Of note is that results vary only modestly by experience level. While 87 percent of engineers with more than 20 years experience don't use social networking to solve problems or find products, 61 percent of rookie engineers (fewer than five years' experience) don't either. More than half of young engineers have never used social networking to request of share technical information while three quarters of the most-experienced engineers haven't.
A marketing problem
Burrowing into the data suggests challenges for electronics industry marketers trying to use social media to engage engineers as potential customers.
Those engineers who can access social networks while on the job spend little time there. More significantly, there are disparities between the platforms engineers like to use and those companies have adopted as part of their marketing strategies
First off, only 40 percent of our respondents said their companies use social networking tools to communicate with customers and potential customers. Of those that did, 55 percent include Twitter in their arsenal of platforms, yet only 26 percent of engineers pay attention to Twitter. And while 85 percent of engineers are engaged with LinkedIn (the most used social network in our survey universe), slightly less than half the companies use LinkedIn to communicate outside their company
The tightest correlation is on Facebook, where 60 percent of respondents use Facebook and 66 percent of companies use the network for communications and community building. But while companies generally set up Facebook pages as part of a marketing strategy, it's unclear whether engineers use Facebook for more than family-social connections.
What follows are additional results from the survey:
Which networks do you use and how much?
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