Three reasons why procurement professionals should embrace social media

Stephen Ashcroft
25 November 2013

Stephen Ashcroft, Brian FarringdonI confess I am avidly on Twitter and last night it struck me we in procurement might have it wrong.

Why are people in procurement not embracing social media?

Let me give an example to illustrate my point. A chap in the US followed my Twitter account. Not that unusual, but I decided to have a look at his profile. He had over 200,000 followers all interested in his area, namely marketing, PR and communications. This volume of connections is not uncommon outside the procurement community. Even the most popular of procurement twitterati such as @supplymgmt or @procurementpaul have ‘only’ a few thousand followers at most.

Why is this? Is it quality over quantity? Is it the demographics in the profession? Are we all grey-haired with a lack of young tech-savvy millennials? Is it because ‘private’ buyer-vendor web portals seem the way for procurement to share information with the perhaps understandable concerns for loss of commercial advantage?

Social media use for information sharing, and learning, appears to be less popular in procurement than other functions. This is a missed opportunity that needs to be addressed.

I propose a call to action. There are many reasons using Twitter can be great for purchasing and supply professional, and here are the top three:

  1. It is free. It is also easy to share a succinct (!) message – or link to an article or useful piece of information - in seconds. Procurement people can reach out and collaborate with millions of people, and connect with the ‘right’ people.
  2. It is who you know, not what you know. Twitter has a search mechanism that makes it easy to locate people who may help you, and trust, with procurement challenges. Then those people will know people and so on, creating a community focused on ideas, issues and answers you are interested in.
  3. Everything happens in real time. Stories, news, research and ideas are shared and built up, which is ideal for procurement people. You never know, they might even start the dialogue with you.

How about a Twitter roll call for readers of the SM blog? Just add your account below and what you tweet about. Let's connect on Twitter!

☛ Stephen Ashcroft is a specialist in procurement risk at Brian Farrington. You can comment or connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter

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