Does Your Company’s Social Media Use Compare?

2014 Fortune 500 Social Media [Research / Charts]

2014 Fortune 500 SOcial MediaIt’s 2014 and the 500 largest companies in the US are expanding their use and adaption of social media. (BTW, here’s how the Fortune 500 behaved on social media in 2013.)

While this should seem like a no-brainer to American adults who on average spend an hour and seven minutes on social media platforms daily, making the business case for social media in a large organization isn’t always easy.

Here are 3 reasons why social media adoption in the Fortune 500 lags their smaller, nimbler counterparts.

  1. Have difficulty proving social media ROI. It’s difficult to track social media results since it tends not to be the last form of marketing touched. Research by Google supports this fact. (Part of the problem may be how its tracked!!!)
  2. Think in terms of campaigns and promotion instead of building customer relationships. Social media requires on-going interaction and engagement. Marketing departments are based on a series of campaigns. Customer service handled through social media requires different skills.
  3. Need to be transparent and open. Large companies tend to obfuscate the truth and have processes in place that maintain the status quo.

2014 Fortune 500 SOcial Media


2014 Fortune 500 Social Media

Since 2008, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research has analyzed the Fortune 500’s use of social media.2014 Fortune 500-social media



Facebook remains the 800 pound gorilla of social media. It’s a must-have element of any social media marketing plan and most of the Fortune 500 companies agree.

  • 80% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies are now on Facebook, a 10% increase from 2013. This represents 401 firms in total.
  • All of the Top 10 2014 Fortune 500 companies have corporate Facebook pages. This includes Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, Phillips 66, General Motors, Ford Motors, General Electric and Valero Energy.

No surprise–Facebook dominates when it comes to fans. It’s followed by Coca-Cola, Disney, Starbucks, WalMart and McDonalds. All of these companies invest a lot of money in mass advertising. 2014 Fortune 500 Facebook Fans-1

Interestingly, there’s no specific industry that stands out for Facebook usage. The implication is that all Fortune 500 marketers believe they need to be present on Facebook.2014 Fortune 500 Facebook By Industry

Facebook is 2014’s see and be seen media. Regardless of whether your business focus is B2B or B2C, Facebook is where your customers spend their time. This is particularly true outside of the US where small social media platforms may not exist.

At a minimum, a Facebook presence supports content marketing distribution. Further, this distribution can be enhanced through the use of Facebook advertising that’s low priced relative to other media options including television and print.


Twitter is useful for building a following to aid communications and content marketing distribution. Of course, the downside is that the lifespan of a tweet is VERY short.

  • 83% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies have corporate Twitter accounts with at least one tweet in the past month, a 6% increase over 2013. This represents 413 corporations.
  • The higher a company’s ranking on the Fortune 500, the more likely they are to use Twitter.
  • There’s no real correlation between industry and the use of Twitter.

Again like Facebook, the Fortune 500 may use Twitter to extend the reach of their social media.

The top 5 ofthe Fortune 500 in terms of Twitter followers are Facebook, Starbucks, Microsoft, Disney, Whole Foods, Nike and Intel.

2014 Fortune 500 final-Top Twitter Followers


LinkedIn is the social media home of the Fortune 500. The Fortune 500 have established their LinkedIn presence to support key corporate initiatives including content distribution, employee recruitment and to enhance corporate relationships such as sales, suppliers and distribution.

  • 97% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies have a corporate presence on LinkedIn.

BTW—don’t underestimate the value of associating your LinkedIn presence with your SlideShare account.


Pinterest use has increased among the Fortune 500. In part, this expansion is attributable to its social commerce connection and visual appeal.

  • 36% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies have corporate Pinterest boards, a 27% increase from 2013. This represents 178 firms.


Google+ has been gaining traction globally. In part this is due to the social media platform’s strong ties to search giant, Google. As a result, many businesses are loathe to overlook its value at the expense of their search marketing strategy.

  • 38% of the 2014 Fortune 500 have active Google+ accounts or 189 companies.
  • 19% of the 2014 Fortune 500 have Google+ corporate accounts that aren’t active yet.  According to UMass Dartmouth, Google+ is the only social media platform with a significant number of open, but inactive accounts. This means that companies have staked out their turf but not put the resources into developing their presence.


2014 is the year of visual content and Instagram is white hot. (Need to get up to speed on visual content quickly? Check out this visual content ebook.)

  • 20% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies have a corporate Instagram account, up from 9% in 2013. this translates to 44 companies.


Often YouTube’s influence as a social media platform is overlooked since it may be classified as a video platform. As another visual format, underestimate YouTube at your peril. It’s the number 2 search engine after Google.

Like Pinterest, users seek to find out how to use products on YouTube.

  • 67% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies have corporate YouTube accounts, a 2% decline from 2013. This translates to 337 companies.


Foursquare supports the mobile footprint of a company with a physical presence. This is key to the marked increase in the use of this location-based service (LBS) with roughly 20 million visitors using their mobile devices to find businesses.

  • 51% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies have a corporate Foursquare account, up from 9% in 2013. This represents 254 companies.


Blogging still gets no respect among the Fortune 500. As an easy-to-use CMS (content management system) and the home of your social media presence, it’s surprising that so few of the Fortune 500 have blogs.

It’s important to note that the University of Massachusetts Darmouth defined a Fortune 500 firm as having a blog if they had a public-facing corporate blog from the primary corporation’s website with up-to-date posts.

Given the size and complexity of these largest companies, this method undercounts the blogs maintained by subsidiaries or internally.2014 Fortune 500 Social Media-Blog-1

  • 31% of the 2014 Fortune 500 companies blog, a slight decline from 2013. Specifically, 157 companies have public facing blogs.
  • 78% of the 2014 Fortune 500 blogs are active. This means that they’re kept up-to-date, accept comments, offer email subscriptions, and provide feeds (aka RSS).

By contrast, 55% of Social Media Examiner research respondents used blogging, and blogs ranked 4th in B2B Content Marketing trends according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProf’s 2014 research.

Further, Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina’s The State of Blogging 2014 found that 50% of bloggers blog during business hours.

It’s easy to say that Fortune 500 companies don’t get blogging, but blogs are a key content marketing and social media publishing platform that yields real results (read: sales and profits) that it’s more likely that this type of high quality content appears on lower level brand and product oriented websites where the real action is. 


While the 2014 Fortune 500 companies continue to increase their use of a variety of social media platforms, they remain slower to embrace the power of social media to drive bottom line sales.

That said, the higher a firm ranks on the Fortune 500, the more likely they are to use different social media tools.

If you work for a Fortune 500 company, what types of social media do you use and what have been your challenges?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen



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