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Social media being used by nearly all Inc. 500 companies

November 25, 2009

91% of those Inc. 500 companies polled in a recent survey are using social media. The results of the study performed by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth are reported in an article just out in Inc. Magazine. The ‘Inc. 500’ represents the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

The study covered six types of social media tools, including blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, message boards, and wikis. Highlights from the survey include:

  • America’s fastest growing private companies adopt social media marketing initiatives at much higher rates than other companies.
  • 91 percent of companies use at least one social media tool, compared with 77 percent of companies surveyed in 2008.
  • Of the six social media categories covered, the one that continues to be the most familiar to Inc. 500 companies is social networking, with 75 percent saying that they are ‘very familiar with it.’
  • Twitter is the most widely used, drawing activity from 52 percent of the respondents.
  • 26 percent cited Twitter in particular as an important vehicle for communication with outside partners.
  • 34 percent of companies reported that they were using social media to communicate with vendors and suppliers.
  • Interest in some older social media tools such as message boards and podcasting has declined.
  • 44 percent of companies without a company blog say they plan to start one.
  • 36 percent intend to use some form of online video.
  • 68 percent were monitoring mentions of their company name or their brands on social media sites compared with 50 percent just two years ago.

Eric Mattson, CEO of a research firm named Financial Insite and one of the head researchers in the study commented:

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

If you’re a law firm not using social media, how are you to engage and network with corporations who are effectively using blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the like to build relationships? Aren’t you going to be viewed as an outsider looking in? To leaders of America’s fastest growing companies, isn’t your law firm going to look behind the times?

If you’re leading a law firm looking to get business from the Inc. 500, and which good sized general practice law firm wouldn’t be, I’d be asking those questions. I’d be asking the same as a lawyer. I’d be recognizing that if my firm doesn’t get aggressive in the use of social media, we’re going to lose work to the competition.