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Social Networks: the new “black book” and more

January 22nd, 2010 · 2 Comments · ChrisHerbert

A research study conducted by Don Bulmer and Vanessa DiMauro concludes that Social Networks are becoming more important in the day to day lives of business professionals. The big three networks are Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

Over 350 senior level business professionals took part in this survey. Here are some of the interesting findings that b2b marketers and business development professionals would be interested in knowing:

Little Black Book

* Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support business decisions
* Younger (20-35) and older professionals (55+) are more active users of social tools than
middle aged professionals
* There are more people collaborating outside their company wall than within their
organizational intranet
* Three quarters of respondents visit their social networks at least daily with four in ten visit many times each day

Slides Breakdown:
2: Purpose of study
3-4: Six key findings of study
5: # of networks professionals participate in
6: Top networks professionals use
7: Devices used by professionals to access networks
8: Frequency of use of networks by professionals
9: Reasons why professionals visit networks/communities
10: Steps professionals take online to help them in their decision making
11: Reliance of networks on professionals business decision making
12-13: Degree professionals trust information gathered online; Rate in which this has changed
14: Key drivers for using professional networks
15: Changes in use of social media tools within the organization over the next two years
16: Changes in use of social media outside of the organization.
17: Conclusions
18-27: Survey demographics

My thoughts:
For me social media is revolves around two things:

* The gathering and sharing of information – Twitter is what I call a human reverse search engine. The content finds you through other peoples tweets. It’s also a broadcasting platform in that you have the permission of your followers to send information that you wish to share
* Making connections – Both Linkedin and Twitter allow you to establish a connection with hundreds if not thousands of people. These are loose networks of people that you can use to establish a core foundation of people that you want to build and maintain relationships with

In B2B marketing and business development the buying cycle is complex, lengthy and involves multiple people. It appears that social networks will, if they aren’t already, become an important resource for decision support in the buying process. They are becoming the “black book” of contacts that people can refer to when in need of information, support and contacts.

Author: Chris Herbert, B2B Specialist & Founder of MI6

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Mark Burgess

    Excellent study and a powerful point about “Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support business decisions”. Vast implications for business marketers.

  • Vanessa DiMauro

    Thank you so much for covering our research! It was a true labor of love and we were quite surprised at some of the findings – especially that the most sophisticated users of social media for professional reasons were the young and the experienced people in terms of demographics! We also thought that discord between the wants of social media professional users (to access information they couldnt get else where and to network with peers) compared against the intentions of companies (to market more to decision-makers) was something worth paying attention to.

    Thanks again for covering the SNCR study!
    best
    Vanessa