The social media pool – just dive in?

November 14th, 2008 by Jon Clements


“Hungrier, less complacent and more willing to embrace new media” for business.

That’s just one view why the US’s fastest-growing private companies – The Inc.500 – are giving the Fortune 500 a beating in terms of social media uptake, including use of blogs, online video and podcasting.

The findings come from what The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth claims to be the first statistically significant reseach into the use of social media in companies.

Comparing last year with this, 11.6% of the Fortune 500 have a public blog against 39% of the Inc.500.  Only 3.6% more of the largest US corporations joined the blogosphere in the period, while 20% of private firms signed up. Now, nearly half (44%) of the Inc.500 companies reckon social media is “very important” to their marketing/business strategy – up nearly 20% on last year.

So, what’s bugging the bigger beasts in the forest about social media? And if this is the case in the States, where does that leave the biggest UK companies? The topic surfaced at this week’s Social Media Cafe launch (#smc_mcr) in Manchester, where it was agreed that large businesses tend to baulk at what they see as the uncontrollable world of social media.

Craig McGinty, with typical candour, told the assembled bloggers and social media-ites at the #smc_mcr: “It needs someone with the cahunas to get things going. But that means taking small steps, dipping their toe in and using a small team which can begin to feel comfortable with it.”

This suggests that despite the fears among gatekeepers, lawyers, compliance departments and whatnot within the larger organisations, the communications world is moving that way and companies run the risk of being left behind. 

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

8 Responses to “The social media pool – just dive in?”

  1. Ade Stevenson Says:

    And is social media ready for big companies? Many are not at all sure about the incoming corporatisation, and I’m not at sure I’m not one of them, however inevitable it may be.

  2. Jon Says:

    I can understand the feeling of any social media early adopters that what felt like an exclusive club is being invaded by those with a commercial agenda. But, once upon a time, the Internet was the closed province of a few academics. I imagine the active bloggers of today would be sorry if that scenario was still the case. If social media allows companies to behave in a more human and less faceless fashion with their customers, suppliers, etc, is that a bad thing?

  3. Helen Lambert Says:

    Dell has dived right in, and its team seem to be doing it extremely well.

  4. JustinSMV Says:

    Thats what its all about, change and adapting to change. Change is coming wether we like it or not and successful companies should embrace these new media rather than be afraid of change. What a kwinky dink in the states with the new president-elect Obama and change 🙂 Good post. Thanks!

  5. Jon Says:

    I’m with you on that.
    However, what in the wide world is a “kwinky dink”?
    It’s a phrase I think I need to start using, so fill me in!

  6. JustinSMV Says:

    kwinky(Ka-Win-ky) dink = slang for Coincidence 🙂

  7. Jon Says:

    Wow! A new word in the armoury. I feel vaguely “street”.

  8. Guillaume Says:

    Like drawing, will be really useful for a quick explanation of what social media is.

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