The use of social media marketing in B2B services: A look at some “conservative” industries

Nicoletta Buratti, Francesco Parola, Giovanni Satta


Purpose. This study aims at reviewing extant literature on social media marketing (SMM) in B2B service contexts, scrutinizing and categorizing potential benefits, which originate from the adoption of SM tools by B2B service firms in conservative industries. The study also empirically investigates two relevant B2B service sectors, which show some of the typical characteristics of commodity-based service industries.

Methodology. We performed a systematic literature review to achieve a deeper understanding of the current state of knowledge on social media in B2B services. For this purpose, we scrutinize leading peer-review international journals using the Scopus database and performing ad-hoc queries with pre-defined keywords. In addition, an empirical research is conducted on 60 firms, i.e. tanker shipping companies and ocean carriers, bringing some descriptive statistics on their SM activity on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Findings. The outcomes from sample firms unveil the adoption rate of the most diffused social media tools, the broadness of the digital networks of stakeholders (number of followers), the intensity of the communication activity (number of posts, shares, photos, videos) and the activated reactions (number of likes and shares).

Practical implications. Empirical evidence suggest to managers that social media might be an easy-accessible and low-cost option for keeping the pace of sectorial transformations and creating a competitive advantage even in conservative sectors.

Originality/value. This paper, by investigating B2B service sectors, addresses an interesting gap in SMM literature as prior studies mostly focused on B2C industries and manufacturing contexts.


social media marketing; B2B services; conservative industries; literature review; benefits

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