Copy of Fortune 500 Companies Prefer Instagram over Blogs (1)

This post appears courtesy of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The full study can also be found on their website.

Instagram usage increased 13 percent among 2015 Fortune 500 (F500) corporations while blog usage decreased by 10 percent, according to a 2015 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth study.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research started its study on social media adoption among the F500 in 2008, and has repeated the study annually since. In 2008, the study was primarily focused on blogging. Now it has expanded to include platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, in addition to business networking platforms.

The study found that corporate blogging leveled off in 2011, increased in 2012 and 2013, then began its decline in 2014. This shift showed corporations’ movement toward visually rich platforms like Instagram. Instagram’s photo-sharing capabilities help in building companies’ brands and establishing goodwill with audiences.

In addition to Instagram’s visual components, the social media platform is also less labor intensive than blogs.

In 2014, Instagram was used by 101 F500 corporations. Active usage increased to 164 corporations in 2015. The report notes that Walmart, General Motors, General Electric and Ford Motor have active accounts, while Chevron has a protected account.

Instagram surpassing blog usage among F500 corporations confirms that America’s largest companies are reevaluating their social media involvement. The study suggests that smaller companies should consider these changes in communications tools.

This study also found that Twitter is more popular than Facebook, and Glassdoor joined LinkedIn as a popular business tool.

For more in-depth results, please read the 2015 social media adoption study.

Hailey Gerhard is a senior public relations student at the University of Florida and a public relations intern at the Institute for Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @haileygerhard.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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4 thoughts on “Fortune 500 Companies Prefer Instagram over Blogs, Study Says

  1. Instagram is an incredibly powerful tool, and engages the younger audiences. It becomes even more powerful when integrated with a blog.

    Just like you wouldn’t want to have a single point of failure with advertising, product lines, etc., you should have multiple channels to engage an audience from.

    Certainly, one will drive more revenue or customers than another, but they all become more powerful when combined.

    1. Ali, I agree that integrating different platforms can create powerful, effective messaging. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hailey, I think the data you are reporting can be interpreted in many ways. For example, the idea that Corporations are shifting away from blogs to Instagram because they want to have more visually rich content misses the mark. I was just in Hong Kong last week for “Public Relations Week,” at the The Chinese University of Hong Kong, a number of speakers from large agencies (in marketing) argued that using visual media gives them control over the messages more. No one argues with brand imagery and they can be used enthymematically, whereas a blog post actually requires someone to construct a compelling message (requiting both a skilled communicator and an investment of time) and provides a venue for people to question the organization and its representative. This is a comparison of apples and oranges and the fact that a correlation exists does not suggest any causal relationship (“100% of all people who eat pickles will die.” But that does not make it the fault of pickles). Additionally, as you explained, this was a “marketing research” study, not one by public relations, and the needs of marketers are really not congruent with genuine public relations needs—we often collaborate, but what they do is very different than what we do. I would encourage you to subject such analyses to more scrutiny. The fact that PRSA just sent out a message yesterday about a conference concerning marketing and public relations collaboration (“the rules of the game have changed. Do you know how to apply the new rules to lead the charge as a PR professional in creating a strategic culture with marketing and communications?”) points to the fact that many leaders in public relations have come to see what marketing does as the same as what we do. Encroachment is not a new public relations issue and the collaboration of marketing and public relations is not a priority for “most” professionals, although in agency or corporate setting it is more common and unfortunately treated as the accepted norm. Many of my colleagues have seen the same trend and find it disappointing to see our professional associations coopted by marketers and advertisers who often seem to little knowledge of public relations and little interest in what WE provide to organizations.

    1. Thank you for your insight, Michael. I agree that blog posts are still an effective method of communication for many corporations. It will be interesting to see the results of this study in the next few years.

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