IHS–Engineering360 recently conducted its annual “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey. The online survey asked 1,356 engineers and technical professionals in the industrial sector about their frequency of social media use, which social media platforms they prefer, and what work-related activities they perform on social media.
This research report analyzes and presents the results of the survey, and offers recommendations to help you effectively use social media as part of your marketing strategy to connect with customers and prospects and meet your marketing objectives.
Highlights from the Survey Results
• Sixty-one percent of engineers and technical professionals spend less than one hour a week on social media for work-related purposes.
• LinkedIn remains the most popular social media outlet with 66 percent of engineers and technical professionals maintaining an account on the platform. Among 18–34 year olds, Facebook edges LinkedIn, 73 percent to 71 percent, respectively.
• Fifty-seven percent of engineers and technical professionals use social media to find product reviews. This is the most popular use of social media sites.
• How-to videos/tutorials (82 percent), product demos (79 percent) and training videos (70 percent) remain the top three most popular types of content to watch on video-sharing websites such as YouTube.
• The four most valuable resources for engineers and technical professionals researching a work-related purchase are general search engines, online catalogs, word of mouth and supplier websites. Among social media platforms, Google+ and LinkedIn ranked highest for researching a work purchase. Facebook, SlideShare and Twitter have the least value.
• Sixty-seven percent of engineers and technical professionals say the biggest challenge in using social media for work is its inefficiency when compared to other methods such as search engines, supplier websites and online catalogs.
• Only one-third of engineers and technical professionals have shared or posted news about their companies to their own social networks.
• Social media use remains steady. Social media is no longer new for engineers. Over the past few years their use of social media for work-related purposes has stabilized. At this point, technical professionals have determined how to integrate social media into their work activities and have chosen their preferred platforms. Unless social media suddenly becomes more valuable to this audience, usage may remain at the current level.
• Social media can’t compete with other resources for researching work-related purchases. Engineers consistently report that using methods such as general search engines, online catalogs, word of mouth and supplier websites is more efficient than social for researching work-related purposes. Social media has its place as an influencer in the industrial sector, but it isn’t the engineer’s go-to digital resource for work.
About the Survey Respondents
• Seventy-nine percent are engineers or other technical professionals
• Six percent work in technical support/services; five percent work in research/development
• Ninety percent are involved in the purchase of components and services
• Sixty-three percent are over 49 years old; 20 percent are 35–49; 12 percent are 18–34; five percent chose not to answer this question
• Eighty-nine percent are male; eight percent are female; three percent chose not to answer this question
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