Social media continues to maintain its position as an established information resource among engineers and technical professionals, according to the latest results from IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions’ seventh annual survey of social media usage in the industrial sector.

However, 82% of engineers and technical professionals spend less than two hours each week on social media for professional reasons, with the biggest challenge in using social media for work being its inefficiency when compared to other methods such as search engines, supplier websites, and online catalogs.

logologoBased on this research, IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions has a number of recommendations for manufacturers, distributors and service providers that market their products and services to the industrial sector.

“Although social media has been adopted by engineers as a source of information, it has not replaced more established online channels in terms of value,” says Don Lesem, vice president and chief design officer, IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions. “Suppliers successfully using social media have embraced it as a tool to amplify and promote their content, directing awareness to the information, insight and knowledge that engineers and technical professionals require for evaluation and purchase.”

Some key findings include:

  • Eighty-two percent of engineers and technical professionals spend no more than two hours per week on social media for work related purposes, with no significant difference between professionals in the 18-34 and 35-plus age groups.
  • LinkedIn remains the most popular social media channel among this audience, with 65% of engineers and technical professionals maintaining an account on the platform.
  • Fifty-four percent of engineers and technical professionals use social media to find product reviews, followed by keeping abreast of the latest company/product news/technologies (52%) and finding expertise (43%). Among the 18-34 audience, finding new jobs and employers is the most popular use of social media for work-related purposes (67%).
  •  How-to videos and tutorials (86%), product demos (85%) and training videos (71%) remain the top three most popular types of content to watch on video sharing websites such as YouTube.
  • Fifty-five percent of respondents say that social media has too much noise and not enough substance.

Along with the results from the latest research, the report also offers recommendations for industrial suppliers on how to:

  • Define a plan for social media activities that is measurable and aligns with overall business objectives.
  • Develop a social media content strategy.
  • Integrate social media into their overall marketing efforts.
  • Analyze, measure and improve their social media performance.

The complete research results are available for download.

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