In an effort to understand how the top companies in America use social media, the University of Massachusetts has conducted an annual survey of the digital presence of the Fortune 500.
And this year, Twitter is the most popular social network among the titans of industry, beating out Facebook, blogging and Pinterest.
The University of Massachusetts has been monitoring the social media use of Fortune 500s since 2008, and the social media use of Inc. 500 companies since 2007.
In under five years, social media has gone from a niche marketing tool to an essential part of the arsenal of the largest companies in America.
Twitter, for instance, is used by a massive 365 corporations, or 73 percent of the Fortune 500. The researchers defined an active Twitter account as one that had tweeted in the past 30 days. This represents an 11 percent increase since the study in 2011.
Facebook is used by only about two thirds of Fortune 500s, or 332 total, which is an 8 percent increase since 2011. And corporate blogging has increased as well, but remains relatively low at 28 percent.
Specific companies that appeared reluctant to join the Twitter trend have now embraced the tweet: all six corporations that had a Twitter account, but had never posted a tweet, in 2011 are now active.
Take a look at the chart below, which shows the number of companies with a Twitter account in each major industry in the Fortune 500:
You’ll notice that Food Consumer Products has 13 of 14 – or 93 percent – of its companies on Twitter, while Motor Vehicles and Parts is represented by less than half (44 percent) of its companies on Twitter.
So, of these Fortune 500 companies on Twitter, who’s doing it best?
The company with by far the most followers on Twitter is Google. This mega-giant boasts about 4,796,000 followers, an increase of 31 percent over their follower number last year.
Behind Google is Whole Foods Market with 2,666,000 followers, followed by Starbucks (2,546,000), Southwest Airlines (1,305,000) and Walt Disney (1,289,000). And interestingly, Disney’s account was the fastest growing over the past year, increasing by 86 percent compared to 2011.
You can read the entire Fortune 500 social media study here, which details how corporations are embracing blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and more.
(New York City skyline image via Shutterstock)