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Social networking has greatly revolutionized the corporate market, allowing businesses to generate enormous profits. Notably, the rise of social media has reshaped social networking, and individuals can now access a wide range of brand knowledge through social media. According to Knights, “social networking has dramatically reshaped approaches and processes in the contemporary connectivity market, as well as playing an important part in corporate practices” (Knights 12). It raises the brand value and allows businesses to meet their clients more quickly. Furthermore, social media has allowed buyers and sellers to connect, increasing their sales. This paper will discuss the impact of social media on the business sector.
History of Social Media
In the 20th century, technologies started changing rapidly and computers were established the 1940s. Many engineers directed themselves into developing means of creating networks using the computers leading to the birth of the internet. Emailing was invented and by 1970s, the social networking technology had greatly improved (Alam 28). The Internet Relay Chats (IRCs) were originally used in 1988 and remained as the popular way of social networking in the 1990s. “Six Degrees was the very first social site which was created in 1997” (Alam 3). This site enabled its users to make uploads of their profiles along with making friends with the other users. Blogging site was invented in 1999. It became popular and created a social media sensation. The invention of the day blogging led to an explosion of the social media. Sites like LinkedIn and Myspace started to gain prominence in the early 2000s while Flickr and Photobucket did facilitate online photo sharing (Alam 19). In 2005, YouTube was developed and peopled communicated and shared information across long distances. In 2006, Facebook and twitter became available to the user in the entire world and have remained to be the most popular social media sites in the world. Other social media such as Spotify, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Foursquare have popped up where people interact. Currently, tremendous varieties of social networking sites exist which link many peopled across nations.
Advantages of Social Media
Social media has significantly led to political transformation and facilitated more political disclosure. “The demographic shift towards new methods of information outreach has seen political parties adapt to the rapidly changing realities of communication enabling them to reach their participants” (Smith 17). Social media has also maintained the long-distance relationships and thus proved to be beneficial to the society. It has facilitated the interactions between buyers and sellers in a business and greatly added value to many companies. Businesses use social media to carry out their product promotion and consumers are able to window shop certain brands of products using the social media. It has improved governance and reformed the government operations through the promotion of transparency.
Disadvantages Social Media
Social media has weakened the bonds of face-face interaction. According to Turkle “technology and social media have caused destruction to meaningful social interactions by disconnecting people from the real world” (Turkle). Evidently, Social media results into addiction and thus time to waste especially to the youths. Turkle states “the ever growing attachment to the phones and tablets has deeply engrossed the teenagers”. The addiction creates a moral panic and leads to negative behavioral and physical impacts. Alam notes that “Use of social networks may expose individuals to other forms of harassment or even inappropriate contact” (Alam 16). “Children could be exposed to pornography and other inappropriate content” (Alam 5). There is also the risk of fraud or theft through the social media. Social media is also a time waster. Alam reports the social media causes “60 percent of the traffic is from a mobile source with 28% spent on the social media” (Alam 37). Social media also leads to corporate invasion of privacy. The social media invites corporations to invade a person's privacy and sell the personal information they find.
Myths about Social Media.
There is a myth that social media is all free. While one could not be charged when posting photos for comment, the social media does not present to be free. In the marketing business, one has to invest a lot of time in carrying out research as a refinement goal towards success. Besides, a business that claims its profile on every application of social media is a strategic move in realizing success. However, the myth that every social media is valuable for the delivery business brand is not the case. Other myths include that everybody is on the social media and that the social media is an informal way of promoting a business (Quin). Also, other people imagine that only the celebrities attract millions of followers and that social media does not compliment the traditional marketing.
Impact of Social Media on Business
Social media helps in gaining valuable customer insights. Certainly, the social media platforms result in the generation of massive amounts of data in regard to customers in a given timed. Vukanovic notes that “Every day there are over 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram” (Vukanovic 14). The huge numbers provide a wealth of information concerning customer insights. A business is able to find out who the customers are, what they want and how they feel about a new brand. A business that engages in “social listening” on daily basis is able to gather relevant information that will enable it to succeed. Furthermore, social media increases the brand awareness and thus benefiting the business organization. With the use of the social media such as Facebook, it becomes much easier to introduce a news brand to customers who are connected through the social media. This increase brand loyalty and customer retention. In a study done by Knights, he indicates that “53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social are more loyal to those brands” (Knights 23).
The social media is also a place where a business can advertise its products at a less extra cost compared to other platforms of advertisements. The social media also provide powerful customer targeting options and enable the business to reach the required audience. For instance, if a business wants to run an advertisement using LinkedIn, it can segment the target by location, job title, company, age, gender and many other features. In using Facebook, one can be able to segment the interests, demographic, connection and behaviors. A business is able to track and measured the performance of the social media in the real time. Social media generates higher converting leads. It increases sales and customer retention through the regular interaction and timely customer service offered. Knights reports that the social media as “the most effective way to identify key decision makers and new business opportunities” (Knights 29). Approximately 75% of companies globally engaged in selling their product on the social media. Social media provides rich customer experiences. More than 67% of customers currently go to the social media in search of customer service. These customers do expect faster response rate and companies that engage in the social media in giving customer services to their customers realize huge annual financial gains of about 7.5%. Notably, one of the greatest benefits that have come with social media in a business is using it to increase the website traffic. Social media directs organization to a person's profile and come up with valuable disinformation that will guide them in employment opportunities. Besides, companies have greatly utilized social media in finding out what their competitors are currently doing. Due to social media monitoring, organizations have been able to gain vital information on competitors and come up with strategic business decisions that help in staying ahead of them.
Facebook as the Popular Social Media
Facebook continues to be the dominant social network having 1,860,000,000 users followed by YuoTube which has about 1,000,000,000 users. Facebook is a social media that is high used by the marketers globally. Vukanovic mentions that the popularity of Facebook has made its user become mobile-centric. Vukanovic indicates that “Facebook data from Q4 2015 showed that the platform had a total of 1.4 billion monthly active mobile users worldwide, representing a year-over-year increase of 21.3%” (Vukanovic 27). The number of Facebook mobile users grow considerably at higher rates than any other social media site. Notably, the Facebook’s “Free Basics” applications grant the users free accessibility to the website diving so the mobile users and thus its popularity. The future of social media will undergo a complete transformation. Expectations of people are constantly changing and this is going to redefine the future of the social media. The social media is likely to change from a form of social media networking to business platforms directed by the business world.
The advent of the social media has proved to be significant to the business sector in a variety of way. Despite the negatives attached to the use of social media, it has enabled many companies to make more profits and achieve their business strategies. There is a great history of the evolution of the social media and the current social media sites have improved interactions and maintained the long-distance relationships.
Alam Mayesha. Weighing the Limitations against the Added-Value of Social Media as a Tool for Political Change. New York City. The Center for Democracy and Civil Society. 2011
Knights, Mark. "The Implications Of Social Media". Cultural And Social History, vol 11, no. 3, 2014, pp. 329-333. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.2752/147800414x13983595303156.
Turkle Sherry. Connected, but Alone. TED. April 2012. Accessed 30, April 2017 from https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript?language=en
Smith Aoron. Civic Engagement in the Digital Age. New York City. PewResearch Center. 2013
Vukanovic, Zvezdan. "New Media Business Models In Social And Web Media". Journal Of Media Business Studies, vol 8, no. 3, 2011, pp. 51-67. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/16522354.2011.11073526.
Quin Rachel. 10 Social Media Myths. Audience. July 3, 2014. Accessed 30, April 2017 from https://audiense.com/10-social-media-myths-that-need-to-be-busted/
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