The thesis includes four interviews with social media experts, synthesised around brand management for B2B companies, where as the theoretical background is B2B brand management. Thought leaders of social media and branding in the online environment are currently doing their work out in the field, whilst the academics are lagging behind.
In order to shed some light on issues regarding how B2B companies should manage opportunities and challenges in the social media space, this master thesis seeks to address the topic by conducting an exploratory study on how B2B companies can utilise social media to enhance the brand.
ShipServ designed a social media strategy which evolved around using social media platforms as beacons to drive traffic to their main site, in order to qualify the “readiness to buy” of the visitors by tracking and nurturing them with an automated marketing solution. Whilst their product is an innovative technological service, the target audience are conservative late adopters; the challenge ShipServ faced was solved by creating relationships with their target audience through multiple social networks backed by a high-quality content marketing strategy.
During the research process I have discovered several useful master thesises on social media, both in relation to B2B and branding, as well as general exploratory studies on social media.
During the autumn 2009 I conducted a literature review for my pre-diploma work on business-to-business branding online, which in my opinion has implications for how B2B companies could use social media. The main findings of the study suggest that B2B brand strategies should be aligned towards and reinforce the overall business strategy, whilst striving for consistency throughout every customer touch point in order to achieve interactive effects from branding in multiple mediums.