IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions, recently conducted its annual ‘Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector’ survey. The online survey, which results were released in the Engineering360 Research Report, looked at a broader engineering section, and asked engineers and technical professionals in the industrial sector about their frequency of social media use, which social media platforms they prefer, and what work-related activities they perform on social media.

The US based survey targeted 850 respondents who are a mixture of engineers and technical professionals, and although there were no outstanding results from the survey, there were still many interesting findings that are worth the attention.

A fascinating finding from the survey is the position social media has established in the industrial sector. As social media has evolved into a reputable media channel, more engineers and technical professionals are beginning to rely on its online services.  LinkedIn is the most popular platform among the sector, with a staggering 65% of engineers and technical professionals maintaining an account on LinkedIn. Significantly, the age group 18-34 years old, maintain accounts on nearly all platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Delving further into the results, 54% of respondents use social media to find product reviews, whilst 43% use social media to find out expertise.

Although social media’s postion is slowly becoming more important in the industrial sector, the results reveal that it is not a leading channel or prime concern for engineers and technical professionals. 55% of respondents considered social media to have too much noise and not enough substance, whilst 64% believe social media is inefficient when compared to other methods such as search engines, supplier websites and online catalogs.

It seems the industrial sector is reluctant to accept the full benefits of social media and integrate it fully into their work activities. Yet, with the steady increase of young engineers and technical professionals joining the industry, with a massive 66% of respondents in the 18-34 group using the popular channel of YouTube for work-related purposes, it is hard to argue against social media making a bigger impact on the sector in the years to come.