Facebook tops LinkedIn as content king for senior execs

A study reveals Facebook is the go-to platform for industry leaders seeking business advice, outstripping LinkedIn.

The revelation forms part of a new report from Grist, a leading business-to-business content marketing agency, which examines what C-suite executives from FTSE 350 companies look for in corporate thought leadership. Facebook was cited as the social network where senior executives were most likely to engage with business content (79%), compared with Twitter (73%) and LinkedIn (68%).

The Value of B2B Thought Leadership Survey, conducted in partnership with independent market research agency Coleman Parkes Research, presents findings from more than 200 interviews conducted at FTSE 350 organisations. Senior roles surveyed include: CEO, senior legal, finance, risk, marketing and sales, human resources and tech.

The study also found:

  • The C-suite ignores most content. Senior executives only read on average 31% of all thought leadership that reaches their desks.
  • However, good thought leadership gets actioned. 84% of senior executives believe thought leadership plays an important part in adding value to their role; while 28% of the material has a direct impact on decision making.
  • Monday lunchtimes matter. Two thirds of senior executives seek out thought leadership on a Monday, while noon to 2pm is the single most popular time slot for reading.
  • Long-form content is less likely to be read. Respondents cited two formats – 800-word articles (63%) and 300- to 500-word blog posts – as preferable to longer content.
  • Failure comes in threes. Thought leadership fails when it proves too generic (63%), lacks original insight or ideas (58%) or promotes the adviser rather than addressing the reader’s need (53%).
  • Content needs to promote other voices. Senior executives want to read the ideas of their clients (57%) more than any other group. This is followed by industry experts (53%), professional services firms (44%), the public (42%) and peers (36%).

Andrew Rogerson, founder and managing director at Grist, said: “This research is great news if you are in control of your firm’s marketing and communications programme. The C-suite clearly values thought leadership and is happy to receive it from advisers.

“However, we can also see that much of this content is below par. The C-suite is a sophisticated and demanding audience, and will not respond to rehashed marketing material. Instead, thought leadership must provide a return on investment, both for the firms that invest the money to produce it and the senior executives that invest time in reading it.

“Consider, too, that Facebook matters in business-to-business communications. The marketing department, content teams and agencies need to deal with the consequences of this and devise a compelling editorial plan that includes a wide range of channels and different perspectives.”