Social Media within a B2B context : A qualitative study about how industrial corporations can use social media to maintain B2B relationships
The last thirty years there has been a dramatic change in relationship marketing. The use of computers connected to the Internet at work places has increased over time and social media is widely used in marketing strategies. Social media is a new phenomenon to communicate with each other, it enables market information based on individual consumer’s experiences. Therefore managers are seeking a way to incorporate social media into their strategies, but this is more common within B2C than B2B.
The purpose is to investigate the potential for industrial corporations, within the warehousing industry, to use social media for maintaining established relationships within B2B, as a part of their marketing strategy. The primary data is collected by qualitative interviews with relevant corporations. The study includes four corporations within the industrial industry, an illustrative corporation that have issues regarding using social media or not, and one expert interview. The secondary data is collected from previous research, articles and journals. From the theoretical framework and empirical research, it seems to be more useful for corporations acting in the market of B2C rather than in B2B to use social media. Major of the interviewed corporations were thinking of using social media as a part of their marketing strategy, but almost no one were using it as a tool today.
The younger generation, raised in a technological society, seem to generally have a broader knowledge of social media and what advantages and disadvantages the use can lead to. From this thesis it does not seem that one social media is better than another since different social media platforms are used in different ways. Therefore, it is not possible to say that one specific social media suits all corporations. However, if a corporation decides to use social media as a marketing tool, they need to be aware of the time required for it and be prepared for negative effects since they are open platforms, free for everyone to express their feelings. Within B2B, the trend of having a personal relation with customer and supplier is very strong and social media can never replace this personal relationship. The conclusions and recommendations is instead to use social media as an integrated marketing tool within their strategy.
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