Social Media Marketers help the companies grow

The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has followed up on its 2007 and 2008 studies of social media usage by the Inc. 500. Adoption and awareness continue to trend upward, with 91% of firms using at least one social media tool in 2009 and three-quarters describing themselves as “very familiar” with social networking.

Social networking and blogging have seen the most growth in adoption, while other technologies have flattened or even declined in use, including wikis and online video. Twitter usage, of course, has caught on quickly—more than one-half of businesses reported tweeting in 2009. This was the first year respondents were polled about Twitter.

One impressive change over time was in the percentage of Inc. 500 companies that did not use any form of social media. It dropped precipitously from 43% in 2007 to just 9% in 2009.

The Center for Marketing Research also noted that the Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the US, is outpacing the larger, more traditional companies in the Fortune 500 in many social media activities.

Is the rush to adoption bringing marketing success? Respondents overwhelmingly believed it was. The companies polled were mostly measuring hits, comments, leads or sales as primary indicators.

Companies were also monitoring mentions of their brands in the social media space, at 68% this year. That figure was climbing steadily, up from 60% in 2008 and 50% in 2007.

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