Why US Fortune 500 Boards can’t ignore social media marketing & big data

Why US Fortune 500 Boards can’t ignore social media marketing & big data

By Geoff De Weaver, CEO + Founder, Touchpoint Entertainment Inc. https://geoffdeweaver.com/


According to a report via Spencer Stuart in 2014, the average age of S&P 500 directors has increased in recent years to an all time high. Of the 361 boards that specify a retirement age, 30% now set it at 75 or older. The average age of independent directors of S&P companies is 63 while 500 boards have an average age of 64 or older.

Given that the average age of US Board membership is over 64 years old, this can be a hugely difficult bridge to cross for many because most have never had the opportunity to learn and use today’s digital tools. However, this may also be impeding their understanding of today’s digital landscape, tools and platforms and impacting their ability to ‘evangelize’ and ‘socialize’ as they must!

Let’s look at the opportunity: 

1. Facebook – The average time spent on Facebook per user per day is 21 minutes, there are 4.5 billion Facebook likes every day and 1.591 billion monthly active users. And, Facebook Hits 100 Million hours of video watched a day.

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Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Facebook

2. Twitter – Every second, on average, around 6,000 micro-messages are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.

3. YouTube /Google – Over 500+ hours of new video are being uploaded on YouTube every minute. And, in November 2015, Google was ranked first amongst the most visited multi-platform web properties with 247 million U.S. unique visitors and a market share of 63.9 percent among the leading US search engine providers.

4. LinkedIn – While, LinkedIn is the largest professional social network in the world, with some 414 Million users. It provides a platform that enables Board Directors to share updates about their organizations, follow industry related influencers, connect with fellow board members, and conduct Board searches. However, it’s disappointing to see how few Fortune 500 Board Members are listed on LinkedIn and if they are, their privacy settings are way too high – preventing them from being found by those conducting Board searches. If you want to be found, you need to make yourself ‘findable’!

Twitter was launched in March 2006, YouTube in February 2005, Facebook in February 2004 and Linkedin the oldest of the four – was founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, (Perhaps prior to most Board Director’s formative day-to-day management years?)

Here are a few other relevant facts that Board Directors must be aware of today:

  • In 2015, 103 corporations (21%) had corporate blogs, down 10% from 2014.
  • Twitter is more popular than Facebook (78% vs 74%).
  • LinkedIn remains the most popular social media platform among the 2015 F500 by far.
  • Glassdoor (87%) has joined LinkedIn (93%) as a popular business tool.
  • The use of Instagram has increased by 13% pointing to more interest in visually rich platforms.
  • Three hundred and seventeen (64%) corporate YouTube accounts were found in the 2015 F500.
  • Nine corporations (2%) do not NOT use any social media.

Fortune Magazine annually compiles a list of America’s largest corporations, aptly named the “Fortune 500” (F500) given their size and wealth. Due to the hugely influential role that these companies play in the business world, studying their adoption and use of social media tools offers important insights into the future of commerce.

Here is 2015 list: 103 (21%) of the F500 companies have blogs and I think that todays Boards, must insist their companies be more transparent, engaged and provide much great customer experience that the limited blogs the group use today. According to a recent paper published by UMASS|Dartmouth:

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Above: Thirty-four percent of the F500 companies were hosting corporate blogs in 2013 while 52% of the Inc. 500 used the tool.  In 2014 blogging declined in both groups. 

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LinkedIn remains the most popular social media platform among the 2015 F500

It’s critical for today’s US Boards to fully appreciate and be conversant with the critical role social media marketing plays in this Digital Era and time of immense Digital Disruption. Importantly, it’s their fiduciary responsibility to get up to speed in this regard.

As I have previously discussed, it is part of Board Directors ‘Fiduciary’ responsibility to be across all the major issues, strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats that might impact their corporation’s ‘bottom line’. Board Directors should have full access to current business plans and strategies so they can help map out where they are going. CEO’s must also work in partnership with their Boards to reap the full benefits of their experience and expertise.

In fact, the very word itself, fiduciary, comes from the Latin word  fiducia, meaning “trust,” and, for Board members, it is usually defined as follows:

“An individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect. A fiduciary relationship encompasses the idea of faith and confidence and is generally established only when the confidence given by one person is actually accepted by the other person. Mere respect for another individual’s judgment or general trust in his or her character is ordinarily insufficient for the creation of a fiduciary relationship. The duties of a fiduciary include loyalty and reasonable care of the assets within custody. All of the fiduciary’s actions are performed for the advantage of the beneficiary”

Fiduciary responsibility also extends to:  recruitment and human resources, investor relations, partner/supplier relationships, corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate reputation, business-to-business, staff and pretty much everything else surrounding a company or brand.

This is why it is so important that Boards find time to discuss social media initiatives, understand the potential of social media marketing and its risks for their company and have an emergency PR protocol established in these accelerating digital times.

Finally, Board members need to understand that social media marketing is not just about an individual or staff members being connected to their friends or family, nor is only for retail customer-facing companies or customer services, it is also an integral component of doing business in a Digital Age!

AND, make sure your Board, and its Directors, understand all the implication of their responsibilities in this Age of Digital Disruption. (especially if you are the Founder and/or CEO)


Stay passionate & win the day!



More about Geoff De Weaver:

Geoff De Weaver Oct 2015

Hailing originally from New York; Geoff De Weaver is the globally experienced entrepreneur and marketer, technology disruptor, trend hunter, transformation expert, author, keynote speaker and CEO of Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.

Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:


‘When Action Meets Passion and Compassion, Lives Change’ ~ Geoff De Weaver





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