Social Media Usage by Engineers and Industrial Professionals

Last week I downloaded and read the new research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” published by IHS GlobalSpec. Some of the findings are consistent with their reports from previous years and others are good wake up calls for industrial marketers.

It is still true that most engineers and industrial professionals are passive users of social media – they prefer to “read, watch and research as opposed to publish, post and comment.”

Two statements from the report caught my attention. They are:

  1. In terms of researching work-related purchases, engineers prefer other online resources, such as search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites, and vertical search engines (VSEs) such as GlobalSpec.com.
  2. 54% of industrial professionals say there is “too much noise and not enough substance” around using social media for work-related purposes.

Those two findings should be a big wake up call for industrial marketers. First, industrial companies shouldn’t expect social media to pick up the slack if they stop doing things like optimizing their websites (SEO) and adding content assets such as CAD viewers and Parametric Part Number Finders to help their buyers take interim steps that will lead to the final buy decision.

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Social Media with Email Marketing – is it the Super Combo?

Lately, social media seems to garner all the attention in the media and blog posts with very little mention about email marketing. This long time staple has become the Rodney “No Respect” Dangerfield of B2B and industrial marketing.

I’ve read several articles about the impending death of email marketing because of the steady decline in open and click-through rates (CTR). Are those predictions a little premature? Can we deliver a powerful 1-2 punch by combining  social media and email marketing? I came across two research studies that answer the last question with a big YES!

The first study done by AWeber (aff. Link), was a survey of small business owners and found that the two most common tactics used in 2009 were tweeting e-mail newsletters and sending out blog entries to e-mail lists. In 2010, almost 50% of small businesses will include “follow us” links in their e-mails, and about 44% will include share options in their messages. (See charts below). Read more

Social Media and B2B Marketing Do Pair Well

For a while, it was difficult to find hardcore data to make a business case for social media. I’m happy to see that’s no longer the case. Just this week, I received two invaluable reports with charts and graphs to answer many of the questions that B2B marketers have about using social media.

The first report is titled “2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” and it is from Michael Stelzner, the founder of WhitePaperSource and the author of Writing White Papers. Watch this short video as Michael explains what’s in this report. Then you can download it for free (no, you don’t even have to register) from his site. Don’t forget to check out Social Media Success Summit 2010.

Industry Report Overview from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

The second report on social media and b2b marketing is from HubSpot. They have compiled over 50 marketing charts and graphs based on analysis of their 2,500 business customers.

This Marketing Data and Research Presentation includes data on:

  • Lead Generation
  • Blogging and Social Media
  • Marketing Budgets
  • Twitter and Facebook
  • 50+ pages of marketing charts and graphs from original research

Download the report from here. (NOTE: Requires registration to download)

Business Value of Social Networking

Saw a very interesting video where Seth Godin talks about how useful social media is to businesses. Even though the use of social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is growing exponentially, there is a raging debate about measuring its ROI.

I use LinkedIn and Twitter quite a lot in my online networking and sure, I’ve grown my network in a short period of time. But like many b-to-b marketers, I’m not sure how it has impacted my business. So, I’m leaning more towards Seth’s point of view.

Take a look at this video and decide for yourself. After all, when Seth Godin speaks, people listen.

What’s working for you? Leave me your comments below.

Top 5 Tools for Streamlining Twitter

Now that twitter has taken flight, there are dozens of tools available to streamline the process and make you more productive. If you are an avid Twitter user, these five tools will help you manage your Twitter accounts without tying up your entire day.

  1. TweetDeck – This application works on your desktop. It allows you to manage your Twitter account without having to visit the site each time. You can create groups for friends, business associates or anyone else you like with this application. Best of all, TweetDeck works in the background and can be used offline at your leisure. Some cool things about TweetDeck to point out include:
    • The ability to post your Facebook status and keep up with your friends within your TweetDeck window.
    • You can group certain users together in one window so you don’t miss any tweets from them.
    • You have a separate window for your @ replies, direct messages and your main stream.
    • No need to refresh the page as it updates automatically for you and you can change the amount of time in between updates. Read more

The Gender Gap in Social Networking

It is no secret that the whole social networking phenomenon got started with the younger generation. However, there is a distinct gender gap as its acceptance has grown to become more mainstream. 

Rapleaf has done a study of 13.2 million people to see how they were using social media. While the trends indicate both sexes are using social media in huge numbers, their findings show that women far outpace men. Usually men tend to be early adopters of technology but when it comes to social networking, women are way ahead of the men.

The study found that among twenty-somethings, women and men are just as likely to be members of social networks. Facebook, MySpace, and Flixster are very popular. However, they found that young women are much more active on these sites than young men. In addition, men above 30—especially married men—aren't even joining social networks. With the notable exceptions of LinkedIn users and venture capitalists in the Bay Area "friending" everyone on Facebook, married men are not hanging out on social networks. Married women, however, are joining social networks in droves. In fact, women between ages 35 and 50 are the fastest-growing segment, especially on MySpace.

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