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The New Symbiosis of Professional 
Networks 
Survey Results 
SNCR Research Symposium 
Harvard University - November, 6th 2...
The Purpose Of The Study 
Research Questions: 
• Are professional networks being utilized by decision-makers in business? ...
Professional decision-making is becoming more social 
• Traditional influence cycles are being disrupted by Social Media a...
Professionals trust online information almost as much as information gotten from 
in-person 
•Information obtained from of...
5 
Professionals Tend To Belong To Multiple 
Social Networks for Business 
Number of Online Professional Networks 
• Half ...
6 
The Big Three Social Networks 
Have Emerged as Professional Networks 
• Popular social networks are now being used freq...
7 
Mobile Is Emerging As A Frequent 
Professional Networking Access Point 
• Essentially all respondents access social net...
8 
Usage Of Professional Networks 
Is Increasing 
• Three quarters of respondents visit their social networks at least dai...
9 
Professionals Who Engage in Multiple Networks 
Report Greater Decision-Support Activities Online 
• Keeping track of pe...
• Three quarters of respondents conduct research via search engines, and close to three quarters 
• Seeking peer referral,...
• Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support business decisions 
• Reliance has increased for ...
12 
High Levels of Trust Exist in Information 
Obtained From Online Networks 
• Offline is strengthened by online engageme...
13 
Strong Increase in Trust From Information 
Obtained Through Online and Offline Networks 
• Trust in online networks ri...
Connecting And Collaborating Are Key Drivers For 
Professional Use of Social Media 
14 
• Respondents clearly see the valu...
Changes in Company Internal Use of Social Media 
• More than half of respondents expect that in 1-2 years their company wi...
Changes in Company External Use of Social Media 
• More than half of respondents foresee more marketing programs and conte...
• Social Media is supplementing the traditional professional decision-making cycle 
with great affect 
• The era of Social...
THANK YOU! 
Don Bulmer: 
Email: donald.bulmer@sap.com 
Twitter: @dbulmer 
Vanessa DiMauro 
Email: vdimauro@leadernetworks....
Supplemental Slides
20 
Gender and Age 
• Slightly more than half of the respondents were male 
• A wide range of age groups were represented,...
21 
Country 
• The largest number of respondents live in the US (58%), followed by the UK, Germany, 
and Canada 
In what c...
22 
Education 
• More than nine in ten respondents hold a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Professional degree 
What is the highest...
23 
Professional Role 
• Close to a quarter of respondents reported that they are the CEO in their organization 
Which of ...
• One third of respondents described their organization’s primary type of business as “Business 
• “Other” responses varie...
25 
Number of Employees 
• About half of respondents indicated that they work for an organization with less than 100 
full...
26 
Responsibility 
• Close to half of respondents reported that they are the final decision-maker 
• Another four in ten ...
Analyses 
• Frequency distributions were calculated for all items 
• Chi Square analyses were conducted to determine possi...
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New Symbiosis Of Professional Networks: SNCR Research Findings
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New Symbiosis of Professional Networks

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First study (conducted in 2009) in a series of research to explore the impact of social media on professionals.

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New Symbiosis of Professional Networks

  1. 1. The New Symbiosis of Professional Networks Survey Results SNCR Research Symposium Harvard University - November, 6th 2009 Presented by: Vanessa DiMauro, CEO Leader Networks and SNCR Fellow Don Bulmer, VP Global Communications SAP, SNCR Board Member and Fellow Twitter: @dbulmer and @vdimauro
  2. 2. The Purpose Of The Study Research Questions: • Are professional networks being utilized by decision-makers in business? • Is social media typically regarded as a trustworthy source of information for professionals? • In what ways do professionals rely on social networks to support business decisions? • Will social media change the business and practice of enterprise-level operations? Methodology and Sample Composition: • The survey was administered online to 356 participants via online survey developed by SNCR Fellows Don Bulmer and Vanessa DiMauro • Link to survey distributed to SNCR’s panel of 15,000+ business leaders + via social media • Close to a quarter (23%) are CEO of their organization • 50% are “Director” (24%) or “Manager” (24%) • Company size ranged from less than 100 to over 50,000 full-time employees • Age was well distributed with the greatest proportion in the 36-45 range • 25 countries were represented, with 58% of respondents living in the US • All respondents were either the decision makers or influenced the decision process 2
  3. 3. Professional decision-making is becoming more social • Traditional influence cycles are being disrupted by Social Media as decision makers utilize social networks to inform and validate decisions • Professionals want to be collaborative in the decision-cycle but not be marketed or sold to online; however online marketing is a preferred activity by companies. The big three have emerged as leading professional networks: LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter • The average professional belongs to 3-5 online networks for business use, and LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are among the top used. • The convergence of Internet, mobile, and social media has taken significant shape as professionals rely on anywhere access to information, relationships and networks Professional networks are emerging as decision-support tools • Decision-makers are broadening reach to gather information especially among active users 3 Six Key Findings
  4. 4. Professionals trust online information almost as much as information gotten from in-person •Information obtained from offline networks still have highest levels of trust with slight advantage over online (offline: 92% - combined strongly/somewhat trust; online: 83% combined strongly/somewhat trust) Reliance on web-based professional networks and online communities has increased significantly over the past 3 years • Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support business decisions •Reliance has increased for essentially all respondents over the past three years Social Media use patterns are not pre-determined by age or organizational affiliation •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 4 Six Key Findings - 2
  5. 5. 5 Professionals Tend To Belong To Multiple Social Networks for Business Number of Online Professional Networks • Half of respondents report participating in 3 to 5 online professional networks • Another three in ten participate in 6 or more professional networks Note: Those who indicated that they do not participate in any online professional networks were excluded from the study
  6. 6. 6 The Big Three Social Networks Have Emerged as Professional Networks • Popular social networks are now being used frequently as Professional Communities • More than nine in ten respondents indicated that they use LinkedIn and half reported using Facebook • Interestingly, Twitter and blogs were frequently listed as ‘professional networks’ • Hundreds of other networks were mentioned, many by only one or two respondents Note: respondents were asked to fill in top 5 professional networks
  7. 7. 7 Mobile Is Emerging As A Frequent Professional Networking Access Point • Essentially all respondents access social networks on a PC or Mac • Close to half also access social networks using a mobile device • Those who use multiple networks are more likely to access them using mobile devices • Younger respondents are also more likely than older respondents to indicate that they access networks through a mobile device. What devices do you typically use to access social networks? (check all that apply)
  8. 8. 8 Usage Of Professional Networks Is Increasing • Three quarters of respondents visit their social networks at least daily • Four in ten visit many times each day • All indicated that their usage has increased over the past three years • Those who belong to more online professional networks are more likely to visit many times per day • Small companies are more likely to indicate that they have increased their use significantly 76% 21% 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 3% 1% Increased Significantly Increased Slightly Decreased Slightly Decreased Significantly On average, how often do you visit the networks or communities you belong to? How has this changed over the last three years?
  9. 9. 9 Professionals Who Engage in Multiple Networks Report Greater Decision-Support Activities Online • Keeping track of peers and access to thought leadership are top reasons why professionals participate in online networks • Professionals who use more than three networks are likely to be more collaborative and have higher reliance on networks to support decision making process Primary Reasons To Visit Online Networks and Communities Percent Strongly Agree Overall 1 or 2 3 to 5 6+ Keep track of peers and colleagues 52% 43% 57% 51% Access to thought leadership /information I couldn't 44% 22% 51% 49% get elsewhere* Showcase myself or my company* 43% 35% 45% 46% Access to learning/professional development* 41% 22% 43% 51% Finding out what others think of products, vendors, 36% 18% 37% 47% approaches, etc. * Increase speed of collaboration* 32% 11% 35% 40% Research business decisions* 28% 7% 30% 39% Reduce costs typically found with traditional 18% 14% 21% 14% networking Accelerate decision-making processes through peer input* 15% 9% 12% 26% Improve reliability of information 14% 7% 15% 18% Reduce travel costs 11% 9% 12% 11% Question: What are the primary reasons you visit professional online networks and communities?
  10. 10. • Three quarters of respondents conduct research via search engines, and close to three quarters • Seeking peer referral, reading blogs, gathering opinions through an online network, and looking 10 Traditional Decision-Making Process is Supplemented By Social Media visit a company website to inform decision-making the company up on a social network are all steps taken by about four in ten respondents Note: Respondents could select up to 4 options
  11. 11. • Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support business decisions • Reliance has increased for essentially all respondents over the past three years Reliance on Professional Networks Change in Reliance 4% 23% 48% 25% 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Not at all Little Lightly Heavily Incrreased Significantly Increased Somewhat Decreased Somewhat Decreased Significantly 11 Professional Networks Are An Increasingly Essential Decision-Support Tool 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% Question: How much do you rely on professional networks for information/advice/insight to support business decisions? Question: How has this changed over the last three years? 39% 57% 3% 1% 0% Reliance on Online Information
  12. 12. 12 High Levels of Trust Exist in Information Obtained From Online Networks • Offline is strengthened by online engagement – to extend relationships and collaborate • Information obtained from offline networks still have highest levels of trust with slight advantage over online (offline: 92% - combined strongly/somewhat trust; online: 83% combined strongly/somewhat trust)
  13. 13. 13 Strong Increase in Trust From Information Obtained Through Online and Offline Networks • Trust in online networks rises as people engage more and gain comfort with online community and professional networking
  14. 14. Connecting And Collaborating Are Key Drivers For Professional Use of Social Media 14 • Respondents clearly see the value in online collaboration • They most appreciate the ability to reach out and connect with others and to gain fresh insight, ideas, and actionable information Question: Which statements best capture your experiences collaborating with others in an online environment? (select all that apply) Statements Percent Agree I am able to reach & connect with other professionals due to the network 73% Collaborating with others provides me with fresh insight, ideas, and actionable 71% information My collaboration with peers is strengthened by online connections & made more 65% efficient My connections online have shared information with me that inform the work I do in meaningful ways 60% Collaborating with others saves me time and money 49% I find people are more willing to collaborate online and share information than offline 47% I only collaborate or connect online with people I already know 19% Online connections are best for sales and marketing but not for collaboration 6% Connecting to others or collaborating does not interest me 3%
  15. 15. Changes in Company Internal Use of Social Media • More than half of respondents expect that in 1-2 years their company will increase social media • Less than one in ten expect to see no increase in their company’s internal use of social media 15 use to share more content and do more company-wide communications tools In what ways do you see your company’s use of internal social media tools increasing over the next 1-2 years? Question: In what ways do you see your company’s use of internal social media tools increasing over the next 1-2 years? (select all that apply)
  16. 16. Changes in Company External Use of Social Media • More than half of respondents foresee more marketing programs and content distribution in the next one to two years • None foresee a reduction in social media investment In what ways do you see your company’s external use of social media changing over the next 1-2 years? 5% 4% 1% 0% 10% 35% 33% 33% 28% 26% 37% 57% 48% 58% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% More marketing programs Content distribution As a sales channel/bus dev Research job applicants Create support community Using ProfNets for sales contacts More viral/WOM programs Crowd-sourcing product/service ideas Create community for client relationships Procurement network No change We do not use social media We're closing online community We're reducing social media investment 16 Question: In what ways do you see your company’s external use of social media changing over the next 1-2 years? (select all that apply)
  17. 17. • Social Media is supplementing the traditional professional decision-making cycle with great affect • The era of Social Media Peer Group (SMPG) has arrived and information will travel at a business velocity that has never been seen before enabled by the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies. • Challenges are facing marketers who endeavor to mange or control social media network content • Traditional cycles of decision-making are being disrupted by SMPG • Managing and influencing professional decision-making will be the major challenge as professionals often do not seek the information that marketers want to share online. • The greatest opportunity business has is to engage collaborative influence – via immediacy of impact through social channel 17 What Does This All Mean?
  18. 18. THANK YOU! Don Bulmer: Email: donald.bulmer@sap.com Twitter: @dbulmer Vanessa DiMauro Email: vdimauro@leadernetworks.com Twitter: @vdimauro
  19. 19. Supplemental Slides
  20. 20. 20 Gender and Age • Slightly more than half of the respondents were male • A wide range of age groups were represented, with about two thirds of respondents falling between the ages of 36 to 55
  21. 21. 21 Country • The largest number of respondents live in the US (58%), followed by the UK, Germany, and Canada In what country do you live? Country N Country N United States 207 Austria 1 United Kingdom 15 Brazil 1 Germany 14 Denmark 1 Canada 11 Jamaica 1 India 5 Lithuania 1 Australia 3 Malaysia 1 Ireland 3 Netherlands Antilles 1 Netherlands 3 New Zealand 1 Belgium 2 Russia 1 France 2 Singapore 1 Philippines 2 Spain 1 South Africa 2 United Arab Emirates 1 Switzerland 2 Note: 73 respondents did not list a country
  22. 22. 22 Education • More than nine in ten respondents hold a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Professional degree What is the highest level of education that you have attained?
  23. 23. 23 Professional Role • Close to a quarter of respondents reported that they are the CEO in their organization Which of the following categories best describes your professional role in your organization?
  24. 24. • One third of respondents described their organization’s primary type of business as “Business • “Other” responses varied, with no single industry receiving more than one or two mentions 24 Primary Business Services” Please indicate your organization’s primary type of business
  25. 25. 25 Number of Employees • About half of respondents indicated that they work for an organization with less than 100 full time employees • At the other extreme, close to a quarter work for organizations with 10,000 or more employees Approximately how many full time employees does your organization have worldwide including all divisions / locations?
  26. 26. 26 Responsibility • Close to half of respondents reported that they are the final decision-maker • Another four in ten reported that they participate in the decision-making process, while one in ten do research in support of the decision-maker Which of the following best describes your responsibilities in making decisions on products and services in your company or organizational unit? Note: Those who indicated that they had no decision-making responsibility were excluded from the study
  27. 27. Analyses • Frequency distributions were calculated for all items • Chi Square analyses were conducted to determine possible differences among segments of interest on each item. Differences significant at the p<.01 level are identified in the deck. The following segments were examine • Responsibility: Final Decision Maker vs. Other • Size of Company: < 100 employees, vs. 100 to 4,999 vs. 5,000 or more employees • Number of Online Professional Networks: 1 or 2 vs. 3 to 5 vs. 6 or more • Age: 35 or under vs. 36-45 vs. 46-55 vs. 56 or older • Role: CEO vs. Other CXO vs. VP/Director vs. Manager/Individual Contributor 27
  • bobpickard

    Sep. 15, 2014

First study (conducted in 2009) in a series of research to explore the impact of social media on professionals.

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