Corporate Eye

1 in 3 Fortune 500 Companies Have Branded Twitter Profiles

twitter_what_are_you_doingThey might not know how to use it, but big companies are creating Twitter profiles anyway.

According to new research (via BrandWeek), 35% of Fortune 500 companies had active Twitter accounts in 2009 with at least one post in the last 30 days), and 47% of Fortune 100 companies had active Twitter accounts.

Let’s take a closer look at the 2009 statistics:

  • 35% of Fortune 500 companies had active Twitter accounts
  • 22% of Fortune 500 companies had corporate blogs for the public
  • 19% of Fortune 500 companies used podcasting (up from 16% the prior year).
  • 31% of Fortune 500 companies used video blogging (up from 21% the prior year).

Now that you’ve seen the statistics, are you satisfied?  If you’re like me, then you’re probably not.  The reason is simple.  Very few big companies understand how to use social media to effectively market their businesses.  They’ve joined Twitter as a reactionary strategy under the assumption that everyone else is doing it, so I better do it, too.  However, they don’t have realistic goals in mind for their social media efforts.  Instead, many big companies can’t give up control of the online conversation and let consumers run the show.

Let’s face it.  Social media marketing isn’t as simple as applying traditional marketing strategies to new media.  If that’s the direction you take with your social media marketing efforts, you’re destined for failure.  It’s a new mindset, and I’m not sure if big companies can get out of their own way enough to reap the potential rewards that the global online conversation can deliver.

That’s not to say there aren’t some large companies that are experimenting, thinking out of the box, and having success in their social Web efforts.  The problem is that it’s hard for the marketing teams at publicly owned companies to justify spending on social media marketing when hard metrics are beyond their grasp.  But that’s not going to change anytime soon.  Social media marketing is, after all, inherently about brand building, which is another intangible yet essential thing that marketers have to fight for budget dollars over.

Will 2010 be the year that big companies jump on board the Twitter and social media bandwagon in even bigger numbers than ever?  Most likely.  Does that mean they’re doing it right?  Most likely not.  But at least they’re trying, which is better than continuing to say social media marketing is a fad or unimportant.  Right?

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Hi, interesting article Susan. Thanks for putting together.

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