How Inc. 500 Companies Use Social Media: Top Platforms, Benefits, and Challenges

Some 71% of Inc. 500 companies now have a written social media plan, according to recent research conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, and Caroline Daubitz of the Center for Marketing Research, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

The report was based on data from an analysis conducted in 2016 of the social media accounts of the Inc. 500 (the fastest-growing privately owned companies in the United States) as well as a survey of 128 executives who work for Inc. 500 companies.

Half of Inc. 500 companies said they have a social media plan incorporated into their overall marketing/business plan, and 21% said they have a standalone social media plan.

Some 94% of Inc. 500 companies have accounts on LinkedIn, 88% are on Facebook, and 79% are on Twitter, according to the respondents.

Instagram adoption by Inc. 500 companies jumped from 32% in 2015 to 46% in 2016.


Some 94% of Inc. 500 executives surveyed said social media is effective in building brand awareness, and 85% said it helps forge stronger relationships with customers.

Some 59% of Inc. 500 executives surveyed said they are concerned about how to measure the ROI of social media; 52% said they worry about the resources required to maintain social media accounts.

About the research: The research was based on data from an analysis conducted in 2016 of the social media accounts of the Inc. 500 (the fastest-growing, privately owned companies in the United States) as well as a survey of 128 executives who work for Inc. 500 companies.

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