Fortune 500 companies dramatically increased blogging this year and significantly decreased social media posting.
This year, 387 (77%) of Fortune 500 companies published new content on their corporate blogs, up from 45% last year, according to new research from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Research Marketing. Blog usage more than tripled since its all-time-low of 21% in 2015.
Meanwhile, Fortune 500 use of Twitter dropped from 96% to 89%; use of Facebook dropped from 95% to 85%, and YouTube use from 90% to 78%. If a corporation had a social media profile but had an inactive account, researchers counted it as not using the network.
LinkedIn Still Popular, TikTok Gains Attention
Only LinkedIn held steady at 99%. The professional network will likely remain popular as a business networking and recruiting tool. Also, use of newcomer TikTok jumped to 8% of Fortune 500 firms.
The blog movement highlights the advantages of business blogging over social media – advantages that smaller businesses can also seize. Due to the influential role Fortune 500 companies play in the business world, their use of social media and other digital PR and marketing tools offers valuable insights into emerging communications trends.
The steep jump in corporate blogging may seem to contradict recent digital marketing trends. Social media is supposedly the new wave of customer interaction, while blogging feels old-school.
Covid-19 Drives Increase in Corporate Blogging
UMass researchers credit Covid-19 for the blogging surge and corresponding slide in social media posting, noting that they collected data this summer during the height of the epidemic. Corporate blogs proved indispensable for relaying information to customers, employees and the general public.
In their blogs, Fortune 500 companies publicized corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, and offered tips for working from home, staying healthy and other useful content.
“2020 was a year to use blogs to help consumers through a challenging time,” researchers stated.
At the same time, Covid-19-inspired closures of corporate offices stymied production of social media postings. It seems that producing videos and photographs for YouTube, Instagram and other networks became more difficult while personnel worked from home.
This year’s trend underscores the advantages of blogs over social media. Blogs provide greater control, the ability to promote long-form content, grow email lists, and increase website traffic through SEO. While social media’s reach is subject to whims of the platform’s algorithms, blog posts remain discoverable on search engine results. As owned media, blogs offer better measurement insights.
“They could control the message. They could include various media formats. And, they would own the metrics,” writes Arik Hanson, principal of Hanson Communications, in his email newsletter. “I saw brands like Tyson Foods using their blog to share messages about employee safety during the onset of COVID. I saw companies like Citi using their blog to share personal messages from African-American employees about the George Floyd murder and social unrest. And, I’ve seen companies like Levi’s use its blog to share messages around the election and getting out the vote.”
Blogs are effective for most any corporate communications purpose. Regularly publishing on the corporate-owned blog can build a loyal and engaged audience of employees, customers and other stakeholders over the long term.
Bottom Line: Fortune 500 companies discovered the benefits of corporate blogs during the Covid-19 epidemic this year. Blogs offered an excellent communications channel for promoting corporate messages and informing consumers. At the same time, producing social media posts became challenging and more Fortune 500 social media accounts remained inactive.
Michael Kling is manager of public relations, marketing and social media at Glean.info, a media monitoring and measurement service that provides customized media monitoring and PR analytics solutions.