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20 Dec. 2019 | Comments (0)

Since 2008, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has conducted an annual analysis of social media use by Fortune 500 companies. In our latest analysis, we’ve found that only one company—HollyFrontier—does not use any of the social media tools or platforms examined in the study, highlighting a point of near saturation among the country’s largest companies in their use of social media.

The 2019 Fortune 500 are demonstrating that they are critically evaluating their social media usage. Although the top social networking platforms of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter remain strong, other social networking platforms are getting noticed such as YouTube and Instagram.

All three are attracting attention from these wealthy corporations as they turn to younger audiences and move to engage with Millennials. For these younger consumers, pictures and video are their communications tools.

It is interesting to note both the resurgence of blogging over the past few years. It is possible that companies are looking to engage consumers in a personal way, but also on their own terms. Blogs are the only tool included in our research that have the advantage of being totally under the control of the company using it. With no restrictions on content, length or format, blogging may continue to be a strong piece of a social media plan.

Just as last year, these successful companies are adopting Instagram at a record pace and are active in posting, using hashtags, and replying to comments. They are replacing Snapchat with Instagram; to inform consumers and promote products, as well as to make a name for themselves, especially if they are a newer or lesser known company. It helps to portray companies in a fun and highly engaging manner.

Businesses are adopting these new tools and using them in addition to other, more mature tools to create a more comprehensive social media strategy. The 2019 Fortune 500 companies continue to adapt to changes and seize opportunities that are presented in the social networking environment.


The following definition was used to locate 2019 Fortune 500 corporations with a social media presence: A company was counted as having a presence on each platform studied if the primary corporation had an active account. This was determined by examining both the date of the last post and the patterns of posting. Typically, a post in the last 30 days qualified for an active account, but in rare cases there were patterns of posting every 45 days. These were considered active as well.

Other Research Highlights

  • Blogs Corporate blogs are steadily becoming more prevalent on company websites. Up 1 percent from the previous year, 54 percent of companies now have a public-facing corporate blog.
  • Twitter With 96 percent of the Fortune 500 companies actively using Twitter, up 5 percent from last year, it has proven to be a platform in which companies should focus their social media efforts. Through engaging content, and word-of-mouth, Twitter metrics can lead to a higher email subscription rate, as well as an overall growth in sales for the company.
  • Facebook 95 percent of the Fortune 500 companies are actively using Facebook, which is up 6 percent from 2018. Facebook “likes” can be beneficial when advertising to targeted segments.
  • Instagram With its constant innovations, Instagram proves to be an important marketing tool for companies. The steady increase in usage over the past five years (up 10 percent from last year), makes it a platform to watch going forward. Seventy-three percent have corporate Instagram accounts.
  • YouTube YouTube has been ranked among the top destinations for domestic and global web traffic. With more than 1 billion users, and more than half of those users utilizing YouTube from a mobile device, having a YouTube presence can provide a strong ROI. Ninety percent of the Fortune 500 have a YouTube account.
  • LinkedIn LinkedIn continues to keep its number-one spot on the social media usage chart for the sixth year in a row, with 99 percent using the platform (up 1 percent from the previous year). Our studies suggest that LinkedIn will maintain its popularity as a business networking and recruiting tool going forward.

To read the full study, as well as previous years, please visit the Center for Marketing Research’s website here.

I also participated in a discussion with Texas Instruments’ Rachel Hawkins and Alex Parkinson about the report’s findings, which is available to watch on demand here.

  • About the Author:Nora Ganim Barnes

    Nora Ganim Barnes

    Nora Ganim Barnes is a Chancellor, Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Nora has worked as a consultant for many natio…

    Full Bio | More from Nora Ganim Barnes


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