28% of Fortune 500 companies (139) have public-facing corporate blogs this year, according to data from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, released in August. This represents a 5% point increase from 23% in 2011 and 2010, and is up 75% from 2008, when just 16% of the Fortune 500 had public-facing blogs. 2 of the top 5 corporations (Exxon and Wal-Mart) have public facing blogs, while the remaining 3 (Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Berkshire Hathaway) do not.
In January, the Center for Marketing Research studied the Inc. Magazine 500 and found that the use of blogging had dropped to 37% in 2011, a 26% decline from 50% in 2010, and an 18% fall from 45% in 2009. Still, 92% of those using a blogging platform said it has been successful for their business, up from 86% in 2010.
The 139 Fortune 500 corporations with blogs represented 54 of 71 industries in the Fortune 500. Of those industries, telecommunications led in adoption percentage, with 40% of its companies maintaining a blog (6 of the 15). In second place were commercial banks (30%; 6 of 20), followed by utilities (27%; 6 of 22) and specialty retailers (25%; 7 of 28).
17 industries maintained no blogs at all. This was not so surprising in the forest and paper products industry, or in trucking and waste management. However, the more consumer-facing tobacco, real estate, toys, and sporting goods industries, also failed to maintain any public-facing blogs.
365 of the 2012 Fortune 500 corporations (75%) have corporate Twitter accounts, and they hail from all of the 71 industries represented. Interestingly, Fortune 500 rank appears to have little influence upon Twitter behavior. Each of the top 10 companies has a corporate twitter account. 44% of the Twitter accounts belong to those companies in the top 200 on the list, and 37% from the bottom 200. The study concludes that those ranked higher in the 2012 Fortune 500 are only slightly more likely than lower-rankers to have a corporate Twitter account.
Google had the highest number of Twitter followers in 2012 at the time of the study (4.8 million, up 31% over 2011), followed by Whole Foods Market (2.67 million, up 25%) and Starbucks (2.55 million, up 38%).
As of July, Twitter was the most commonly-used social network among Fortune Global 100 companies, used by 87, according to a report from Burson-Marsteller. YouTube was second (79) followed by Facebook (74), though newer platforms Google+ (48) and Pinterest (25) also saw significant levels of penetration.
Returning to the Fortune 500, 66% are on Facebook, an 8% increase over 2011. 8 of the top 10 companies have a Facebook page, including Wal-Mart, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Motors, General Electric, Fannie Mae, Ford Motors and Hewlett-Packard. The 2 that do not are Exxon and Berkshire Hathaway.
The 332 corporations with Facebook pages represent 69 of the 71 industries in the Fortune 500, and the percentage varies by industry. 89% of companies in specialty retail have a Facebook page, as do 86% of consumer food makers and 80% of telecommunications companies, making these the top industries by adoption percentage.
Coca-Cola leads for a second year on Facebook with 42.2 million fans, followed by Walt Disney with 32 million fans. According to SocialBakers, Coca-Cola was the top brand mover on Facebook in July, adding more than 2.5 million fans to reach 46.1 million.
About the Data: The Center for Market Research findings are the result of study of companies named by Fortune Magazine to its Fortune 500 list for 2012 (released in May). Companies were counted as having a blog if they had a public-facing corporate blog from the primary corporation with posts in the past 12 months. All corporations were analyzed using multiple steps. First, working from the published 2012 Fortune 500 list, all corporate home pages were examined for links to, or mention of, corporate blogs. If none were found, a search on the company’s site was conducted using the key word “blog.” Any links resulting from that search were followed and evaluated using the established criteria.
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