Social media opportunities in B2B ecommerce space

Social media has revolutionary impact on dissemination of information and seamless communication between individuals around the globe. However, the social media phenomenon also crept vividly in businesses – be it B2C, C2B and B2B. In our previous article we have written about social media in B2C space in India, meanwhile, in this article we are putting forth the landscape of social media in B2B landscape.

Unlike B2C, Facebook is not relevant on social front in B2B. LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and blogs rule the roost in B2B segment. Before going deep in to this let us understand what are the driving forces behind social media strategies of business houses communicating the other business.

  • Expand reach & increase business prospect: It gives business houses to attract and communicate with new business prospects or to create better awareness about their productline.
  • Expand market research: Scope of research in India has been so far thin as people here do not keen on sharing information. However, through social media brands can engage effectively and retrieve more information.
  • Accelerate discovery and exploit information:  Social media gives you seamless reach; hence it leads to have large number of opinions of various clients that could trigger discovery and innovation in your product offering.
  • Improve communication: Unlike conventional media, social media equips you to interact, connect with larger audience. Therefore it gives you an advantage to improve communication

In order to study the use of social media by online businesses to communicate other business house iamwire analyzed the activities of various companies in Indian B2B ecosystem. Brands like IBM, Microsoft, eBay and Martjack have been using social media, however we found that except eBay, almost all the communication initiated by rest of the companies on Facebook is one way. As far as LinkedIn is concerned, companies are here focused and target at specific audiences. The simplicity, reach and impact of social media, makes it one of the most potent tools for B2B marketers. It is actively used for lead generation and even measure member feedback and gain insights. At LinkedIn, B2B companies use tools like Groups, Answers, Polls, and Company Pages which are highly customizable and interactive, thus providing insights and allowing for audience feedback.  Display ads can be customized to appear on profile pages of members based on their profile information which can be further filtered depending on their designation, education, and location among other factors.

On the blogging front IBM and Microsoft are far ahead than others – IBM has more than17, 000 individual blogs which allow its employees to connect with their clients for better innovation and feedback. Similarly, Microsoft also stress upon the use of blogging for the same reasons. Apart from mainstream blogging, these brands seem to be enthused on micro blogging site twitter; however one thing we could not figure out why the communication pattern is one way in most of cases (interaction on social tools in B2B space).

*Arrows representing one way/ two way communication
We tried to understand the reason why B2B companies avoid two way communications:
  •  Privacy and confidentiality: In most of the cases businesses at the receiving end of services are not willing to make the information public.
  • Time constraint:  There is a belief within business houses that social interaction of organization is wastage of time and rather than using social media they can simply use email and phone to access companies providing services.
  • Lack of perceived output: Most of the companies failed to understand the amount of leverage they can gain from this platform




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