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Director of Online Marketing for Salesforce Work.com. Fascinated with all aspects of digital marketing and social business. David has posted 99 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Executives Turning to Social Media to Make Decisions

08.27.2013
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In the early days of social media, many executives questioned the value it could bring to the workplace.  Indeed, many were so hostile towards it that social media use by employees was banned at work.

Thankfully we’ve come a long way from those early days, and now more and more organisations are taking a more enlightened view of social media, with an advanced minority striving to become social businesses.

A new Forrester report reveals however that decision makers are increasingly using social media as part of their work.  Author Zachary Reiss-Davis concludes in the report that such is the popularity of social media amongst decision makers that it is no longer relevant to segment data based upon those who do, and those who do not use social media.

The report saw 382 decision makers surveyed about their behaviours and found that 98% are what Forrester would regard as spectators on social media.  A spectator is someone who regularly consumes content via social media, be that reading blogs, watching videos or listening to podcasts.

79% of key decision makers went further than that and were regarded as joiners.  A joiner is someone that maintains a profile on various social networks.  A third group were the critics, who would regularly comment on blogs, post product reviews and generally contribute content to the social web.  75% of decision makers fall into this group.

If that doesn’t paint a sufficiently engaged picture of executives online, a further 86% of respondents revealed that they had read tweets in the past month, with another 40% having participated in a LinkedIn group in the past month.  The pleasing thing was that none of this activity was regarded as extra-curricular.  All respondents believed it to be firmly a part of their regular work activities.

“It’s no longer a question of whether you should use social, but how,” Reiss-Davis said in the report. “B2B marketing executives no longer need convincing to invest in social.”

It represents a significant shift in executive behaviour online.  Only last year it emerged that very few executives were active online, with many not really seeing the value it offered to them and their work.  The Forrester research even shows an improvement on a similar study conducted by Stanford University earlier this year.

It revealed that 67% of executives consume content online that’s related to their work, such as reading discussion forums or blogs.  The exception to this was Twitter, with just 20% using it regularly.  That Forrester reported such a marked jump in Twitter usage amongst senior professionals is certainly worth noting.

How active are senior decision makers in your own company?  Let me know in the comments.

Original post

Published at DZone with permission of its author, David Austin.

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