This study aims to explore why and how business-to-business (B2B) companies use social media and which users and stakeholders they communicate with.
The study employs a case study approach because of its exploratory nature. Data from three companies consisted of interviews and observation of websites. The analysis includes within-case and cross-case displays to find patterns and themes in the data.
The study shows that companies in a B2B contexts use social media as communication to enhance customer relationships, support sales and build their brands, in line with prior research. However, they also use social media as a recruiting tool, a seeking tool and a product information and service tool.
The findings confirm extant literature showing that B2B companies can directly influence content through corporate user accounts. Furthermore, firms in early stages of social media do not target any special stakeholders with broader messages, while more experienced social media users develop special messages for different stakeholders.
This study contributes by shedding light on how B2B companies use social media. It also shows how different channels are effective with different stakeholders.
Few studies have investigated the use of social media in a B2B context. This study goes beyond prior work by detailing how different social media tools are used, identifying different users and stakeholders, and explaining why different tools are used for different purposes targeted towards different stakeholders. New applications of the use of social media are also identified.
The authors want to thank the Knowledge foundation for financial support and Anders Laurenius for taking part in the first round of data collection.
Andersson, S. and Wikström, N. (2017), "Why and how are social media used in a B2B context, and which stakeholders are involved?", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 8, pp. 1098-1108. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-07-2016-0148Download as .RIS
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