Study: Electrical Distributors Double Social Media Use

Study: Electrical Distributors Double Social Media Use

By Katrina Olson

URBANA, Ill. — Nearly 90% of distributors plan to use social media in 2019—up significantly from 41% who were “actively using” social media according to a 2012 study by the National Association of Electrical Distributors Education and Research Foundation, Inc. This new finding is from a 2019 survey of more than 50 electrical distributor marketers conducted by Katrina Olson Marketing + Training and sponsored by LEDVANCE, makers of SYLVANIA general lighting in the U.S. and Canada.

“The industry has always suspected social media was playing an important role for distributors, but with so many options and limited resources, it can be confusing to decide what to focus on and we all need to prioritize,” said Wolfgang Mailaender, Head of Marketing for U.S. and Canada, LEDVANCE. “Not only does the survey confirm social media is growing for the electrical industry, but now we as a manufacturer have an even better understanding of how we can better assist our distributors in their sales and marketing efforts by providing specific product-related content for the most effective social media channels.”

The survey which took place from mid-January to mid-February among electrical distributor marketers throughout North America also revealed:

  • LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were the most used platforms overall.
  • Roughly one-third of distributors post daily and weekly on Twitter.
  • About 30% of respondents post monthly on YouTube.
  • Social media content tended to be more promotional than educational. About three out of four respondents posted about company events and products and services, followed by sales and promotions and holiday greetings.

Social media is still going strong with electrical distributors. Based on the survey:

  • 77% of distributors plan to increase their use of social media in 2019.
  • A significant number of respondents plan to maintain the same level of activity across all platforms, specifically LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Respondents reported the most effective social media platforms were LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Overall, they felt their social media efforts were “moderately” successful across all goals, but most often cited feeling “very” or “extremely” successful at the goals of “increase exposure” (combined 38%) and “improve search rankings” (combined 31%). Respondents felt their social media efforts were least successful at generating leads or increasing sales.

To download the full report, “How Are Electrical Distributors Using Social Media?” and an infographic of summary results, visit

About Katrina Olson Marketing + Training
Katrina Olson is principal and owner of Illinois-based Katrina Olson Marketing + Training. With 35 years’ experience in marketing including 15 in electrical distribution, Katrina is committed to educating, empowering, and emboldening people and organizations to become better marketers. Through consulting, training, personal coaching, writing, and research, Katrina helps distributors, manufacturers, and related companies turn disruption into opportunity. Visit or email to learn more.

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