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Social Media and Business

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Advertising over the last few decades has been changing rapidly.  Reaching consumers
has become a lot easier for companies because of the new technologies that are available today.  I am going to discuss what social media is, the types available, how social media has an advantage on businesses, and talk about some disadvantages using social media.  We touched a little bit on this topic in class, so that is why I want to dig deeper and expand my thoughts on social media in the business world.  First, I will talk about what social media is, and the types that are available.

Social media is one of those terms that has a very broad definition.  It includes quite a few different approaches to how people relate it to others and to a variety of media.  Although there’s really no concrete definition, social media has certain qualities that make it unique.  Social media uses many things such as video, audio, photo, text, and .PDF and allows interaction through social sharing or automated feeds.  Lastly, social media must work with any one device, such as a smart phone, iPad, iPod, laptop, or any other tablet, and communication must be able to take place in instant time.  Next, I will describe the two ideas behind social media and give examples of each.

One huge success of social media is from the ability for people to be able to
communicate with one another.  Since the start of the internet, communicating with different people has become a very popular thing.  The need to talk to someone is the main reason why social media is used, such as social networking, blogging, collaborations, and geosocial networking.  This is found in most social media sites.

Social networking concentrates on helping people find and connect with each other through messages, comments, pictures, etc.  Besides the obvious fascination of finding friends online, people also enjoy being able to write down their thoughts and post them in entries on social media sites for other users online to read and comment on them.  This is a way to keep people posted on what is going on in one’s life.  Geosocial networking sites allow people to interact based on their current location, such as choosing to eat at a restaurant because a friend “checked in” there.  Current locations are uploaded by the users themselves, and people can see that and comment on it, or click on it to see the location pop up on a map.

Here are some examples of these social media sites that focus on what I have talked about so far:
Facebook – Social Networking
Twitter – Blogging

Instagram – Social Networking

Snapchat – Social Networking
LinkedIn – Social Networking for business professionals
Google - Social Networking
MySpace – Social Networking, although not used much anymore, was popular back in the day.
Dropbox – Document collaboration
Foursquare – Geosocial networking

In addition to allowing people to communicate with one another, social media opens the door for users to actually see and hear what is going on in the world around them.  On these sites, you can show people what is going on in just a few pictures or a 30-second video that would take up too many words to blog.  Multimedia hosting sites make this possible.  These sites encourage people to upload pictures, audio, or videos of whatever they want, and then they are made available for other people online to see or watch.  This multimedia hosting feature is part of many social networking sites.  Also, multimedia hosting sites sometimes offer editing options that other social networking sites do not.

Here are some of the most popular multimedia hosting sites used today:
YouTube – Video hosting
Spotify – Music hosting
Flickr – Photo/video hosting
Photobucket – Photo/video hosting
Pandora Radio – Music hosting

As I have explained some of the examples of social media and what they offer, I can say that there are definite advantages for businesses using social media.  Social media sites offer many tools and applications that can greatly increase the growth of small businesses and non-profit organizations, and can be much more cost-effective.  These social sites can be used to network with organizations to help employees find jobs and give corporate advice among business professionals.

Social media websites can also provide companies with a new way of advertisement that has the potential to transform the way companies present their products and services to consumers.  Corporations can establish an image that can speak to people of all ages.  Social media websites provide a direct line to the customers that not only allow for companies to present their products, but also allow them to receive feedback from their customers.  This feedback can help alter the design of new products, update existing products, and improve the way that companies do business.

With all the information users put online, organizations can modify their marketing strategies and better direct advertisements for specific market groups.  Companies are now given another opportunity to stay in the minds of customers by just being available on a worldwide network.  Many businesses have noticed that they have spent less on advertising since they began using social sites.  

In a survey of 3,000 businesses, done by Social Media Examiner, ninety percent of them stated that social media sites were important to their business.  The biggest advantage of social media is the ability to get their organization out to a large audience.  Social sites connect organizations with millions of people from across the world at one location online.  This helps benefit the growth of an organization.  Other benefits include advertising, networking, and researching consumers.

Advertising is a necessity in every business out there.  The most popular and cost efficient form of advertisement is word-of-mouth.  In business, word-of-mouth is described as a person spreading their opinion about a company’s product or service to another person.  An example of this would be someone telling their friend or family member about a restaurant that has really good food, or someone telling a friend or family member a great place to order clothes online.  So naturally, the more satisfied customers a business has, the more positive advertisements it will have walking around.  Social sites can be a very powerful tool in marketing.  If an organization can provide a quality service or product to people, joining a social media site can increase the word-of-mouth to a large number of people.

Outsourcing is another task that is essential for a successful business, and can also be made easier with use of social media sites.  Sometimes, businesses on social media sites such as
Facebook, can look informal and not as a professional as one may need.  However, LinkedIn is a professional website that brings together businesses and organizations from around the world, online.  On LinkedIn, one has access to resources and information that can help with career searching tools such as portfolio and resume building, or advice on business growth from CEOs from different Fortune 500 companies.  Employees can work together on projects, share data, and gain new ideas from each other.  Currently, LinkedIn has over 150 million users and is the largest professional site in the world.  LinkedIn provides more than enough resources with all the available information from successful business professionals.



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