March 13, 2012

Social Media and Supplier Diversity

Social media is now the preferred way for people to share information quickly and effectively, even replacing e-mail, phone and text distribution. As social media becomes increasingly prevalent in the business world, more and more business connections and procurement matches will be made through social media.Social media and supplier diversity can go hand-in-hand when both sides of procurement implement social media successfully . Here are a few tips to help minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) and procurement agencies get more opportunities and meaningful connections out of social networking.

For a primer on social media, read our article Social Media 101, or listen to our podcast series on social media.

For M/WBEs

If you’re an M/WBE and you want to get noticed by supplier diversity professionals, you need to ensure that they can find you. If your diverse business has social media accounts, make sure you use them to your advantage.

  • Indicate your certification status in your profile to help your account show up in searches within social networks. For example, look at how few businesses are currently listed as certified MBEs, certified WBEs)
  • Talk about being an M/WBE, or post articles related to supplier diversity.
  • Engage with your certification organization and chapter if they are online.
  • Join relevant supplier diversity groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and participate in discussions.
  • Look for supplier diversity professionals on LinkedIn, or accounts and pages devoted to supplier diversity and procurement on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Engage with government agencies like the MBDA, SBA (don’t forget regional offices) and agencies that might have opportunities in your realm. Also, if your state or local DOT serves as a certification agency, opportunities may be available there.
  • Get active on MBEConnect Social.


Larger businesses have mostly adopted social media as a powerful marketing tool, but it has the potential to offer a lot more to other areas of business, especially procurement. A well-implemented social media plan can offer procurement departments more effective and efficient supplier research, communication, collaboration and more.  Here are a few tips to help find and attract the right suppliers.

  • Establish separate social media accounts for procurement to attract the followers you want, not just general fans of your company
  • Use search engines within social networks to identify M/WBEs and other suppliers
  • Identify trends, common concerns and questions so you can keep up with the conversation
  • Post your own opportunities, news items, event appearances and other items to connect with suppliers.
  • Use as a communication channel for suppliers and to connect with people you have recently met at events
  • Supplier collaboration through online communities like Google+ and supplier manager tools allow users to exchange information and collaborate with each other in public and private ways.
  • Engage businesses with your content; ask questions and

Are there any other ways that you have seen M/WBEs or procurement officials effectively use social media?




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One Comment

  1. Great and timely info! As an MBE who works with world class companies on communication strategies leveraging digital strategies and social media, this is really useful and relevant advice!

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