5 Unmissable Advantages of Social Media in Procurement

5 Unmissable Advantages of Social Media in Procurement

Talk of social media might inspire images of obsessive millennials taking sunset selfies by the beach, or heated exchanges about who really is the best footballer at the World Cup, but the advantages of social media go far beyond the mundane.

Social media is a powerful tool for any business function. Don’t just take our word for it, the numbers really do speak for themselves:

  • 2.2 billion active Facebook users
  • 330 million active Twitter users
  • 560 million LinkedIn users
  • 800 million Instagram users

While the size of that audience is astonishing, it can make for an intimidating proposition trying to understand how that landscape fits into your procurement function. So let’s explore what social media opportunity could mean for you.

Social media boosts procurement performance

The stereotype of social media use at work is one of a bored worker scrolling through Facebook while desperately trying to avoid work. Research reveals that this image could well be a myth.

In a 2016 study on the impact of job-related social media use on the work of procurement professionals, it was revealed that social media actually has a positive effect on job performance. An important element of this relationship is the passive learning that procurement professionals can experience on social media, allowing them to continue to grow their industry knowledge and expertise.

Social media helps build business networks

With over 560 million global users, 4 million of them here in Malaysia, LinkedIn is potentially the biggest networking opportunity you will ever be presented with. This business-focussed social network not only provides ready access to thought leadership by key procurement industry players, it allows you to build and grow your own connections to those players and the wider procurement industry.

While LinkedIn might be the most focussed social network in this regard, the 2+ billion Facebook users and 330 million Twitter users provides a similar opportunity to help understand and grow your business networks. Social media presents the chance to shake hands, say hello, pass over a business card and offer up your services without even having to leave your desk.

Social is a powerful research tool

Thinking of taking on a new supplier but want to carry out a bit of research before you dive in? Social media is a crowd-sourced avalanche of discussion around everything from ice cream flavours to the frustrating experience another user had with a particular company.

Researching suppliers and potential partners on platforms like Twitter and Facebook won’t always provide you an insight into their working practice, but it’s certainly going to offer up the odd gem here and there. So whether it’s someone praising your supplier or potential partner over a great service, or complaining about a pallet of building supplies that spontaneously burst into flames, you’re opening up a new avenue of opportunity to build a more informed procurement strategy.

Social media can improve recruitment

LinkedIn isn’t just about connecting with clients, it’s an increasingly important platform for building positive recruitment. Not only does LinkedIn provide a resource for potential employees to research your business, it offers a helpful job vacancy functionality that presents another platform for you to reach out and highlight positions that you need filled.

More widely, the same idea of social media as a research tool used for you to research potential partners also allows employees to research you as a potential employer. A positive social media brand image can be a huge influence on whether or not a key skilled individual applies to be a part of your team.

Social media can boost internal productivity and morale

Social media isn’t always an outward facing proposition, there are also increasingly powerful tools which generate internal benefits. Collaborative work and communication platforms such as Slack may have begun life as a simple messaging tool, but they’ve quickly grown to become a go-to source for internal collaboration supported by a strong social aspect. You can discuss work projects on one channel while sharing pictures of your weekend on another, empowering workers to work more effectively together, while nurturing a great working environment.

What this means for you is the ability to build a more productive team network with simple collaboration, but also one that provides a positive social element that keeps your team motivated and working together in harmony.

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