As humans we like to belong somewhere. Community gives us safety and comfort, for this reason it is natural for consumers to gather in dedicated groups. Companies can do the same, and enjoy the benefits of B2B networks.
The following is based on a study conducted in the United States, titled ’Understanding the Benefits of Social Exchange in B2B Communities’. There have been studies on Customer-to-Customer social groups, but in regards of B2B, this is one of the few.
Obvious Benefits for Customers
In one of our previous case studies, we talked about how a company can achieve thought leadership by hosting a platform for its clients to network on. It helps them to reach like-minded individuals to collaborate with. But what is the case for organisations themselves? Is a company even able to join a community? Can you empower your clients who are legal entities?
The answer is yes, and although the specifics might differ, there are some similarities between B2B and C2C networks. The most important one is the flow of information, that increases exponentially with time and trust. Another is the ease of contact between participants. Pre-established connections within the group lessen consumer fears. It also makes it easier to get testimonials about potential partners.
The Economic Benefits of B2B Networks
The study says that „in an active community, member participation and engagement builds a subconscious sense of trust in the individuals. Members become more dependent on the others and value their opinions and advice more as time increases. The more trust that a member feels in the community, the more purchasing activity can be expected.”
This means that businesses can gain increasing amount of trust from other members of the group, which then leads to increasing economic benefits. This stands true for both small and large companies. Large retailers and service providers have increased ability within their group to expand their activities. On the other hand smaller businesses can gain the necessary trust to find their first clients, or make their big breakthrough.
Either way, especially in the light of the recent pandemic, it is clear that together we are stronger.