Nora Ganim Barnes at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Centre for Marketing Research has been doing annual studies of social media use among the Fortune 500 (largest public companies) and Inc. 500 (fastest growing private companies). The 2010 study results have just been released, and a summary is available here.
Quick snapshot? The 2008 study was about corporate blogging. The 2009 study added Twitter. The 2010 study added Facebook. This pretty much says it all.
The complexities of corporate structure have been a challenge for the study, which looks only at blogging at the corporate level, not the subsidiary level. This definition must of course seriously underestimate the activity occurring, because a meaningful marketing strategy would be targetting communications (at least one would hope so!)
With this in mind, the continued growth in social media adoption that the study reports is likely understated, in my view.
Private companies are more likely to be using any form of social media, which makes sense, as they are not subject to the potential wild swings in stock price that can result from a social media scandal (remember Domino's Pizza).
The study also has stats for Twitter and Facebook, available in the short summary.
Clearly, social media is now part of the media mix. But traditional media is becoming more social. So media strategy is frankly becoming a bigger challenge for marketers of all sorts.
From my limited vantage point, I don't think most agencies are providing tremendously strong support to their clients in this area -- they are still climbing the learning curve themselves, and still trying to figure out the revenue model. [Would welcome some with more expertise in this area to comment.]
The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging, Twitter and Facebook Usage by America’s Largest Companies, by Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, U Mass. Centre for Marketing Research.
Social Media in the 2009 Inc. 500: New Tools & New Trends, by Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, U Mass. Centre for Marketing Research.