Social CIO’s tech buying behavior on the rise: Study

Research shows how IT vendors can tap into the tech buying behavior of today’s social savvy CIO

Social CIO’s tech buying behavior on the rise: Study - CIO&Leader

While CIO/CTOs are already keeping pace in a rapidly changing technology landscape, only a handful were active on social media until recently. That trend is changing now. Studies show, many CIO/CTOs are embracing social media as a way to connect with their customers and peers, discover best practices, and become stronger leaders – all with the goal of doing their jobs better. In fact, a new research reveals that CTOs and CIOs in the last 2-3 years are keener on the use of social when compared to their other C-Suite colleagues.

The report, developed by LAB and Immediate Future, a specialist social media agency, not only highlights social media habits of senior technology buyers, but also shows how social media provides an opportunity for IT vendors or marketers can use consumer neuroscience and psychology techniques to engage with and grab CIO's attention.

Socially active CIOs

The study shows that IT and tech buyers over-index against their fellow C-suite execs when it comes to the use of social media, with 70% using Facebook and 43% using Twitter more than once a day. For example, tech leaders like to keep up-to-date on news and current affairs. They are 38% more likely than their other C-Suite colleagues to follow news organisations on social channels, and 30% more likely to follow politicians.

The study also shows, 39% follow content that’s relevant to their work, and 37% use social media to network for work purposes, with 69% using chat and messaging apps alongside social networking.

CIOs also use social media as a platform to find tech brands, with 45% following brands they like, and a third following brands they plan to buy from. Moreover, a fifth of those interviewed admit to clicking on a promoted or sponsored post from a brand within the last month.

According to Tom Head, Sales and Marketing Director at LAB: “Buyers rely heavily on brand content as they research, evaluate and compile their vendor short-lists. Savvy marketers should give them what they want, with useful, attention-grabbing content which they can also share with their peers in order to position themselves as thought-leaders. Status matters to these people!”

Tapping on CIO’s social-savvy attitude

No matter how much inclined CIO/CTOs are becoming on different social media platforms, as buyers of IT and tech products, they exhibit some attitudes that are complex and varied in their motivations.

The research reveals that the technical C-Suite are mostly rational thinkers, but also quite contextually-minded. This means that while they are interested in classic business concerns such as profitability and meeting targets, they are also thinking about receiving industry recognition and being champions of change.

Very often they go for IT vendors/marketers who better understand and empathize with them - and more importantly engage them in a way that strikes a chord, believes Head.

Through peers, social ‘word of mouth’

A lot of buying is currently happening on Facebook, as the study finds that Facebook is the social channel of choice for tech buyers. 42% of participants in the study are most engaged - either interacting or contributing - on Facebook, 34% on YouTube, 33% on Twitter and, perhaps surprisingly for senior business people, only 25% on LinkedIn.

“With these decision makers choosing to spend their time and energy on what have traditionally been viewed as B2C channels, it’s essential that brands communicate with them as human beings,” adds Head.

When it comes to the themes IT professionals are discussing on social media, the study finds cybersecurity is still a hot topic, while the IoT has been superseded by more specialized terms such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, and various other smaller topic bubbles on business and robotics.

Video is the way to go

The modern CIO/CTO is a complete visual entity and the study sees video is the obvious tool to woo senior tech professionals. It reveals, 41% of senior IT buyers watch videos on Facebook, and they are more likely to watch a brand’s video on Facebook than they are to read an email newsletter.

The researcher highlights that videos are difficult to ignore because our primal brains are wired to be sensitive to movement. Using consumer neuroscience techniques enables marketers to create video which both attracts and retains attention.

Head mentions, “Many marketers believe that the more senior the target, the more difficult they are to reach - but our research tells a different story. Senior tech and IT buyers can be found - and they’re open to brand messaging, but with so much noise on social channels, brands need to use behavioral insights to create content which gets real cut-through.”

“There was once a clear line between B2B and consumer marketing, but social is changing this. CTOs and Heads of Innovation are now as much consumers as they are high-level execs. Knowing where they go, why they go there, and what they do when they’re there, can help inform a brand’s social strategy,” adds, Katy Howell, CEO, Immediate Future.

“Creating content that senior IT professionals trust, that takes the right tone, and that is easy for them to like and share, will increase the chance of engagement,” believes Howell.

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