Far Fewer Business Executives ‘Like’ Facebook, Study Shows
Facebook and Twitter are fading in importance among influential business executives who use online professional networks, while LinkedIn is gaining ground, according to a new study.
The study, conducted in 2010 by the nonprofit Society for New Communications Research, found that 97 percent of influential executives used LinkedIn. That’s up from 92 percent in the nonprofit group’s 2009 study.
Meanwhile, the study indicates influential executives are fleeing Facebook as a venue for professional networking. Twenty percent of the executives – CEOs, vice presidents and others – cited Facebook as a professional network in 2010, compared with 51 percent in 2009.
Twitter also experienced a drop in professional networking activity – from 40 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2010. Use of Plaxo as a professional network declined from 13 percent in 2009 to 5 percent in 2010, according to the study.
The study found that most executives engaged in three to five online professional networks.
Researchers Donald Bulmer and Vanessa DiMauro observed that 2009 was the year for influential executives to experiment with online relationships, while 2010 was the year for capitalizing on those relationships.
“Business professionals are changing how they collaborate as a result of online professional communities and peer networks,” Bulmer said.
Other findings of the study:
• 59 percent of the influential executives used mobile devices to access online professional networks, up from 44 percent in 2009.
• iPhone/iPod Touch was the most popular mobile device among influential executives (52 percent), followed by BlackBerry (37 percent) and Android (15 percent).
• 87 percent used search engines as part of their decision-making, compared with 43 percent for company websites.
• Gaining access to thought leadership was the top reason for tapping online professional networks.
“Thought leadership is the professional currency of the future,” the researchers said.
“Professionals are collaborating with each other through the thought leadership content they generate, curate or share. No longer is collaboration an experience between a limited number of people.”
The researchers surveyed 114 CEOs, vice presidents, directors, managers and other executives at an array of small and large companies. The participants were in 10 countries, with about three-fourths of them in the United States. All of the people surveyed were either decision-makers or influenced decision-makers.