Social Media is Popular Among the Inc. 500

    January 15, 2007

Based on a just released study of familiarity and adoption among Inc. magazine’s 500 list of America fastest-growing companies, social media appear to be making greater than among the Fortune 500 firms.

In the words of its authors, the survey, conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research under the direction of blog researchers Eric Mattson and Nora Ganim Barnes, ” proves conclusively that social media is coming to the business world at a faster rate than many anticipated. It also indicates that corporate familiarity and usage of social media is racing far ahead of what many have predicted.”

The researchers probed familiarity of respondents with six prominent social media (blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, wikis). Social networking came in first, with 42% of respondents claiming to be “very familiar with it.”

Even wikis, which were the least familiar to the participants, are being used by at least 11% of them. Over one quarter of the Inc. 500 studied report social media is very important to their business/marketing strategy.

The companies were asked if they were using the six social media surveyed and how long they had been using them. While familiarity is related to adoption, even the least familiar media of wikis has 17% adoption. All six forms of social media are far more widespread than anticipated, the authors say. (see graph below).

One possible explanation for the higher adoption rates among the Inc. 500 and the Fortune 500 is that private companies do not have the SEC and other regulatory agencies reading their blogs and wikis looking for improper disclosures. It’s a lot easier to be innovative when you don’t have Wall Street and regulators breathing down your neck.



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Jerry Bowles has more than 30 years of varied experience as a writer, editor, marketing consultant, corporate communications director and blogger. For the past 20 years, he has produced and written special supplements on new technologies for a number of magazines, including Forbes, Fortune and Newsweek.