Social media in business-to-business interaction, engagement, co-creation and communication

Call for papers for: Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

Guest editors:

Helen McGrath, University College Cork, Ireland
Email: [email protected]

Thomas O’Toole, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
Email: [email protected]

Conor Drummond, University College Cork, Ireland

Email: [email protected]

Deadline for submissions of new papers:
February 1st, 2022

This special issue call seeks out papers that provide new insights into social media’s strategic and tactical use and its integration into both business-to-business relationships and networks, and business-to-business marketing communications. The call is especially interested, although not exclusively, in authors who take the IMP Group’s (see, paradigmatic assumptions to understand social media in business markets (Drummond et al., 2018) - interaction and interdependence. In general, industrial marketing researchers have been slow to study social media’s impacts on business relationships and networks in comparison to their consumer marketing counterparts (Alves et al., 2016; Hofacker et al., 2020; Salo, 2017).  Whilst there are many social media platforms and each has its own digital and information characteristics, the inability of one particular firm to control the media makes their study potentially unique when compared to more traditional single-actor led communications. Social media can add richness to information exchange and be part of the interactive resource structure of actors at both a relationship and network level.  It can play a role and theoretically alter the balance in important relationship dynamics such as power and trust. For many entrepreneurial firms, it helps them in their initial reach out to new customers beyond their formative base of social contacts. Social media is also providing new opportunities for business marketing engagement and co-creation as it shifts marketing boundaries from the actor to between the actors involved in the network.

Social media may offer opportunities beyond its classification as another media within marketing communications but it is only starting to be researched within this space, for example, as a strategic and tactical tool (Cartwright et al., 2021; Drummond et al., 2020; Iankova et al., 2018; Felix et al, 2017), and in the sales process (Agnihotri et al., 2016; Bocconcelli et al., 2017). We welcome papers that take a fresh look at how social media fits within the toolkit of the business marketing communications mix:  Does it have theoretically distinct features when compared to other communication media or is it complementary?  Is it more difficult to manage and to protect brand image in the era of social media? Indeed, the very information firms may seek to protect may be made more open by the underlying nature of the social media platforms?  Is this a force for social good and in the interest of the business-to-business marketer? Increasingly, social media is making it more challenging to offer one mix of a relationship to one customer and a distinct mix to another as partners may be able to see more easily what is been offered if social media is used.  This becomes a divisive problem in customer relationship management but also in the omnichannels present in many contemporary marketplaces. Social media can also be communication form that favours authentic communication be this in the sales process or supporting a firm as it responds to a crisis in its business markets.

We welcome submissions to this special issue. Topics covered include (but are not limited to):

  • How social media can enhance relationship and network capability?
  • The nature of social media as a resource in interaction and in network interfaces.
  • Theoretical papers concerning the network architecture of social media.
  • Social media’s potential in resource assembly and co-creation.
  • The use of social media by entrepreneurial and small firms.
  • The challenges of social media data breeches and ethics violations on business-to-business customer relationships.
  • Novel ways social media can complement other business-to-business communications.
  • How social media can add resilience to communications in time of crisis?
  • The complexities of omnichannel marketing communications in the era of social media.
  • Social media’s use in a multichannel business-to-business activity with other web-based technology advancements such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things.
  • Novel methodological and analytic approaches to dealing with social media data in business-to-business research, and in customer relationship management systems.

Please read the guidance to authors on the journal's page before submitting.

Submission Information:

All papers should be submitted through the Journal’s submission process, i.e., ScholarOne Manuscript Central online submission system. Please make sure you select the special issue “social media in business-to-business interaction” when submitting your manuscript. For details on how to submit using Manuscript Central, please, see the (JBIM) author guidelines.

The deadline for full paper submissions is February 1st, 2022. The submissions must conform to JBIM’s author guidelines. These guidelines will also steer authors through the submission process. Articles submitted should not have been published before in their current (or substantially similar) form and should not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Please see Emerald's originality guidelines for further details.

Further information:

For questions regarding the content of this special issue, please contact the guest editors:

Helen McGrath, University College Cork, Ireland.

Email: [email protected]

Thomas O’Toole, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland.
Email: [email protected]

Conor Drummond, University College Cork, Ireland.

Email: [email protected]


Agnihotri, R., Dingus, R., Hu, M.Y. and Krush, M.T. (2016), “Social media: influencing customer satisfaction in B2B sales”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 53, pp. 172-180.

Alves, H., Fernandes, C. and Raposo, M. (2016), “Social media marketing: a literature review and implications”, Psychology and Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 12, pp. 1029-1038.

Bocconcelli, R., Cioppi, M. and Pagano, A. (2017), “Social media as a resource in SMEs’ sales process”, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 693-709.

Cartwright, S., Davies, I. and Archer-Brown, C. (2021), “Managing relationships in social media in business-to-business organisations”, Journal of Business Research, Vol 125, pp. 120-134.

Drummond, C., McGrath, H. and O’Toole, T. (2018), “The impact of social media on resource mobilisation in entrepreneurial firms”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 70, April, pp. 68-89.

Drummond, C., O’Toole, T. and McGrath, H. (2020), “Digital engagement strategies and tactics in social media marketing”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54, No. 6, pp. 1247-1280.

Felix, R., Rauschnabel, P.A. and Hinsch, C. (2017), “Elements of strategic social media marketing: a holistic framework”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 70, pp. 118-126.

Hofacker, C., Golgeci, I., Pillai, K.G., and Gligor, D.M. (2020), “Digital marketing and business-to-business relationships: a close look at the interface and a roadmap for the future”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54, No. 6, pp. 1161-1179.

Iankova, S., Davies, I., Archer-Brown, C., Marder, B. and Yau, A. (2018), “A comparison of social media marketing between B2B, B2C and mixed business models”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 81, pp. 169-179.

Salo, J. (2017), “Social media research in the industrial marketing field: review of literature and future research directions”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 66, pp. 115-129.