The Possibilities of Business-to-Business Utilization of Social Media for Brand Visibility in Improving Relationship Quality, Eliciting Customer Attractiveness, and Achieving Preferred Customer Status
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Social media use is progressively benefiting B2C companies in reaching their customers and enhancing their brand and corporate image. However, the same cannot be said of B2B companies in their business transactions with business customers. The fundamental goal of this research was to explore how the use of social media by B2B companies could lead to customer attractiveness and preferred customer status. Precisely, the theory of SNBV complemented by the theory of relationship quality were drawn upon to analyze B2B visibility and relationship for the attainment of attractiveness and preferential treatment. A cross-sectional survey of B2B companies in varied industries across the globe was conducted which led to 214 responses from 56 countries. By use of structural equation modeling statistical analyses, the findings indicate that the use of social media creates visibility for B2B companies and enhances relationship quality. Further, quality relationship as a result of visibility leads to customer attractiveness. Customer attractiveness, resulting from both visibility on social media and quality relationship, leads to preferred customer status in business transactions among supplying and buying companies. Regardless, extant literature considering B2B adoption of social media as nascent, the findings suggest a progressive adoption of social media by B2B companies. With that light shed on the understanding of the concept, the need for increased research attention in that domain is espoused. Additionally, social media teams and marketing managers of B2B companies can revamp their social media presence for increased visibility while at the same time re-evaluating their relationships with their business customers to correspondingly align with strategies for competitive edge.