Business partners tell IBM they want social media education

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Nearly three-quarters (74%) of IBM's business partners told the company they realize the number of social media outlets is growing, precipitating the need for them to increase their educational scope in that area.

The companies told IBM they are seeking training on specific social media tools, like RSS, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, videos and setting up networking communities to engage with partners and customers, according to an IBM social media survey.

Eighty percent of recipients visit LinkedIn on a monthly basis, and 56% visit it daily or weekly. More than three in four (77%) visit YouTube monthly, while 37% visit the site at least weekly. Nearly seven in 10 (68%) visit Facebook at least monthly, while 46% visit the site daily or weekly. Half (50%) visit Twitter monthly, and 29% go to the site daily or weekly. Results also showed that partners from smaller companies and those in executive roles use these four predominant social networking sites more often than other business partners.

The research also showed that privacy concerns, lack of time and lack of perceived value were the top three most-often-mentioned reasons for a lack of interest in using social media for business purposes. The survey also showed that the top social media sites visited by IBM partners are LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The 2010 IBM Business Partner Social Media Survey was sent to 35,000 individuals, but results were taken from the first 1,000 respondents. Business partners include resellers, distributors, independent software vendors and system integrators.

In response to the survey, IBM has began a “new skills” initiative, including training sessions and a social media guide available through the IBM PartnerWorld Website, which launched in June 2009. IBM specifically designed the site, a collection of social networking community spaces, to help its partners connect and collaborate online.

The initiative also includes a webcast and podcast series on Web 2.0 social media opportunities and successful strategy implementation, as well as live sessions for partners and workshops.

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