3 Reasons to include Social Media in your Procurement Toolkit
When you think of social media users do self-obsessed, selfie-taking millennials come to mind? Or keyboard warriors commenting stridently on news items? Of course social media is so much more than this. Along with other advancements in the industry and an overall increase in the uptake of digital technologies, including online negotiating, social media is a powerful tool to add to your procurement arsenal. Today there are 3.2 billion active social media users. That’s 42% of the population! And that’s a massive audience! But it’s also intimidating. So why should your procurement strategy involve a social media presence?
- RELATIONSHIP AND NETWORK-BUILDING
Using social media to engage with suppliers is an increasing industry trend. Connecting with suppliers on social media platforms provides not only a fast and easy way to connect en masse, but can keep you up to date with latest news and trends. The informal nature makes it easier to express a sense of personality, forge relationships, promote dialogue and build trust. Creating these collegial relationships helps you build a reputation as a customer of choice. In addition, your business networks are widened dramatically, all without leaving your desk.
- KNOWLEDGE SHARING, RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Along with the obvious Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, industry-led sites such as Procurious and Corporatebrainz provide comprehensive professional information. Ideas can be absorbed and collated from global sources, driving innovation and forging a competitive edge. Collaboration between like-minded professionals is increasingly possible, and knowledge sharing is uncomplicated. You have a potential avalanche of information and discussion at your fingertips. However, the old adage of ‘buyer beware’ holds particularly true here. In this self-regulating environment it’s important to use caution when your information is from social media sites. Used with discrimination you will have multiple avenues to build a more informal, but increasingly effective procurement strategy.
- REAL TIME INFORMATION
In 2019 two thirds of us turn to social media for our news (Oberlo.com, 2019). We can select discussions and news feeds tailored directly to our requirements. News around suppliers, innovations, product recalls, supply chain disruptions and more, shared by peers can be easily accessed on social media networks. You have a real-time view of not only your suppliers, but the wider industry. You have your finger on the pulse. By identifying issues quickly you can pre-empt, rather than react to change.
The image of an employee, feet up on the desk, scrolling through Facebook doesn’t do much to promote social media use as a necessary item in you procurement toolkit. But interestingly, and encouragingly, studies have pointed to an actual increase in productivity, and a positive effect on performance by procurement professionals who actively engage on social media platforms, (Marc Jonas Heller, 2016)
For those who choose to use social media networks, the benefits are clear. The opportunity to build and maintain stronger, more informed and collaborative relationships is huge. The ability to show a people and personality side of your business, connect your company with others who have similar values, and ethics is extremely advantageous.
How we do business is changing. We have tools and connectivity that we didn’t have, even five years ago. Using these tools to make positive difference in our businesses is crucial.