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University of Massachusetts reports fast growing companies are aggressively using Social Media

University of Massachusetts reports fast growing companies are aggressively using Social Media

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently conducted one of the first statistically significant studies on the usage of social media in corporations. The study compares the adoption of social media with a list of the fastest-growing U.S. companies assembled by Inc. Magazine – a leading business magazine headquartered in New York City.

The 2009 results prove that America’s fastest growing private companies adopt social media marketing initiatives at much higher rates than other companies, and that interest in social media has grown exponentially since the first study was conducted in 2007.

In 2007, the first study of this group and their use of social media was released and revealed that the Inc. 500 was outpacing the more traditional Fortune 500 in their use of social media. For example, at that time, 8% of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging compared to 19% of the Inc. 500.

This study examines the Inc. 500 one year later in the first study on corporate use of these new technologies. Given that previous research now shows that while only 11.6% of the Fortune 500 currently having a public blog, it is astounding to see that 39% of the Inc. 500 are blogging. The addition of 3.6% more Fortune 500 companies to the list pales in comparison to the addition of 20% more of the Inc. 500 companies after the same time period.

Given this statistical significance, the research proves that social media has penetrated parts of the business world at a tremendous speed. It also indicates that corporate familiarity with and usage of social media with these Inc. 500 businesses has nearly doubled in the past 12 months.


The respondents in the study were diverse in category of business, size and location. The 209 companies who responded were asked the same detailed questions concerning their usage and measurement of social media that were asked of the Inc. 500 approximately one year earlier. Questions asked about the familiarity of respondents with six prominent social media – social networking, blogging, podcasting, online video and wikis.
Here are some pertinent facts from the study: 91 percent of companies reporting that they use at least one social media tool, compared with 77 percent of companies surveyed in 2008. While Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites have seen significant growth in comparison to previous years, interest in some older social media tools such as message boards and podcasting has declined. Social media usage by companies on the list has grown in the past year, with 91 percent of companies reporting that they use at least one social media tool, compared with 77 percent of companies surveyed in 2008. 44 percent of companies without a company blog say they plan to start one and 36 percent intend to use some form of online video. Many entrepreneurs have already embraced these sites as part of their business strategy, with Facebook and Twitter being the most widely used among them, drawing activity from 52 percent of the respondents.

Eric Mattson, CEO of a research firm named Financial Insite and one of the head researchers in the study, believes that the high reception to social media among Inc. 500 companies is important for several reasons. ” Inc. 500 companies are focused on doing anything they can to grow faster and social media is an innovative tool that may give them an edge over their competition,” he says.

Mattson thinks it is significant that the sample group consisted entirely of private companies. “There is less implication for private companies using social media – they don’t have to worry about the stock market going up or down based on someone’s Tweet,” he explains.

Mattson concludes, “From a big picture trend standpoint, these results show how prevalent and widespread social media is becoming in every aspect of business now.”

Often in smaller organizations, there is more room for innovation because it requires less processes to adopt.? The specific ways in which the businesses surveyed use social media tools has also evolved. Now – 34 percent of companies reported that they were using social media to communicate with vendors and suppliers and 26 percent cited Twitter in particular as an important vehicle for communication with outside partners.
The study is important in many ways – the most significant being that the fastest growing private businesses in the United States are embracing social media more than ever before.

Sofia Sapojnikova
Vesta Digital

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