Social Media Experiencing 3rd Year of Consecutive Growth in Inc. 500

November 18, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Research, Social Media

Back in 2007, I covered a study conducted by UMASS Dartmouth researchers on the use of Social Media within the Inc. 500, which concluded that the hype behind social media was real and that companies were successfully engaging with it.  The same researchers (Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Eric Mattson CEO, Financial Insite) have continued to study the Inc. 500’s use of social media for three years running.  The 2009 study is now available online, and the results show that “social media matters and is here to stay,” with 91% of respondents using at least one social media tool (versus 77% of respondents in 20080 and 43% saying that social media was a “very important” part of their marketing/business strategy.  The full study is a great read and has some very interesting graphs on social media adoption in the Inc. 500.  You can learn more about the study and download it here.

Both social networking and blogging have grown in adoption among the Inc. 500, while use of online video, wikis, podcasting, and message boards has either leveled off or declined among the group in 2009.  Interestingly 52% of the respondents in the Inc. 500 are now using Twitter to grow their business, and 62% of executives reported that they were familiar with Twitter.  This represents phenomenal growth.

I found the following charts the most interesting:


In next year’s study (assuming they do another one), I’d like to see a breakdown of “social media” types used (i.e. Facebook versus Twitter versus MySpace versus Flickr, etc.).  As you’ll note in the above chart, 75% of respondents were familiar with social media, and 62% were familiar with Twitter. And, yet, to my way of thinking these two categories are not mutually exclusive.


Again, looking at the chart above, I’d like to see a breakdown between the different social networking platforms companies use? I wonder whether respondents were considering Twitter as a social network when they responded that they use social networks, or whether they were thinking of Facebook or other mediums.


Looking at the above chart, I find it particularly fascinating that Twitter is deemed the least successful of all of the different social media mediums being used. It’s still showing strong success, but not as high as “social networking” as a whole. I’d love to see some deeper analysis on what constituted success from the respondent’s perspective and which specific social networking platforms/ techniques they found most useful.

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