Why Do Supply Chain Professionals Use Social Media?

There is currently a lot of discussion about the role of social media in society, particularly as a source of news and information. What about for supply chain management professionals? What are the main reasons they use social media?

We explored this topic recently with our Indago supply chain research community. Almost all of our member respondents (97%) reported using LinkedIn for worked-related purposes. YouTube ranked second, but only 39% of the respondents are using it; less than a quarter of the respondents are using Twitter (23%) and Facebook (19%) for work-related purposes. 

Source: Indago (n = 31)

Almost half of the respondents (48%) belong to the Generation X group, with the balance split evenly between Baby Boomers and Millennials (26% each). The most notable difference between them is that Generation X respondents use Facebook and Twitter much more than Baby Boomers and Millennials. For example, 33% of Gen X respondents use Twitter compared to only 13% for Boomers and Millennials.

Overall, the respondents were positive about social media’s role in the profession. “Yes, it is critical,” said one respondent, “because the ones that are disrupting supply chains and creating innovations may not be at the executive level but rather the ones on the front lines. Social media is their voice.” 

Here are some other value-added comments from our Indago members, who are all supply chain and logistics professionals from manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies:

“Social media is a terrific tool for today’s Supply Chain professionals. I am definitely more informed and more connected to peers in the industry, and it’s relatively easy to stay plugged in. While I know there are some concerns generally about ‘bad information’ on social media, I’ve not found that to be the case with Supply Chain. I guess maybe we are not an exciting enough industry for [people] to target with misinformation.”

“It is important for supply chain professionals to keep up with quickly changing technology. Social networking, particularly LinkedIn, is a key tool in this knowledge-gathering effort.”

“There are certainly benefits to social media as it allows for people to share their experience, knowledge, and perspective. However, like any media platform, those using it need to do their research and interpret the validity of the data and messages. There are certainly those out there selling snake oil to whomever is willing to buy it.”

There are various reasons why supply chain professionals use social media. The survey results are available to Indago members only, but how would you have answered this question? Post a comment and share your perspective.

Source: Indago (n = 31)

I’ll end with this comment from one of the respondents, which echoes what I’m hearing from many supply chain professionals today:

“I believe there is a benefit to using something like LinkedIn to learn about technology and build a network. The negative, which seems to have increased, is that accepting a person’s request to connect now becomes an automated sales email…I do not accept network invites from salespeople or others that seem to be selling…I just want to learn and expand my network without being told by everyone how they can save me 25% on my transportation spend.”

Do you agree? Are you getting inundated with connection requests that turn into sales pitches? Post a comment and share your perspective!

Join Indago

If you’re a supply chain or logistics practitioner from a manufacturing, retail, or distribution company, I encourage you to learn more about Indago and join our research community. It is confidential, there is no cost to join and the time commitment is minimal (2-5 minutes per week) — plus your participation will help support charitable causes like JDRF, American Logistics Aid Network, American Cancer Society, Feeding America, and Make-A-Wish.

You can also follow us on LinkedIn to stay informed of our latest research results and news.