Smooth Social Operators

9:00 AM -- Hi-tech vendors, some would think, would be more social-network-savvy than those big, bad legacy carrier folks.

But it's just not true. Our recent social networking survey suggests carrier execs and their organizations are more socially adept than the telecom hardware and software vendors that serve them. And certainly, there are some important differences in the way both groups use social media.

Here’s what the survey shows:

  • Fifty-six percent of our carrier executive respondents said their organization has a social media strategist, compared to only 45 percent of the hi-tech vendors.

  • As for social network usage, 14 percent of carrier execs update Facebook hourly, and 42 percent daily. For vendors, only 11 percent update Facebook hourly and 36 percent daily.

  • Finally, 23 percent of the carrier responses indicated social networking had resulted in increased revenue for their organizations, while only 17 percent of vendor respondents said so.

Why the difference? For sure, I'm thinking that while carriers sell to enterprises big time, they are among the leading B2C businesses in the world. Most hi-tech vendors who sell to carriers are B2B companies, which traditionally trail large consumer businesses' social network implementation.

Further, there are some important differences in how carrier professionals and vendor execs use social networks.

  • Carriers favor Android (40 percent Android, 28 percent Apple), while hi-tech vendors like the iPhone better (37 percent Apple vs. 32 percent Android). Carriers might like the more open platform, and senior execs have been on the hustings arguing for more mobile phone interoperability (see this).

  • The operators' favorite social network is Facebook (44 percent Facebook, 38 percent LinkedIn), while more vendors use LinkedIn (49 percent LinkedIn, 35 percent Facebook). One possible explanation is that, in my experience, carrier execs, especially those who plan and operate the carrier infrastructure, live in a more tightly controlled environment and might not be encouraged to share on LinkedIn with competitors and the industry. They might be doing private network sharing with family and friends on Facebook.

Finally, and perhaps for the same reason above, only 35 percent of operators have gotten jobs via social networks compared to a whopping 52 percent for hi-tech vendors. Then again, vendor execs are notorious job hoppers. Then again, should the T-Mobile/AT&T deal be resurrected or some similar huge carrier consolidation happen, you could expect a huge surge in carrier LinkedIn usage.

— Joe Braue, Group Director and SVP, Light Reading

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:27:13 PM
re: Smooth Social Operators

Why does it matter if carriers are more or less active on social networks than the companies that sell them equipment? 

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:27:10 PM
re: Smooth Social Operators

It proves they're, you know, hipper. Or maybe they have more time on their hands.

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