full potential as an engagement platform, concludes that, with intervention, Twitter can help companies engage with customers, build new relationships and create a new pool of advocates talking positively about their brands.
The study showed that 73% of Fortune 100 companies registered a total of 540 Twitter accounts. However:
With more than 20 million people on Twitter in the U.S.(50 million worldwide), there are ample opportunities for audiences to engage with corporations and brands, says the report.
The key is listening and engaging, says Weber, but the study indicates that companies are not engaging effectively. Among the Fortune 100 companies examined by Weber Shandwick, only:
And, the conclusion of the Weber Shandwick study is that for the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity. To maximize the benefits of Twitter, says the report, companies should offer opinions and encourage discussions, reach out to their communities of customers and advocates, build relationships with new customers and look for untapped supporters.