ITProLaptopServers650Where do information-technology professionals turn for help in reaching purchasing decisions for their companies? According to a recent survey of 400 IT professionals tasked with technology purchase decisions, from IDG Connect, social networks have closed the gap on search, and Facebook, in particular, has made strides.

IDG Connect’s findings included:

  • 57 percent of respondents used social networks to aid their purchasing decisions, barely trailing search at 58 percent, and ahead of professional networks (51 percent), video sharing (38 percent), and reviews and recommendations (38 percent).
  • 48 percent of respondents use Facebook for “general education.”
  • 29 percent refer to Facebook as they make their “final decisions.”
  • 86 percent of IT buyers used social networks and content during their purchasing-decision process.
  • Social media is most often used during the general education stage.
  • 89 percent of IT buyers prefer educational content to promotional content on social media channels.
  • 62 percent were most interested in seeing e-seminars.
  • Product or service reviews were the most preferred content.

The report said of Facebook:

Results show that Facebook is the most popular social media network for IT buyers; they are using it at every stage of the buying process. Facebook is becoming more than a network to share photos and videos, but a community where users connect with people they trust in the industry to get advice and look for relevant information.

And IDG Connect Principal Analyst and Vice President Bob Johnson said in a release announcing the study’s findings:

Clearly, buyers are using multiple social media platforms and communities during the purchase process. Buyers want to go to places they trust as they seek insight to make decisions, and social media platforms, such as Facebook, have both reach and stature for many people.

If social media conversations are not better understood or connected, vendors run a serious risk of having substandard lead-generation and nurturing efforts. Be warned: If marketers do not offer relevant links to content and activities, someone else will, and marketers without relevant information will lack engagement to identify qualified leads.

Readers: Did any of the findings by IDG Connect surprise you?

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