Professional social media usage; Dutch architects clearly ahead

Social media already takes a very important role in most of our personal lives. Looking at the social media usage worldwide; approximately 2 billion people use Facebook every month, and also social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn are widely used. One of the key questions for many marketeers and communication managers working in the construction industry is to what degree social media is being used professionally by architects. In the European Architectural Barometer Q1 2018 report, we have investigated the media orientation and consumption of architects. Dutch architects use social media professionally the most (44%) and German architects use social media professionally the least (9%). The reason why architects are using social media professionally differs per country, there is no clear number one reason. Facebook is the most used social media channel in most of the European countries, with the exception of the Netherlands where LinkedIn is used the most. The Q1 2018 report of the European Architectural Barometer is based on 1,400 interviews by phone with architects in eight European countries.

Differences per country

The share of architects that use social media professionally is the highest in the Netherlands (44%). With the relative high degree of digitalisation in the Dutch construction industry in general, this is not very surprising. About one third of the architects in the UK, Spain and Italy use social media professionally. In other countries like Belgium, France and Germany, this share is lower. German architects are – generally speaking – more traditional in their media behaviour, so that is one of the reasons why the share of German architects using social media professionally is quite low. 

Facebook & LinkedIn are the most professionally used social media channels amongst architects

In all countries except for the Netherlands, Facebook is being used the most when architects use social media professionally. This share is the highest in France and in Germany this is the lowest (32%). In the Netherlands LinkedIn is used the most (71%). This is surprisingly high compared to the other countries, but makes sense since this is a platform that is fully focused on professional users. The LinkedIn usage is second highest in Belgium with 50% of architects who professionally use social media, also using LinkedIn. Interestingly, social media channels that are used more often for inspiration, like Instagram and Pinterest, are mentioned less often by architects.

What is the main reason to use social media professionally?

The report about the media orientation & consumption of architects shows that there is not particularly one reason why European architects use social media professionally. The reasons to use social media differ strongly per country. Architects in the Netherlands clearly indicate that social media is an important source for networking, receiving the latest news and keeping up-to-date about the latest trends and developments in the market. Which makes sense to use LinkedIn for. In other countries like Belgium and Italy architects use social media more often for getting the opinion of colleagues. Architects in the other investigated countries look for product range information via social media channels, market trends & developments, the opinion of colleagues and the latest news.

Conclusion

There are big differences in the social media usage among architects in eight European countries. Social media is being used the most in the Netherlands (44%), followed by the UK, Spain and Italy where about one third of the architects use social media. In general, professionals in Germany are more traditional in their media behaviour; the share of German architects that use social media professionally is in line with that trend. Only 9% of the German architects use social media professionally, which is the lowest in Europe.

When looking at developments of social media usage, it’s to expected that this will continue to increase over the next years. Younger generations tend to use more social media professionally, whereas the older generations will use it less often. With the ageing society and expected retirement of the older generation social media usage should increase.