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Social media utilization in industrial B2B relations

Social media utilization in industrial B2B relations presented at WSKS 2012 conference

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Social media utilization in industrial B2B relations

  1. 1. Social Media Utilization in Industrial B2B Relations 1 10/11/15 Jari Jussila Tampere University of Technology Hannu Kärkkäinen Tampere University of Technology Heli Aramo-Immonen Tampere University of Technology Jani Multasuo Tampere University of Technology
  2. 2. Outline •  Definitions of social media and the related concept web 2.0 •  Research motivations, aims, and design •  Results of empirical study of 125 Finnish business-to-business companies 2 Jari Jussila 10/11/15
  3. 3. Definition of Social Media and Web 2.0 •  Not only Facebook! •  Web 2.0 means technologies that enable users to communicate, create content and share it with each other via communities, social networks and virtual worlds, making it easier than before. •  Such tools and technologies emphasize the power of users to select, filter, publish and edit information (Tredinnick, 2006), as well as to participate in the creation of content in social media. •  Web 2.0 applications support the creation of informal users’ networks facilitating the flow of ideas and knowledge by allowing the efficient generation, dissemination, sharing and editing / refining of informational content. 3 10/11/15
  4. 4. Focus on B2B (Business-to-Business) sector 4 •  Important starting points: large part of B2B’s consider social media as “something that is out there but is not for us” (Finnish and international studies; conferences, seminars, etc.); lack of suitable cases major factor hindering adoption in B2B’s •  B2C (business-to-consumer) social media already has much research. However, B2B social media research is scarce and B2B differs significantly from B2C context considering the use and usefulness of social media. •  Key factors (both challenges and opportunities for social media) affecting B2B interaction •  fewer customers and more in depth customer relationships in B2B’s •  gatekeeper persons between customers and B2B’s •  IPR and information security issues also affect B2B interaction between customers and partners
  5. 5. Research motivation 5 10/11/15 •  The literature survey revealed that the knowledge about social media use in business-to-business relations is currently fragmented into studies of individual tools and technologies with little focus on the big picture, and it is mainly based on individual cases. •  The very few studies combining social media and B2B standpoint have been mainly studied from a marketing perspective, and less attention placed on knowledge management. •  Moreover, empirical research is scarce in the area where social media, B2B relations and knowledge management intersect. B2B Customers B2B Partners / Suppliers B2B Company
  6. 6. Research aims •  We wanted to study how industrial B2B companies perceive the potential, opportunities and challenges in using social media with customers and partners •  In addition, we also wanted to gain further understanding from the technological and organizational points of view of how business-to-business organizations currently utilize social media. 6 10/11/15
  7. 7. Research design •  A questionnaire was designed to study social media potential and use in the above mentioned context utilizing found social media related literature, survey- type empirical social media studies, as well as several social media expert interviews. •  A sample of 2488 Finnish decision makers from the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries were surveyed. The survey was sent to managing directors of small and medium sized businesses and to business development, product development and communication managers in large companies •  A total of 151 responses were received to the Internet-based survey, of which 143 were from unique companies. The duplicate answers form same company were removed based on the completeness of the answers. The effective response rate was thus 6% (143/2488). From the answers of 143 unique companies, 125 companies represented fully (100%) business- to-business markets, which were chosen as the focus of this 7 10/11/15
  8. 8. Functions of social media in customer interface of B2B companies 8 10/11/15 1.  Most actively used in marketing, communication and branding (~40 %) 2.  Improving customer service (21 %) and customer participation in R&D (9 %) less common, but developing ways of using social media in B2B companies * percentages represent at least some use in the above functions or practices 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% Customer participation in R&D Gathering customer leads Building thought leadership Improving customer service Discovering customer needs Product demos Sales support Employer branding and recruitment Communications Marketing
  9. 9. Social tools used in customer interface of business-to-business companies 9 10/11/15 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Blogs Microblogs Wikis Discussion forums Social office tools Open or private communities Social networking sites e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn e.g. customer support forums e.g. Twitter, Yammer
  10. 10. Partner use of social media in B2B companies 10 10/11/15 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Induction Transfer of tacit knowledge Network management Preserving information in networks Change management and communication Improving the efficiency of project work Utilize expert know-how and reduce workload Sharing best practices Project communication General communication Communication and collaboration 1.  Social media use in communicating and collaborating with partners (¼ of B2B companies), but 2.  less than 15 % of the survey B2B companies use social media in knowledge management with their partners
  11. 11. Perceived potential of social media use with customer and partners 11 10/11/15 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gathering customer leads Building thought leadership Customer participation in R&D Discovering customer needs Improving customer service Product demos Sales support Marketing Communications Employer branding and recruitment 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Transfer of tacit knowledge Change management and communication Induction Preserving information in networks Network management Utilize expert know-how and reduce workload Improving the efficiency of project work Sharing best practices Project communication Communication and collaboration General communication
  12. 12. Conclusions •  Concerning the experienced potential in the customer interface, six studied items out of ten had a perceived potential of more than 20%. The studied B2B’s seemed to perceive clearly a larger potential in the customer interface than in the partner interface, while none of the studied eleven partner-related items were perceived very important by more than 20% •  Currently, only a very minor part of studied B2B’s social media used social media very actively. The partner-oriented use was even less active. Both the current use and the seen potential seemed to be clearly higher in the customer interface than in partner use. •  Our study discovered several potential factors at least partly explaining the limited use: the most common reasons for not using social media were: a) other projects being more important, b) and the companies not being able to measure or assess the benefits for business, c) lack of good case studies, d) lack of understanding the possibilities, and e) lack of resources •  To increase social media use in B2B context, at least the above-mentioned most important social media adoption barriers should be addressed in companies, and academic research should be carried out to produce a more systematically organized, more holistic and less fragmented picture of the above issues. 12 10/11/15