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By B.L. Ochman

Surely, as we head into Q2 of 2011, the Fortune 50 – if not all big companies – are now at least involved in social media and want us to find them everywhere they have an online presence.

Nuh-uh! Only 44% of the Fortune 50’s homepages have ANY social media icons – the examples of the little Twitter and Facebook symbols on the left – that link to a company’s social media pages. Call Inspector Clouseau if you want to find the rest.

In 2006, I wrote a post wondering why so many large companies were not linking to their blogs from their corporate websites. I revisited the question in 2009 and again in 2010. I found the biggest companies were not linking to their Facebook pages or Twitter streams from their company websites.

As we head into Q2 of 2011, I found that only 44% of the Fortune 50 have social media icons on their homepage. Why, I wondered, isn’t that number higher by now. To find out, I conducted a study.

This is the first in a series of posts that will examine how many of the Fortune 50 have really evolved past the toe-in-the-water phase, and how many are still in the head-in-the-sand era.

Blended homepages
Blended homepages are a growing trend. Seventy-six percent of the Fortune 50 now have what I call blended homepages – which include links to the company financial and other corporate information on the official, consumer-facing homepage.

Sure, many of those homepages link to staid, old-time “investor information” pages like AIG’s But others, like Target (who had a bumpy ride to social media enlightenment) have blended their corporate and consumer site and included Icons leading to all of the company’s online presence.

Verizon has actual humans on its investor pages, and has an up-to-date, friendly look on its homepage, which is completely devoid of social media icons.

You have to dig down through the teeny six point “About Us” at the bottom of the company’s homepage to find – the third link from the homepage – to get to a page about Verizon’s outstanding and robust social media presence.

Who’s handling social media integration?
Are companies still unsure how stockholders feel about social media? Are IT, marketing, PR, sales, legal and – of course- the bean counters, still fighting for control of emerging media. You bet they are!

I can agree that many of these old-time financial and corporate sites have earned some Google-juice over the years, and that’s why they’re still standing. But it’s time to accept the fact that any and all information that would appear on a company’s Investor Relations site is freely available in Google and other search engines’ financial pages.

Next in the series…
Other posts in this series will note how many of the Fortune 50 have official company Facebook pages; how many know enough about Twitter to protect their brand from hijacking by Verifying their accounts, and how many have a clear social media engagement policy for visitors to their online properties, and which two are totally without a single clue about Twitter.

Get out your trench coat and dark glasses. This is going to be fun.