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How the Inc 500 are Using Social Media

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The Center for Marketing Research at UMass Dartmouth just released their annual study on the usage of Social Media by the Inc. 500.

You can find the report at the BOTTOM of this page, but what’s important is to see how fast America’s private high-growth companies are adopting the use of social media to grow their business, advance their brand, and connect with their customers. I value this report a great deal because the Inc 500 is a diverse cross-section of Amercian businesses, including family-owned, personally financed, VC-backed, etc.

The bottom line is that every entrepreneur and business owner, whether they are running a 35 year old business or just getting started, can and will benefit if they develop, execute and work at using social media effectively.

Here are some interesting statistics from the report:

  • Over half the Inc 500 executives surveyed are using Twitter in a business context
  • Almost 50% of Inc 500 companies maintain a company blog, as opposed to only 16% at Fortune 500 companies. Great to see so much innovation and adoption starting in the middle and lower middle market of American enterprise!
  • Only 4% of respondents this year, as opposed to 13% in 2007, believe that social media technologies are ‘very unimportant’ for their businesses; nearly 80% believe social media technology is either ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ to their business.

It’s a very interesting report, and it’s definitely worth reading if you are a marketing executive at a private company or an owner of a small company looking to grow without committing to a large traditional marketing budget (print ads, TV, newspaper, etc).

If you’d like to get started using social media, do the following:

  1. Commit to a blog on your company website; before you get going though, lay out a good blog strategy.
  2. Reserve a Twitter account; decide UP FRONT if you’re going to have it be a Twitter account for your business, or a personal account
  3. Get on LinkedIn and set up a profile for yourself; if you’ve already done that, be sure to set up a profile of your company.

Committing to it and getting good at it are 2 different things. Commit first, and then work at it over time and learn from all the others on the web to take yourself from amateur to expert.

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