1 of 1 people found this helpful
We use social media in Asia Pacific to pursue sales leads, share best practices internally, and extend messages to our Twitter communities. We are mainly listeners, but engage from time to time - and especially use "private" channels (i.e. Google+) where we can directly target and exchange information with customers, prospects and employees. We are still in our social media infancy, taking baby steps - but we are pleased with the early results and will continue to slowly adopt social media as another B2B communication channel. Overall, there are growing opportunities using social media to help procurement and supply chain initiatives.
Thanks, Rob. Curious if you use social media channels -- like blogs, LinkedIn groups, etc. -- to uncover information on market trends, prospects, and/or competitors. It seems that there's a wealth of free information being offered up out there for those willing to harvest it.
As a user of social media sites, I have been curious to see how I could use them in my profession. I have counterparts in Marketing, Communications, etc. that obviously find various ways to use social media in their respective professions. As you stated in your questions I would like to use social media sites to obtain market information and share best practices about the services that I buy, however two things prevent me from exploring this fully:
1) Validity of the information received
2) Company's social media policy (do not want to misrepresent)
Any feedback that you can provide that addresses these concerns are greatly appreciated!
Thanks for the great feedback Monique. You bring up good points about the validity, but I'm wondering if you have examples of sources you trust (say LinkedIn Groups) vs others you're not so sure about (Twitter?). Do you have suggestions for how a community could help to elevate it's best and brightest?
On the company policy front, are there caveats or guidance for participating in professional sites if you make it clear your opinions are your own and not those of your company?
Justin, unfortunately I do not have any examples of sources that I use in social media due to my previous apprehension with the company policy. However, I do recall the policy providing guidance that employees are to make it clear that any representations made are not on behalf of the company. On that note, I will begin to explore these sites for procurement groups. I think that the simplest way to elevate a community’s best and brightest is to retweet them or recommend them. It will help to expand their sphere of influence online.
Thanks, Monique. Valid points.
Information from any source should be validated -- whether online through Google or Facebook or offline through the Thomas Register (granted, they have an online presence too). Some may actually argue that the high level of transparency on public social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn actually offer more validation than other less-transparent channels because the community polices itself -- as with ratings on eBay.
That said, social media should be thought of less as a place -- such as Twitter -- and more of as a new, community-driven concept for fostering engagement and knowledge management. IMHO, there are four key use cases for how social media can play a role in helping procurement and buyer-seller relationships:
- Market intelligence: Many vendors host their own blogs, providing valuable information on industry issues, new capacity and capabilities, market expansion plans, etc.
- Peer engagement: A host of great procurement and supply chain related groups exist on LinkedIn, including the Sourcing & Procurement Group. These serve as excellent forums for exchanging best practices and connecting with peers facing similar challenges. Other procurement specific communiites -- like Ariba Exchange -- play a similar role.
- Stakeholder engagement: Internal communities and collaboration tools offer new ways to engage and tap into the knowledge of folks across the organization -- both with the procurement function as well as other functions. This can be an excellent way to gather intelligence on category approaches or supplier feedback or connection that may be tied up in the heads of your
- Supplier collaboration: A growing number of tools and communities -- like Google+ and Ariba Discovery (incl. embedded IBM LotusLive features) -- provide forums to exchange innovation and collaborate with supplier partners in both public and private ways.