It may surprise you, but the answer isn’t Facebook
More companies in the Inc. 500 are using social media as part of their business and marketing strategies, and they are seeing success and viewing social media overall as more valuable.
These firms, which include the fastest-growing private companies, have been using a mix of tactics, with Facebook as the most popular. According to a study released in January 2011 from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, 71% of companies used Facebook in 2010, up from 61% in 2009. Twitter, at 59% in 2010, and blogging, at 50%, are also still high on the list.
If a company has used social media, it has most likely also seen success, the study found. Eighty-five percent of companies viewed Facebook as successful, a significant jump from 54% in 2009. Yet Facebook hasn’t matched message or bulletin boards, with 93% reporting it was a successful tactic. foursquare also saw a significant increase in usefulness; it wasn’t even measured in 2009, yet in 2010, 75% of companies reported it was a successful tactic.
As social media becomes more prevalent and valuable, the perception of it is changing. More companies view it as important, with 86% reporting social media technologies to be somewhat or very important to their business and marketing strategies in 2010, up from 79% in 2009. And growth is even stronger among those who consider it “very important.”
These fast-growing Inc. 500 companies see social media as increasingly important to their businesses because of the success they’ve seen, and marketers will continue to test various social networking sites to find the right mix for their company’s strategy.