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Are the Fortune 500 Socially Engaged?

October 25th, 2010 · 5 Comments

According to Mashable, 79% of the Fortune 500 use Social Media.  The most common outlet is Twitter, followed by Facebook, YouTube andBlogging.    Let’s take a look at this in a little more detail.

YouTube makes sense because most large companies have video resources and lots of tapes of executives speaking at different conferences.  Therefore it’s easy for them to leverage this existing resource and put it on YouTube.  It’s also becoming popular for B2C companies to post their TV commercials online as well.

Twitter and Facebook are often used (mistakenly) as a broadcast medium by companies.  This allows many Fortune 500 companies to again broadcast the same messages they usually do.  Glancing at many Fortune 500 company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts will show you few followers and little or no interaction.  There are notable exceptions, but the majority all follow the same route of regurgitating their content and press releases into the social media channel.

The fact that blogging takes up the last position among these forms unfortunately illustrates a continuation of the problem.  Blogging takes more effort than sending an RSS feed to Facebook or Twitter even for a corporation.  A blog that doesn’t accept comments stands out as not being a “real blog” and will be criticized.  You can’t write a string of 140 character blog posts without someone noticing how poor they are.  Someone in the company needs to take the time to write blog posts, and others need to edit them and approve them.  All of this takes more effort than posting a video, or writing a Tweet or Facebook update.

Blogging also naturally promotes a deeper discourse with comments of substance that would have to be addressed.  In simple terms it’s harder to hide when you blog, compared to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  It also takes more effort and more people to do it.

Therefore, I believe that these facts further display the lack of commitment of these Fortune 500 companies to become engaged, transparent and authentic with their communities in social media.

Give me 1 Good Reason why you think this interpretation is wrong?

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Tags: Marketing Monday · Reasons For Net Marketing

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Daria Steigman // Oct 25, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Hi Chris,

    Good food for thought. I tend to agree with you: Fortune 500, and many other companies too, are starting out with the low hanging fruit. Blogging is more engagement — and more work — so it tends to be dropped down.

    I’m not sure I agree that it’s necessarily a sign of lack of commitment. It might just be a sign of lack of resources. While some companies are looking for easy visibility, I suspect at least a few would like a deeper engagement.

    That they can’t make the case for that (or can’t get on the leadership agenda) is a whole different topic.

  • 2 Kathleen Bostick // Oct 25, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Chris I agree 100%. Maintaining fresh and educational content on a blog is hard work. We have a team of 20+ contributors and maintain a publication schedule. This requires constant reminders, but it is paying off. Our readership continues double digit growth quarter on quarter. We are seeing the payoff, but it’s a real commitment and I don’t think most of the Fortune 500 get it.

  • 3 Chris Kieff // Oct 25, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Daria,
    The danger here is that when they engage this way, companies could decide that social media fails to work. It doesn’t engage the audience in a meaningful way when used as yet another broadcasting solution. Then the company could conclude that it doesn’t work. Basing their experience on poor implementation, ultimately harming the company by delaying their true entry into the next major force in marketing.
    Thanks for commenting,
    Chris

  • 4 Chris Kieff // Oct 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Kathleen,
    We need more companies who are actually doing the heavy lifting in social media to explain why it’s worth the work. Too often we in social media are attracted by the shiny new objects, and we ignore the real effort it takes day in and day out to make a difference. I applaud your efforts and will watch to see how you use social media in it’s many facets going forward.
    Thank you for commenting,
    Chris

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