Today, in many economic sectors, Social Media have developed into a standard marketing topic. Not only for the retail sector by targeting customer reach, but as an important tool for B2B communication, too. However, throughout small and medium sized companies, we observe some uncertainty regarding the advantages in view of clear results. Those companies are technically still developing their marketing online potential. Yet, communication between companies is clearly shifting towards online. Let’s have a look at the relevance of social media as part of online communication for the textile service sector.
B2B Communication Changes
During the last years, communication between companies has changed remarkably and this trend will be an ongoing one. Digital communication technologies are decisively influencing the presentation and dialogue mode, including the B2B sector. Regarding sales, for instance, there is simply more time for decisions by purchasers to choose vendors of possible providers, because the internet offers previous choice options. A study by Millward Brown Digital ‘B2B Path to Purchases’, analysing the purchase mode of companies in 2014, states that companies already had had some 12 searches before they decided to contact a specific provider. Searching periods – without directly contacting a provider – are increasing, because the professionally reliable searching conditions on the internet are improving. The ways of personnel acquisition have also been changed completely by use of internet.
Social Media Exploring
Of course, the company website is the main part of its internet presence. There are lots of additional communication options though, which can be helpful for a diversity of company targets. Social Media are part of these options, playing an increasing role also in the B2B market. Many companies have started to try social media. We have analysed more than 80 textile service companies and their suppliers and noticed that some 50% are offering additional links to their social media presences (see table “Social Media by Selected Companies”).
41 companies with social media presences are using 3.4 different social media platforms. With 35 companies, Facebook is in the lead. LinkedIn and YouTube are following with 32 and 29 company accounts, Twitter reached 22, Xing 11, Instagram 9 and Pinterest 2 company accounts. Smaller social media networks have been neglected, as well as private accounts of company staff.
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