Marketing Executives on TwitterJust what are marketing executives up to on Twitter? And what does this mean for senior marketers and the companies that sell to them? 

A new report by Leadtail looks to shed some light on these questions plus provide insights into which social networks are popular with marketing decision makers, what sources of content they share, and who most influences them.

The report, “B2B Social Marketing Report: Marketing Executives on Twitter,” summarizes the Twitter activity of 1,797 marketing decision makers during the first quarter of 2013, based on an analysis of 407,192 tweets and 185,948 shared links.

Why Twitter activity? Because social media data has a leg up on other data sources such as surveys, polls and focus groups; it shows what people really do … versus what they say they do.

Which social networks are most popular with senior marketers?

One of the findings from the report is that senior marketers participate on a number of social networks, many of which cross-post to Twitter. For example, Instagram and Foursquare made up 27% and 20% of the period’s Twitter activity, respectively.

It’s also interesting that 10% of the marketers in the sample posted at least one video from Vine, Twitter’s six-second video app, making Vine already more popular with these marketers than media darlings Pinterest and Tumblr (at least when it comes to cross posting on Twitter).

Clearly, companies targeting marketing executives should think beyond Twitter and LinkedIn if they want more opportunities to reach and engage senior marketers using social media.

What kind of content do marketing executives share on Twitter?

Mainstream media sites represented 44% of the content shared by senior marketers on Twitter -- but that doesn't mean it’s all celebrity gossip and sports (though there is a fair amount of that). The vast majority of mainstream content shared was business, technology and media focused – typically covering broad industry issues and trends.

While industry-related content was shared less overall (comprising 32% of the top shared sources), it still plays an important role in defining the conversations marketers have with each other, their internal teams and ultimately customers. Many of these publications feature submissions from marketing and PR thought leaders and experts, and have robust email and social media distribution that keeps their content in front of marketing executives on a daily basis.

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Types of Content Shared by Marketing Executives, Q1 2013

The report also lists the top 100 most popular sources of mainstream and industry content shared by senior marketers. In this list are mainstream media like Forbes, Fast Company and Business Insider, and respected industry publications such as Pando Daily, eMarketer and Marketing Land.

This data shows there are a number of mainstream and industry publications that marketers can consider for purposes of PR, thought-leadership and paid media opportunities.

How much sharing is driven by mobile?

While many companies still struggle with the question of whether or not to prioritize mobile, there’s no doubt that marketing decision makers actively use mobile devices to engage on social media. The report shows that 40% of senior marketers’ Twitter activity now originates from smart phones and tablets.

This data implies the time has come to focus on mobile if your company targets marketing executives.

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Distribution of Mobile vs. Web Sharing to Twitter by Marketing Executives, Q1 2013

Title image courtesy of bloomua (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To read more from Carter, see his 6 Ways to Grab Your Buyers' Attention Using Social Media