Fast-growing companies are particularly visible on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, according to a new study.

By Tamara Schweitzer

Social Media for BusinessFor the third consecutive year, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has conducted a study that looks at the usage of social media among Inc. 500 companies. The 2009 results confirm that America‘s fastest growing private companies adopt social media marketing initiatives at much higher rates than other companies, and that interest in social media has grown since the first study was conducted in 2007.

Conducted by researchers Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson, this year’s study looked at 148 of the 500 companies on the 2009 list. As was the case in each of the past two years, respondents were asked about their usage and familiarity with six types of social media tools, including blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, message boards, and wikis. According to the study, social media usage by companies on the Inc. 500 has grown in the past year, with 91 percent of companies reporting that they use at least one social media tool, compared with 77 percent of companies surveyed in 2008. Of the six social media categories covered in the survey, the one that continues to be the most familiar to Inc. 500 companies is social networking, with 75 percent saying that they are “very familiar with it.”

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