Inc. 500 Continue to Embrace Social Media and Add New Tools According to 4th Annual Benchmarking Study

Eighty-three percent of these companies are active with Facebook, Twitter, Blogging or other social media platforms.

The adoption of blogs by the Inc. 500 has increased by 5% over last year. Meanwhile, there has been explosive growth in the use of Twitter and Facebook by these companies. These were among the key findings of the latest benchmarking study conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Research Chair of the Society for New Communications Research.

The new report is the outcome of a statistically valid study of the 2010 Inc. 500 list. The study examined these institutions to quantify their adoption of social media tools. This is the fourth year that Barnes has tracked social media usage by this sector, and it is the only methodologically sound longitudinal study of its kind with every company in the Inc. 500 included.

The research shows that:
Social networking continues to lead the way:

  • 71% have corporate Facebook pages
  • 59% have corporate accounts on the relatively new Twitter
  • 50% have a public facing corporate blog
  • 44% say Facebook is the single most effective social networking platform they use

Blogging remains an important tool for the Inc. 500:

  • 50% have a corporate blog (up from 45% a year ago)
  • 34% have developed policies to govern blogging by their employees

New communications tools are changing the way successful businesses operate:

  • 56% reported social media was “very important” to their business/marketing strategy
  • 57% report using search engines and social networking sites to recruit and evaluate potential employees

Social media adoption varies among the Inc. 500 Industries:

  • 83% of the 2010 Inc. 500 use at least one of the social media tools studied
  • Government Services, Energy and Finance companies make up 54% of those not currently using any social media tools.

“The adoption of social media by most industries on the 2010 Inc. 500 list continues to grow and now includes Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and LinkedIn. However, during this same time, there are certain industries that have not ventured into this new arena,” stated Barnes.

“This clearly demonstrates the growing importance of social media to this segment of the business world,” Barnes continued. “These fast growing companies drive the American economy. Their willingness to interact so transparently via interactive technologies with their stakeholders defines them. It will be interesting to watch as they expand their adoption of social media tools and see if they influence some of their non-user peers to join them.”

A full copy of the new research report can be downloaded at