The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research did their 2011 update study on social media marketing activities of Inc. 500 companies (fastest growing 500 private companies). The results were interesting... many items expected such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter as most used, but when it came to results, for those outside of following inbound marketing, the results may be surprising.
Social Media Activities Performed by Inc. 500 Companies
Between 2009 - 2011, the top 3 social media activities performed by Inc. 500 companies were Facebook (74%), LinkedIn (73%), and Twitter (64%). After those top 3, the rest were utilized by less than half. YouTube was 4th with 45% usage, and Blogging was 5th at 37% used. After those numbers, items such as online video, message/bulletin boards, texting, mobile, podcasting, discount sites were all under 25% use.
9% of Inc 500 companies did not use any social media activities.
Social Media Activities that were Successful by Inc 500 Companies
In 2011, the most successful social media activity reported was... Message/Bulletin Boards (96%). Message and bulletin boards, along with blogging, got the highest success ratings of any tools, among companies that use them for marketing. In fact, the top 4 successful items weren't any of the top 4 used by Inc. 500 companies. LinkedIn came in at 90%, YouTube at 87%, Twitter 86%, and Facebook was at 82%.
So Why These Numbers?
According to eMarketer... "The research could suggest that marketers are abandoning techniques that work. However, it could also be a sign that marketers who have mastered these techniques are sticking with them, while those that have seen less success in these areas are pulling back from their efforts. Those marketers who continue to blog are likely the ones who have seen the most blogging success, for example, while those who found blogging’s return on investment too low have likely moved on."
My take? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are easy to do, so there are probably more people who shouldn't be do marketing are using these items. Also, a key point in my mind is that these main 3, why very popular and mainstream, are easy ways out to communicate ideas and thoughts. These social media outlets are places for quick blurbs, short thoughts, and ideas configured in 140 characters or less. Blogs, Message Board Responses, Online Videos... these items require more thought, more process, engage the users more, and are geared and targeted towards those that are more qualified/engaged into what you are promoting and marketing.