Happy Friday. Click This. Tweet about it B2B.

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Social MediaHappy Friday! This week we’ve curated a selection of links about how your business can leverage social media—even if consumers aren’t your primary market.

Do you tweet? Prior to 2006, that question would have been ridiculous. But, today, Twitter has more than 500 million users—and more than 300 million are active (e.g., have logged in and interacted in the last 30 days). Users tweet about all kinds of topics—from politics to revolutions to sales to social justice to TV competition results. Twitter, however, isn’t just for individual users.

Many B2Cs have learned how to leverage Twitter to answer service questions, hold general Q&As with relevant industry notorieties, promote new products, announce sales, and conduct surveys. In 2013 Business Insider published a list of the top 50 brands to follow on Twitter. Many of these brands still do exceptionally well in the Twittersphere, but for a more recent list of leading content creators and influencers, check out the 2015 Shorty Award Winners for the best use of social media, apps, and video (Lowe’s won best brand on Vine!), or the 13 sassiest brands on Twitter as compiled by TIME.

(The Basics: Twitter 101)

So, what makes a consumer-facing company good at Twitter? Empathy.

While Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segment makes light of the kind of hostility that can—and often does—occur on Twitter, Belinda Parmar considered how companies listed on the major London and New York stock exchanges use Twitter to engage with their customers. One interesting finding: consumer-facing firms tend to be better at displaying empathy than their business-to-business counterparts.

But what if your business isn’t consumer facing? How do you use Twitter (or another social media platform) to engage with your strategic business partners and suppliers—or even employees—in an empathetic manner? (Should you?)

Ed Rusch, VP of Corporate Marketing at Elemica, says: Yes. He suggests social media should be used in the supply chain. Among the reasons he provides: accessing and issuing information about accidents and road closures; monitoring your suppliers and vendors’ reputations; and researching new suppliers, partners, vendors, and carriers. When it comes to global supply chains, social media can also be an effective news curator, alerting you to SCRM issues that are outside of your scope of control but may need your response.

Likewise, Quy Huy and Andrew Shipilov discovered how social media can be used internally to develop emotional capital. Similar to Parmar’s finding regarding empathy, Huy and Shipilov note that using social media internally to engender authenticity, pride, attachment, and fun help to create a positive community and potentially more productive work environment. Emotional capital may also lead to social selling. If your employees, partners, vendors, and suppliers truly like you and your business, they’re much more likely to recommend you—not only when you’re selling but also when you’re recruiting.

As Amber Mac writes, “…there is a new buzzword that is getting some traction online: H2H. Human-to-human marketing is really nothing new, but it does force us to remember that at the core of all social media marketing we are quite simply people talking to people.”

A quick recap:

1. Take Twitter 101.

2. Be inspired by how the best companies and brands leverage social media.

3. Use social media in the supply chain. Find out which of your supply chain partners use social media and follow them.

4. Engage with strategic business partners, vendors, and manufacturers via social media in a way that amplifies their success too. (Consider this “with empathy” for B2B.)

5. Start using social media internally to build emotional capital.

6. Tweet at or follow @ArenaSolutions.

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About the Author

Amanda Menking
Amanda Menking is a PhD student at the University of Washington's Information School. She's currently exploring gender dynamics and gender-based hostility in online communities. Amanda is a collaborator with the ... Read More 

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