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The use of social media in a B2B context

Siamagka, N.-T., (2012) The use of social media in a B2B context. Report. Henley Centre for Customer Management

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The advent of Web 2.0 has created new ways to communicate, collaborate and share content (Enders et al. 2008). Social media builds on the technological and ideological foundations of Web 2.0 (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010) and encompasses the “activities, practices, and behaviours among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media” (Safko and Brake 2009: 6). Social media, or otherwise ‘user-generated communication’, now represents a prevalent source of information; it has changed the tools and strategies companies use to communicate, highlighting that the information control now lies with the customer (Mangold & Faulds 2009). Despite the popularity of social media (SM) and in particular social networking sites (SNS), their importance in shaping commercial online interaction (Mislove et al. 2007) and their potential to support brands (Christodoulides 2009), research into SNS is very limited, and focuses largely on the consumer in a B2C domain. To date, there is paucity of systematic research on how SNS are used by companies, particularly B2B companies, and how they contribute to brand objectives. Anecdotal evidence (e.g. Shih 2009) suggests that SM is important for B2B companies. B2B companies can use SM and specifically SNS such as Facebook and LinkedIn to communicate with their customers and suppliers, build relationships and trust, as well as to identify prospective partners in terms of B2B selling (Shih, 2009). Recently, Michaelidou et al. (2011) examined the usage of SNS by B2B SMEs and identified a number of perceived benefits including attracting new customers, cultivating relationships, increasing awareness, communicating brands, receiving feedback and interacting with suppliers. Further, the adoption of SM by B2B sales forces has been found to improve sales processes and relationship sales performance (Rodriguez et al. 2012). This study builds on the limited literature on SM in a B2B context and aims to identify the extent of SNS usage, perceived benefits and barriers as well as common metrics used by B2B organisations.

Item Type:Report (Report)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:82302
Publisher:Henley Centre for Customer Management


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