At the present, social media has become a very important element of business especially for the marketing purpose. Additionally, using the social media tools, techniques and channels (such as Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc.) companies catch more visitors and massive amount of network and operational traffic. In this way, without investing extra money companies are now able to get more clients, visitors and returning customers. In addition, the social media technology is the most excellent tool for the companies to promote their business, for example if a company is selling services, products or publishing ads, then social media is the most excellent method to make their website gainful in a minimum amount of time (Deepika, 2010). This paper will discuss some of the important aspects of social media and their influence on the current business industry. This paper will also outline some of the main advantages and disadvantages of the social media.
The role of social media in business
At the present, social media is playing a significant role in business sector. In the past it was frequently used for carrying out non-business activities. For instance, people used it to connect with their friends as well as for searching and making new friends. However, now it has become a basic need for most of the businesses since business people are making use of social media particularly Twitter and Facebook for performing market research, marketing their products and services and for supporting clients. To serve this purpose, a large number of social media related websites are available. All of them offer specific advantages and users need to follow their rules. In this regard, the graph given below demonstrates the rapid expansion for the job requirements in “social media”. Additionally, this expansion rate has reached up to 1,750 percent. However, the basic cause of this expansion is very simple, since all the corporations require people skilled in creating Social Media API, particularly experts in building Twitter applications and Facebook tools (QualityPoint Technologies, 2011) and (Deepika, 2010).
Additionally, the social networking websites (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace and Facebook) present choices for companies to build and maintain their business profiles and pages, through which they can promote their services and products. In addition, with the modern applications that enumerate likes and dislikes of users, Facebook now allows its users to join “groups” that facilitate companies in marketing their products or services. Thus, it has become a blessing for the businesses that these social networking websites have offered. Moreover, the latest movement of users, for instance joining business groups or adding support to business ads, will be listed on the users’ profile however it is acknowledged as “newsfeed”.
As well, this newsfeed presents recent news regarding the tasks performed by the users on their home page (Cortez, 2011). Furthermore, for the majority of businesses this social networking based system (or more simply e-collaboration) has turned into a base of electronic marketing. In this scenario, Facebook facilitates business managers to interact with the masses what they are going to do, what proceedings are happening, what attainments or recognitions have been established by other businesses. In addition, articles published in recent newspapers and other media related to business industry are copied and pasted onto the corporate profile or added to their position. For instance, Twitter allows clients and potential clients to analyze their activities inside record of their newspaper. Thus, instead of directly promoting these accomplishments by posting projects companies can create a “buzz” regarding their actions (Cortez, 2011).
Latest trends in Social Media and Business Intelligence
With the passage of time, a lot of new trends are emerging in the business intelligence marketplace. The most recent trends include unstructured data, the data warehouse applications, self-service and agile business intelligence, the list moves on. In simple words, the basic goal behind these developments is to make business intelligence more well-organized and additional interactive. In this scenario, social media can play a very important role in bringing these trends closer to this goal through superior level of collaboration and ease of use. Additionally, the role of collaboration is increasing in business intelligence. Whether businesses want to communicate more efficiently with clients or partners, and other departments inside the organization, social networking can improve the level of communication (Wise, 2011). In addition, with the growing use of social networking sites like that Twitter or LinkedIn, corporations are now searching for useful methods for conveying their messages inside their particular marketplaces. At the present, a lot of people make use of these platforms for personal communication, interaction with friends or colleagues and the purpose of communication with technology, thus implementing similar technologies and tools into business is the next stage of development. In this scenario, the existing business systems can be acknowledged as archaic. Seeing that, the business intelligence and corporate capability enhancement are not different from one another. So, the combination of interactive characteristics and easier-to-use environments can facilitate employees to complete their jobs without hurdles of technology barriers (Wise, 2011).
Advantages of Social Media in Business
In fact, social media is simply a web application for searching pictures of our friends and recalling past times. However, it has turned into a tool with quantifiable and expected power that is very useful for almost every kind of business. Additionally, the use of social media offers a lot of advantages to the businesses (Honigman, 2011). I have outlined below some of the main advantages of social media for business: • Branding
Branding is one of the most noticeable profits for majority of businesses with social media. No matter clients openly connect with our brand or not, they will still observe our brand name in the networks they utilize (Honigman, 2011), (Alsheimer, 2009), (Fraser & Dutta, 2010). • Reputation Management
Organizing online reputation is necessary for the company inside social media for the reason that their brand or business is being complained regardless of whether we are part of conversation or not. In addition, it provides the valuable knowledge to business customers that they will think about business goals, products, services etc, as well as company will respond accordingly (Honigman, 2011), (Alsheimer, 2009), (Fraser & Dutta, 2010). • Customer Service Support and Feedback
In order to survive and compete in this over-increasing competitive business world, it is very important for a business to offer support to their clients and social media and associated technology based platforms are no exception to the rule. Additionally, when a person visits a company, whether their tone is fine or bad it is very important for the company to react in a timely as well as cooperative manner. In this scenario, social media can offer the platform for consumers to work together on a person to person level, consequently they are not talking to nameless agents over the phone or by means of email (Honigman, 2011), (Alsheimer, 2009), (Fraser & Dutta, 2010). • Lead Generation
Social media can be a very helpful tool for discovering new customers and markets for a company, advocate for their motives or as a means to establish a lot of other helpful connections (Honigman, 2011), (Alsheimer, 2009), (Fraser & Dutta, 2010). • Educational Resource
In any industry it is significant for the business to remain inventive as well as discover most excellent methods to carry on the talks regarding what they do. In this scenario, social media offers us brand with a free source of stable information from other media outlets, brands, coworkers, friends and even our competitors (Honigman, 2011), (Alsheimer, 2009), (Fraser & Dutta, 2010).
Disadvantages of Social Media in Business
All the good things have their defects and the same applies to the social media. In fact, social networking is an innovative tool allowing thousands of people to work together as well as distance is no longer a problem. However, there are some disadvantages of social media, which are outlined below: (Social Media Boomer, 2010), (Pittsburgh SEO Lady, 2010), (Everyday-Wisdom, 2011), (ThoughtPick, 2010) and (The Brooger Blog, 2010) • The creation of ineffective online brand policy can lead the business to a viral social disadvantage • Marketing using social media tools takes more time than business’s expectation. • Businesses require communicating on point at every place; however can automate few SMM processes. • There is danger of security threats such as scams and harassment as well as a security failure can be harmful to both business and customer. • Social media can reduce the workers’ efficiency. In other words, employees can waste their important time in using social media channels like that Twitter and Facebook.