UMass social media study highlights shift in how companies converse with consumers

blogThe way consumers interact with their favorite brands may be shifting. According to a new report from the University of Massachusetts, a number of companies in the Inc. 500 fastest-growing private companies in the US have begun to drop the corporate blog in favor of micromedia mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkdIn.

The Dartmouth marketing study has been tracking the use of social media in the Inc. 500 for 5 years. The study takes its data from 24 different industries within 36 different states. The majority of surveyed companies have 1-50 employees and report annual revenues of $3m-$10m.

Apparently, blogging has declined for the first time among the group of fast-growing companies. In 2010, blogging adoption was up to 50% from 45% in 2009 and 39% in 2008. 2011blogging corporate 1 results revealed that companies with corporate blogs have dropped to below 2008’s numbers. The study points out that this decline “mirrors a trend in other sectors, as this mature tool evolves into other forms.” A somewhat complementary study from Dartmouth on the Fortune 500—a group slow to innovate, but good at signaling emerging trends—shows that the number of large companies with public-facing blogs has stayed constant between 2010 and 2011, which may signify a “plateau for this mature tool among the F500.”

So, how are companies choosing to communicate in 2011 and beyond? Social media seems to stay prominent in the minds of the 170 responding executives with regards to brand awareness; 88% see social media as crucial to web traffic, while 73% believe social media important for customer support. According to the study, trends point to “incorporation of new platforms and tools including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, texting, downloadable mobile apps and Foursquare,” with a reduction in blogs, message boards, podcasting and a complete dismissal of MySpace. Facebook is the most popular platform, with 74 % of companies using, followed by LinkedIn with 73%, and Twitter with 64%.

A Golden Age gone?

The findings in the study mirror an interesting point in analyst Jeremiah Owyang’s post last year about the end of the tech blogging golden age. Owyang says that the needs of audiences has changed, and thanks to a fragmented attention span, many prefer smaller and shorter content-bites in order to cut down on the sea of content vying for their attention.

Many of the executives interviewed in the studies believe that one of the major drawbacks to social media is the time it takes to create content as well as the time it takes to update and post to various platforms. Their goals in social media include, networking, reaching out to new people and brand awareness. The companies generally measure social media’s effectiveness blogging corporate 2based on friends, fans followers, hits and comments. The newer mediums seems to address these issues the most efficiently, as Robert Scoble has pointed out “…when I write something Twitter Facebook, Quora, or Google+ I get immediate feedback. I get thousands of views very quickly and get distribution through things like Google’s Currents or Fliboard readers. Blogging seems to have struggled in some of these areas.”

The Dartmouth study says that new tools are “replacing” the old, pointing to an evolution in social media use and a shedding of the old in favor of “newer, more nimble tools,” but Frank Reed from Marketing Pilgrim points out that “Twitter and Facebook are not true engagement tools on a deeper level. They are hooks.” While these micromedia sites may be perfect for attention grabbing, ice breaking, mood sustaining as well as for customer service, Reed says that company blogs are necessary for the meat of deeper conversations. A micromedia resource shift seems to be a short-sighted strategy, which Reed says, may be choice that is a reflection of the current miserable US economy.

With both the Inc. 500 and Fortune 500 snubbing the blog, and the rise of micromedia adoption, is this the corporate blogs end? And if it is, for those of you that follow certain company blogs (Playstation, Google, Microsoft, etc.), will an increased shift to micro-updates be a bother or welcomed?

Computing

Federal jury convicts malware creators of hijacking 400,000 computers

Two Romanian men have been convicted by a federal jury for using malware to hijack 400,000 computers in order to steal credit card information, engage in cryptomining, and commit online auction fraud, among a number of other crimes.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Social Media

Facebook’s tributes section serves as an online memorial for deceased users

Death doesn't stop Facebook users from sharing memories, and now those memorialized posts have a dedicated spot on the network. Facebook Tribute is a section on memorialized profiles for users to write posts and share memories.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.
Social Media

Your Facebook newsfeed is getting a spring cleaning, and so is Messenger

Hows that newsfeed looking? Facebook has shared an update on efforts to clean up the newsfeed, as well as what tools are coming next. Facebook has new Trust Indicators, while Messenger gains badges for verified accounts.
Social Media

Looking to officially rid your inbox of Facebook messages? Here's how

Deleting messages from Facebook Messenger is almost as easy as scrolling through your News Feed. Here, we show you how to delete an entire conversation or a single message, both of which take seconds.
Social Media

LinkedIn: Now you can express love, curiosity, and more with new Reactions

LinkedIn is following in the footsteps of Facebook (three years later!) with the rollout of new reactions that give users more ways to express themselves when responding to posts in their feed.
Social Media

Twitter’s experimental Twttr app is even more popular than the real thing

Twttr, the new app that lets regular Twitter users test new features, is proving more popular than the main app, according to the company. The revelation suggests some of the innovations may land for all Twitter users soon.
Social Media

Messenger and Facebook, together again? Facebook tests integrating chats

Longing for the old days where Facebook and Messenger were one app? Facebook is testing an integrated chat option. While Messenger remains more feature-rich, the test brings some chat functionality back into the Facebook app.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories on iOS, Android, and desktop

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down worldwide for 2 hours this morning

Chaos erupted on the internet this morning, as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m. Thousands of users were unable to access the sites or send or receive Whatsapp messages.
Mobile

Skype screen sharing for mobile will let you share your swipes on dating apps

Skype is prepping the launch of screen sharing for mobile so you can share your swipes on dating apps, shop with buddies, or, perhaps, show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. It's in beta just now, but anyone can try it.