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Social media marketing in B2B

Can customer engagement help increase brand awareness? A Mixed Methods Study

Written by A. Al Daghstani, H. Mousa & M. Rastegari

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Thesis: Why choose social media marketing? Before the introduction of Web 2.0 principles and social media sites, B2B companies relied on traditional marketing practices that put most of their power in the hands of suppliers (Mora Cortez and Johnston, 2017). However, after further entering the digital age and social media sites becoming popular, B2B companies have turned to technology-based applications that provide buyers with some power and allow them to provide feedback and communicate with each other on a global scale This new power in the hands of buyers may be a blessing to B2B companies, depending on how well they handle it. The core of all these new technology-based communication models is the concept of social media marketing; it is defined as "a cross-disciplinary and cross-functional concept that uses social media (usually combined with other communication channels) to create Value to achieve organizational goals” (Felix, Rauschnabel and Hinsch, 2017). If B2B companies pay attention to this new flow of information generated by buyers, they can use it to improve service and resolve dissatisfied customers. However, if a B2B company is skeptical of this new reality and does not take advantage of it, it may damage the company’s reputation and image and deprive the company of all possible opportunities provided by social media (Habibi et al., 2015; Hoffman and Novak) In Michaelidou, Siamagka, and Christodoulides, 2011; Huotari et al., 2015; Wang, Pauleen, and Zhang, cited in mid-2016). Nowadays, social media sites are becoming part of most people's daily lives. Including business professionals. In addition, Keinänen and Kuivalainen (2015) pointed out that executives, marketers, and other professionals who use social media for private purposes are also more likely to use social media for business purposes. It can be said that B2B companies inevitably need to appear on social media so as not to miss any opportunities it offers. With the development of social media sites, they have become more and more complex and difficult to define; Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) identified and classified six different types of social media sites: social networking sites (SNS), collaborative projects, blogs, content communities, Virtual social world and virtual game world. Social networking sites (SNS) are the most commonly used type of social media; therefore, social media mentioned in this article refers only to SNS. Examples of SNS include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Michaelidou, Siamagka, and Christodoulides (2011) conducted a survey to discover the efficiency of B2B companies using SNS to achieve marketing goals. 61% of respondents participated in the survey (same as above) 2.3 The opportunities and benefits of social media marketing in B2B social media marketing provide many opportunities and benefits for companies that take advantage of it. These opportunities include providing access and the ability to collect large amounts of customer data. B2B companies can use this data to understand how effective their marketing activities are; then, companies can use this data to change and adjust their marketing strategies and practices to Improve their marketing performance (Habibi et al., 2015; Järvinen et al., 2012; Mora Cortez and Johnston, 2017). Habibi et al. (2015) and Jussila, Kärkkäinen and Aramo-Immonen (2014) talked about another potential benefit of social media marketing, which is to increase communication; therefore, improve the two-way communication between suppliers and buyers​​, which helps to simplify And strengthen cooperation (Habibi et al., 2015; Huotari et al., 2015; Wang, Pauleen and Zhang, 2016). In addition, strengthening cooperation is not only between suppliers and buyers (external), but between employees and departments of the same organization (internal) (Jussila, Kärkkäinen and Aramo-Immonen, 2014; Wang, Pauleen and Zhang, 2016 ) ). Nevertheless, it is worth noting that some authors seem to dispute whether social media is used more for internal communication or for external communication. Wang, Pauleen, and Zhang (2016) and Jussila, Kärkkäinen, and Aramo-Immonen (2014) pointed out that social media was used more for internal communication; while Kärkkäinen, Jussila, and Väisänen (2010) claimed that social media was used more for external communication. In addition, other authors claim that external communication via social media is not only specific to the interaction between the supplier and the buyer, but also includes communication between the company and its partners, unions, political parties, and other collaborators (Andersson and Wikström, 2017; Habibi et al., 2015; Jussila, Kärkkäinen and Aramo-Imonen, 2014). Depending on the company's B2B industry, social media sites can be used as additional sales channels to help bring more profits to the company (Buratti, Parola and Satta, 2018; Järvinen et al., 2012; Keinänen and Kuivalainen, 2015) . Compared with traditional marketing practices, social media marketing is also considered to save time (Jussila, Kärkkäinen and Aramo-Immonen, 2014). In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, B2B companies are considering social media marketing. Although a particularly interesting potential of social media is to increase brand awareness (Andersson and Wikström, 2017; Rodriguez, Peterson and Krishnan, 2012). In fact, the author of this paper believes that brand awareness is a necessary condition before reaping many other benefits. Read Less