2013 Survey - Industrial Professional's Social Media Use


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Industrial professionals (maintenance, industrial engineers, manufacturing management, etc.) use mostly LinkedIn. Facebook for professional use has been trending down year to year, while LinkedIn has been trending up. Another stat in survey that may surprise you, industrial professional use droid way more than iphone, and the trend is greatly growing.

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2013 Survey - Industrial Professional's Social Media Use

  1. 1. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 1IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com IHS GLOBALSPEC RESEARCH REPORT Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector
  2. 2. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 2IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Contents Executive Summary 3 Social Media Goals and Objectives 4 Use of Social Media Platforms 4 LinkedIn Usage 4 Facebook Usage 7 Twitter Usage 9 Google Plus Usage 11 Pinterest Usage 12 Video Usage 13 Frequency of Contributing to Social Media 14 Reasons for Using Social Media 16 Top Resources for Researching Work-Related Purchases 16 Challenges in Using Social Media for Work 18 Mobile Device Usage 19 How Industrial Companies Participate in Social Media 22 Social Media Recommendations 23 Conclusion 24 About GlobalSpec 25 About IHS 25
  3. 3. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 3IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Executive Summary Social media has established its niche in industrial marketing. The majority of engineers and industrial professionals now have social media accounts, and many companies have a social media presence. This is not to say that social media is the next big trend in industrial marketing. Social media is one strategy. It is important. It should be part of your mix—but only at an appropriate level of investment and resources. This white paper, based on IHS GlobalSpec research, will help you understand how your audience uses social media. It will also recommend how you can best use social media as part of your marketing strategy to connect with your customers and prospects and meet defined marketing objectives. A total of 875 responses from North America were collected and analyzed. Those who responded to the survey are engineers and other technical professionals: 76 percent hold engineering positions, six percent work in technical/support services, and five percent work in research and development. Ninety percent are involved in the purchase of components and services. Among this audience, the most popular social media platform continues to be LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Sixty-three percent of respondents have LinkedIn accounts. The social sharing site Google Plus is also exhibiting growth, with 37 percent of these professionals now having accounts. Facebook has shown a decline with industrial professionals while Twitter is showing no growth. In addition, this audience has paid scant attention to Pinterest, a virtual pin board popular with consumers for sharing web content. Almost half of engineers (47 percent) use a video sharing website for work-related purposes, primarily to view product demos and how-to videos. This is in keeping with the generally passive way that engineers and industrial professionals engage with social media—they prefer to read, watch and research as opposed to publish, post and comment. Their two most popular uses of social media are to keep abreast of the latest company, technology and product news, and to network with others. Why isn’t social media more valuable to the industrial audience? First, in terms of researching work-related purchases, engineers prefer other online resources, such as search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites, and GlobalSpec.com. Second, 54 percent of industrial professionals say there is “too much noise and not enough substance” around using social media for work-related purposes. Marketers should take careful note of this last statement. While it is important to have a social media presence, it will only produce benefits if you can interact with this audience in a relevant, substantive manner. The way to do this is to publish meaningful and useful content and to engage in dialog with customers and prospects that keeps their attention and helps them perform their jobs better.
  4. 4. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 4IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Social Media Goals and Objectives Some suppliers and manufacturers start using social media simply because they think they should, or because their competitors use social media. They may continue to add more social platforms, deploy more resources and devote more time, yet still not have a clear purpose, goals or means of defining or measuring social media success. Even industrial companies that are successfully using social media might not be fully reaping the business benefits that social channels present. Wherever you are on the social media maturity scale, you’re always at the right place to step back for a moment to assess your social strategy and to plan a logical, effective path forward with social media. Let goals and objectives drive your social media strategy. Because social media is oriented toward interaction, dialog, education and networking—as opposed to lead generation, qualification and sales engagement—you will find that social media may not be a direct driver of sales. On the other hand, social media presents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership, raise brand awareness and build strong relationships with your customers, prospects and partners. Use of Social Media Platforms LinkedIn Usage LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform among engineers and other technical professionals, showing steady growth over the last three years. Sixty-three percent of users now have a LinkedIn account, compared to only 43 percent in 2010.
  5. 5. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 5IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com LinkedIn allows an individual to create a professional profile and network with other professionals. Seventy- nine percent of individuals use LinkedIn to search for contacts, while 40 percent read product or industry news. Organizations can also create company profiles on LinkedIn, and promote their products and services. Individuals or organizations can create and join Groups, which are comprised of members who share common interests, such as industrial design, or automation control engineering. Groups provide a forum for discussion, networking, content distribution and promotion. Sixty-seven percent of industrial professionals belong to two or more Groups on LinkedIn; 62 percent read their Group’s discussions, although only 23 percent actually participate in those discussions.
  6. 6. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 6IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com
  7. 7. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 7IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Facebook Usage Facebook offers accounts for individuals to connect with “friends.” It also offers Pages that are associated with companies or brands. Users can “like” company Pages, giving them the ability to receive updates, add comments and share an organization’s Facebook updates. Although the majority of technical professionals have a Facebook account, usage among this audience has declined to 54 percent from 65 percent in 2011. Part of the reason may have to do with the “too much noise and not enough substance” complaint about social media from users. It may also be that personal and professional use of Facebook doesn’t mesh well at the individual level, because individuals have personal rather than professional profiles on Facebook.
  8. 8. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 8IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com The vast majority (71 percent) of engineers who use Facebook for work-related purposes follow the news and updates of businesses that they “like.” Only 10 percent start their own work-related discussions.
  9. 9. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 9IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Twitter Usage Twitter has shown no growth in the past year among industrial professionals, with 18 percent having a Twitter account in 2012 compared to 19 percent in 2011. Users may have discovered that Twitter, with its 140-character limit to posts, seems irrelevant or insignificant to their needs. Twitter is likely most effective when used in tandem with other social media, as another channel on which to share content and interact. Those that do use Twitter for work-related purposes use it passively, with 81 percent stating that they follow other businesses or groups within their industry.
  10. 10. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 10IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com
  11. 11. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 11IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Google Plus Usage One platform that has shown growth is the social sharing site Google Plus, which combines aspects of Facebook and Twitter and is integrated with other Google offerings. Google Plus includes Circles for sharing content only with certain people, and Hangouts for viewing video. Google Plus allows your organization to get recommendations from customers, among other social benefits. Thirty-six percent of industrial professionals have a Google Plus account, up from 23 percent in 2011. The platform is still relatively new and may be experiencing growth as users investigate its value to their work purposes.
  12. 12. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 12IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Pinterest Usage Pinterest is a virtual pin board. It allows users to aggregate, categorize, and post information they find on the web to their followers. As of now, industrial professionals have shown little attention to Pinterest—only five percent have an account. It remains a consumer social media platform, at least for now.
  13. 13. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 13IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Video Usage In keeping with the passive nature of their social media participation, engineers and technical professionals like to watch video. Forty-seven percent use YouTube or other video sharing websites for work-related purposes, and watching a video is the top use of social media among this audience.
  14. 14. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 14IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Product demos (85 percent) and how-to videos (80 percent) are the two most popular types of video content. The industrial audience also watches videos on new trends and technologies (63 percent) and interviews with product experts (39 percent). Frequency of Contributing to Social Media The survey asked engineers and technical professionals how often they contributed to specific types of social media. For each social media type, respondents were asked to choose from a scale offering the following frequency options: never, few times a year, few times a month, few times a week, or almost daily.
  15. 15. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 15IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Respondents stated that they used most of the represented social media just a few times a year. However, industrial professionals’ passive use of social media mirrors that of the general population. The most common use of social media among industrial professionals is to watch a video, while the least common is to create a video. The next most frequent uses were posting comments and answering a question, which are more active uses of social media.
  16. 16. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 16IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Reasons for Using Social Media The biggest reason to use social media is to stay up-to-date on the latest company, product and technology news (52 percent). Forty-eight percent use social media to network and reach additional contacts, which are key functions of LinkedIn. Social media is also used to find peer reviews, expertise, new suppliers and new employment. Top Resources for Researching Work-Related Purchases The survey asked the following question: When researching work-related purchases, how valuable do you find each of the following resources? The results show that social media is not perceived as valuable as other online resources, such as general search engines, supplier websites, online catalogs and GlobalSpec.com. In addition, none of the social media sites were deemed as more valuable than they were a year ago, indicating that social media use has stabilized for now and industrial professionals prefer other resources for researching work-related purchases.
  17. 17. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 17IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com
  18. 18. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 18IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Challenges in Using Social Media for Work The main reason why social media is not perceived as more valuable for work-related purposes is that industrial professionals find other resources more valuable. They also state there is “too much noise and not enough substance” in social media. Other reasons are that social media is not reliable and users can’t find valuable content.
  19. 19. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 19IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Mobile Device Usage The survey asked engineers and other industrial professionals what type and brand of mobile phone they use, and whether they own and use a tablet. This information is relevant because some industrial professionals might use their mobile device to access social media sites in cases where their company networks impose restrictions. In addition, as more of this audience uses smart phones and tablets, marketers should consider making changes to their websites so they display well on mobile devices. Fifty-seven percent of engineers and other technical professionals use a smart phone. Only five percent don’t have a mobile or cellular phone.
  20. 20. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 20IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com In terms of phone brands, two dominate the market. The Android phone continues to grow in popularity and is now used by 49 percent, while 30 percent use iPhones.
  21. 21. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 21IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Tablets are owned by 27 percent of survey respondents. Again, two brands dominate the market, with 57 percent owning an iPad and 33 percent having an Android-based tablet.
  22. 22. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 22IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com How Industrial Companies Participate in Social Media The survey asked respondents how the companies they currently work for participate in social media. The most popular way for companies to use social media is through a community/discussion site for internal employees (33 percent) followed by Facebook (31 percent). Twenty-six percent host a community/discussion site for customers, and 26 percent have a company blog. Twenty percent have a company-sponsored LinkedIn Group. This area may represent a social media opportunity for suppliers, because 63 percent of engineers and other technical professionals have LinkedIn accounts and 81 percent of those with accounts belong to at least one LinkedIn Group.
  23. 23. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 23IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com Social Media Recommendations 1. Align Social Media with Marketing and Corporate Objectives Social media is no different from other marketing initiatives, and as such you should approach social media with a clear purpose and defined goals that align with other marketing and business objectives. First understand your purpose and goals for social media—what you want to achieve. Is it increased brand awareness? Recognized thought leadership? Community expansion? Once social media is in alignment with other initiatives, it will be easier to make intelligent decisions about what social platforms to use, what level of resources you should apply to social media, and what metrics you should track to determine your success. 2. Integrate Social Media into Your Overall Marketing Mix Think of social media as both a marketing channel and a marketing program. Your social media efforts should be integrated with your overall marketing efforts. For example, social channels are a natural fit with content marketing: you can promote and distribute content such as white papers, videos, webinars, articles, case studies, eBooks and more through your social channels. This is keeping with how your audience of engineers and other technical professionals engages with social media, preferring to watch and read as consumers of social media content rather than creators of content. You should also integrate social media with your overall marketing efforts by including social media links (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) on your website and in newsletters, and promoting your social media presence within your established marketing programs. For example, GlobalSpec offers suppliers the ability to include their social media links within their company profile pages, helping to build awareness and relevancy for their social media efforts. Suppliers can also add video content to their GlobalSpec company profiles. 3. Pay Attention to Analytics and Measurement If you have been using social media but not measuring results, it’s time to take the next step. And if you’re just in the planning stage of using social media, include analytics and measurement as part of your planning process.
  24. 24. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 24IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com While social media may not have an easily measurable impact on sales, it can definitely help you measure brand awareness and visibility, which are important to sales efforts. Social media marketing tends to produce a wealth of data that can provide valuable intelligence. For instance: Comments on LinkedIn discussions or number of times your company profile is viewed. Likes, comments, or shares on your Facebook posts. Replies and re-tweets of your Twitter activity. Number and length of video views. All this data can be captured and analyzed to measure the growth and success of your social media efforts. 4. Maintain Consistency and Frequency Your social media presence should maintain a consistent voice, style and point of view that is in keeping with your brand, goals and objectives. This consistency should be reflected in the original content you share as well as what content you choose to share from others, such as analysts, partners, media and more. Also, social media requires consistency. You must have the resources (people and time) to regularly publish content, participate in discussions, and monitor social media. Otherwise, your efforts will languish. 5. Revisit Your Social Media Vision, Strategy and Goals As you mature as an organization in your use of social media, you will need to revisit your vision, strategy and goals. This white paper helps you make social media decisions within the context of how your target audience engages with social media today. But social media is constantly changing and evolving, and your customers and prospects are changing with it as they become more comfortable and savvy with social media. Use customer behavior and your own social media analytics to optimize your use of social media. Conclusion Before beginning or expanding your company’s social media efforts, answer these six questions to help ensure success with social media. 1. How often and for what purpose does your target audience participate in social media? 2. Which platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc.) do they prefer? 3. What are your organization’s goals in implementing a social media initiative? 4. What resources (people, time, budget) do you have available to invest in social media without taking resources away from other online marketing efforts? 5. How will you integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy? 6. How will you define success and measure ROI on your social media investments?
  25. 25. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 25IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com If you’re seeking an easy way to be introduced to and become familiar with social media, GlobalSpec invites you to follow and join our own social media activities. You can find GlobalSpec in these social media outlets: GlobalSpec Industrial Marketing Mavens Group on LinkedIn GlobalSpec on Twitter @GlobalSpecInc Industrial Marketing Mavens on Twitter @MktgMavens GlobalSpec on Facebook Industrial Marketing Mavens on Facebook About GlobalSpec GlobalSpec, recently acquired by IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), is the leading provider of digital media solutions designed to connect industrial marketers with their target audience of engineering, technical, industrial, scientific and manufacturing sector professionals. GlobalSpec provides its registered users with a domain- expert search engine to search more than 50,000 supplier catalogs by specification, a broad range of proprietary and aggregated Web-based content, over 15 annual online events, and more than 70 e-newsletters - helping them search for and locate products and services, learn about suppliers and access comprehensive technical content. For suppliers, GlobalSpec helps generate awareness, demand and engagement opportunities among the professionals they are looking to reach – from inbox to desktop, through networks and via real-time engagement. About IHS (www.ihs.com) IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 165 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high- impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs more than 6,000 people in 31 countries around the world.
  26. 26. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR 26IHS GlobalSpec Research Report www.globalspecmedia.com For more information about GlobalSpec: Email gs-sales@ihs.com Visit www.globalspecmedia.com Call 800.261.2052 | 518.880.0200 Fax 518.880.0250 30 Tech Valley Drive | Suite 102 | East Greenbush, NY 12061 ©2013 IHS GlobalSpec. All rights reserved. GlobalSpec, the GS logo, SpecSearch, AdEngine, and the Engineering Web are registered trademarks of IHS.