The study, conducted by Catherine Pardo and her co-authors, analysed how B2B companies can use social media to ‘strategize' (i.e. take a position in their ecosystems).

They found that twitter in B2B context is relevant not only for communication or commercial purposes but also to educate buyers and help them better understand what a supplier company can do for them.

The researchers emphasize that social media plays a role in shaping business networks to the extent that they are a place where companies share discourse on their role, thus potentially construct or change potential buyers' representation of them.

The authors identify four main dimensions that structure B2B companies' official discourses on Twitter and consequently the position they want to occupy in business ecosystems.

Firstly, digital transformation, this is when companies want to be identified as those that can help other actors digitalize. Secondly, customer experience dimension, this is when companies want to emphasize their ability to commit to customers. Thirdly, customization of offerings dimension, this is where companies want to share their ability to adapt or even tailor make their product and service for customers.

And finally, an ecosystem actor dimension, where companies emphasize their ability to establish and develop relationships with different partners in a business network.

“Our findings show that social media channels such as Twitter, such as market-shaping tools, are mainly used by B2B companies to reach network partners – for instance potential customers – and help them share positions that are largely articulated around a strong customer orientation approach,” says Catherine Pardo, Professor of Marketing at emlyon.

The researcher advises managers of B2B companies to consider social media as more than a channel where they can invest in to create awareness for the brand or attract consumers to their website. They should integrate it into a coherent omnichannel strategy. The research was published in the journal Industrial Marketing Management.

For further information:
emlyon business school academic communication contact

Valérie Jobard 04 78 33 78 29 – @valeriejobardPR