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Does Social Media have a place in the Procurement Industry?  (Part 2)

Today’s economy is less than robust, to say the least. People and businesses try to get the things done in the most cost effective way as possible. Therefore businesses are tightening the belt and cutting costs and one of the most obvious areas is procurement of goods and supplies. Internet and social media networks have created an ideal platform for both businesses and vendors to engage in their work with less hassle.

In our previous post we looked at the possible use of Facebook within the procurement industry. Despite its popularity in the social media realm there are other avenues available and each offers a wide range of unique services to their users, many of which can be capitalized on for purchasers and vendors. Almost all these social media networks are flexible and they can adopt according to the needs of the industry. In this post, we are going to take a brief look at LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.

LinkedIn is probably one of the best choices for product sourcing and procurement specialists. LinkedIn is a platform specifically made for professionals, experts and industry leaders to connect, share ideas and insights. It is also an excellent place to find your customers, especially if you are in the B2B business. Business owners can join the LinkedIn groups that are directly and indirectly related to their industry. Then the ideal business partner will connect with you through those groups and you will get the opportunity to do some effective deals.  Business owners can actively participate in the discussions and polls. The prevailing industry in the present world is changing on a rapid pace and it is essential for them to know the latest updates. These discussions and newsletters will provide them with the necessary knowledge and updates in a convenient way. Procurement specialists may learn of a better source by networking with others within their industry or they may make a new contact with a vendor that can outbid a current vendor.

Twitter is a popular way for businesses to interact with their customers. The customers could be end-users and individual people or even other businesses in a B2B situation. The great thing about Twitter is that everything is in real time and business owners can receive their daily news from it. The basic search function of Twitter is an extremely useful tool as it lets you save time when searching for any topic or subject. It can either be a brand name or an industry that you work in. Twitter users often search for services or products. Therefore business owners should be more active and responsive in order to grab the opportunities before the competitors.

Pinterest is a relative newcomer to the social media world, but it has rapidly grown in popularity. The business application remains to be seen as far as measuring its effectiveness. For product sourcing and export companies, this is quite an interesting platform to look into, but not without some controversies. This social media allows users to post pictures or ‘pins’ of just about anything within categories called “boards”. It does seem to be geared more toward physical products; it’s a little difficult to pin a photo of services you provide. But if your business targets women, it may be that monitoring Pinterest will help you discover trends and quite possibly a new product that you may consider procuring for either internal use or even as a product to be sold by your business.

All these social media networks can help the companies to engage in their work with less hassle and save more money, but with some caution. None of them are going to be a magic bullet, but their might be just that little nugget of information or an idea that transforms your procurement status within your company or even your industry.

October 18, 2012
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BY Bellwether
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