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Executives' social media behavior revealed

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A study on social media trends by CyberMedia Research has found out that Linkedin is used by more than 90 per cent of respondents for business purposes and laptops are the most preferred medium for connecting to social platforms

BANGALORE, INDIA: Over 90 per cent of business executives use social media in India, and spend anywhere between 30 minutes to 6 hours every day on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype and Google+ from their notebook PCs, smartphones and tablets, says a study by CyberMedia Research (CMR), a Technology, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, Utilities and User intelligence firm.

The new study, titled Social Media Usage Habits of Business Executives in India, March 2012, was published on Thursday.

According to the study findings, 88 per cent of executives in India use social media primarily as a tool for better professional networking, 75 per cent chiefly for social networking, while 15 per cent use it for finding new career or employment opportunities.

'Six hours of social media a day'

"Social media takes a lot of time, and time spent online by Indian executives in a day runs up to 6 hours. This has raised concerns about loss of time and productivity. However, our study reveals that at the workplace, social media is being increasingly used by professionals for multitasking and for better time management. Our survey respondents feel that social networking tools help them communicate faster, with a larger audience in a relatively shorter time span," stated Anirban Banerjee, associate vice-president, Research and Advisory Services, CMR.

Professional versus personal

For professional interactions, LinkedIn is used by more than 90 per cent of business executives inIndia, while 80 per cent indicated using Twitter, and 70 per cent used Skype. Facebook is now being increasingly used for social communications by businesses, and this is gradually replacing other forms of outbound communication.

For personal and social networking, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, MySpace and Orkut emerged amongst the top five used social media platforms. Google+ is being used by nearly 65 per cent of business executives, while 64 per cent use Twitter.

According to Prabhu Ram, general manager, Research and Consulting, CMR, "A majority of the established social networking platforms have developed a unique positioning for themselves amongst users. For instance, while LinkedIn is used for professional networking and lead generation, Facebook is preferred for social networking. As per our survey results, a 'new generation' tool like Google+ is being used in both professional and personal settings within a short span of its launch."

Modes of access to social media

According to the CMR social media Survey 2012, respondents indicated multiple modes for accessing social networks. While notebook PCs remained the most preferred medium for accessing social platforms, an interesting trend is that the use of smartphones to access social networks now exceeds that of desktop PCs. Interestingly, tablets are gaining traction amongst the respondents, and 15 per cent reported its usage.

According to Faisal Kawoosa, senior manager, Research and Consulting, CMR, "Indians have traditionally favored personal computers at work and home to log online. An interesting trend that emerges from our study is that smartphones are being increasingly used for connecting to social networks at workplace and home, providing a unique uninterrupted user experience."

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What is the impact?

As per CMR's India Monthly Mobile Handsets Market Review for CY 2011, February 2012 release, in 2011, the India smartphones market witnessed launch of 150 models by over 30 vendors. Overall smartphone shipments touched 11.2 million units in calendar year 2011, recording a year-on-year growth of 87 per cent.

This rise in the adoption of smartphones added to the increase in use of social media for personal and professional interactions and raised concerns, particularly amongst operators, about its impact on other forms of traditional communications, including phone usage, text messaging and e-mail.

social media usage has resulted in decrease of email communications. CMR survey respondents indicated a preference for social networking tools over email for business communications with contacts in their social network. Only 15 per cent of respondents indicated using e-mails 'frequently' for communicating with contacts already present in their social networks.

Similarly, SMS has taken some impact from the ascent of social media. A majority of our respondents indicated using social networking tools over text messaging for communicating with contacts present in their social network. Only 27 per cent respondents indicated using SMS frequently for contacts on their social networks.

However, when it comes to phone usage, 63 per cent of respondents still prefer to call. This shows that phone usage has been least impacted by the rise of social media.

The way forward

The CMR social media Survey 2012 reveals that an overwhelming 93 per cent of respondents are not inclined to pay a fee for their social network usage. About 7 per cent of respondents indicated they would be willing to pay, if social media sites offer premium features and content.

"Users would largely prefer to have free access to social networking platforms. However, if social media sites provide new, user-specific applications, content and premium networking tools and metrics, professional users may be willing to pay a fee. This indicates there could be some traction amongst target users going forward, if social networking service providers are able to put together the right package and able to demonstrate a reasonable RoI," concluded Banerjee.

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