IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions recently conducted its annual “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey which asked engineers and technical professionals in the industrial sector about their frequency of social media use in 2016, which social media platforms they prefer, and what work-related activities they perform on social media.
This research report delivers and analyses the survey results, providing valuable guidance and recommendations to help you effectively use social media as part of your marketing strategy to connect with your audience and meet your marketing objectives.
About the Survey Respondents
The 850 U.S. based survey respondents are the industrial marketer’s target audience of engineers and technical professionals.
- 82% of engineers and technical professionals across all age groups spend no more than two hours weekly on social media for work-related purposes.
- LinkedIn remains the most popular social media outlet among all age groups, with 65% of engineers and technical professionals maintaining an account on the platform.
- 54% of engineers and technical professionals use social media to find product reviews. This is the most popular use of social media sites, followed by keeping abreast of the latest company/product news/technologies at 52% and finding expertise is 43%. 67% of the 18–34 audience use social media to finding new jobs.
- The top three most popular types of content to watch on video-sharing websites such as YouTube are 86% view how-to videos/tutorials, 85% view product demos and 71% view training videos.
- The top four valuable resources for engineers and technical professionals researching a work-related purchase remain the same year over year, with general search engines, online catalogues, word of mouth and supplier websites topping the list. Among social media platforms, Google+ and LinkedIn ranked highest for researching a work purchase. Facebook, SlideShare and Twitter have the least value.
- 64% 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 catalogues. 55% percent say that social media has too much noise and not enough substance.
- Seventy percent of engineers and technical professionals have never shared or posted news about their companies to their own social networks.
Social media has established its position in the industrial sector.
Over the past seven years, social media has evolved into an established media channel among engineers and technical professionals, with their use of social media for work-related purposes growing and then stabilising. This audience knows how social media works for them and how they can integrate it into their work activities, and have chosen their preferred platforms accordingly.
Based on data and trends of recent years, we anticipate social media usage remaining steady.
Social media supplements work-related research, but isn’t a leading channel.
Engineers and technical professionals consistently report that using methods such as general search engines, online catalogues, word of mouth and supplier websites is more efficient than social media for conducting work-related research. Social media has its place in the industrial sector, but it isn’t the engineer’s primary digital resource for work.