Everyday uses for social media

Marketing and publicity were the first things that sprung to mind when I thought about businesses using social media, but they are only a two of many functions a business may find themselves making use of on social media.

Facebook provides a free, easy-to-use source of communication (Messenger), which may be used within working environments. Up to 50 people can be a part of one group chat where messages are instant, and the user interface is simple and efficient. Facebook’s Messenger  can be accessed through its website and its phone application, making it easy to communicate either on the go or while using a browser on a laptop or computer. Approximately two weeks ago, Facebook made a statement claiming Messenger is only one percent complete. Facebook’s ambitions for Messenger are “so big that it doesn’t even think of Messenger as an app. Facebook thinks of Messenger as a platform on which entire businesses will be built.” (D’Onfro, 2015).

Skype was launched in 2003. Skype for Business is another convenient function which is very useful. Unlike Facebook, Skype for business is not free, but it costs as little as $1.50 per user each month.  Skype for Business can help members to contact up to 250 people, even if they’re not on Skype. All they need is a phone or internet connection. Skype can host video calls with multiple participants, which is extremely beneficial for conference meetings when people may be in different places of the world. How multi-nationals companies managed before the launch of Skype is a mystery.

LinkedIn is a social network, which is business orientated. It was launched in 2003 and it is mainly used for professional networking.  LinkedIn lets it’s users make a review for suppliers, accountants and any other type of business they may be dealing with. Other users can then view this review before making a connection with the business in question. (Flannagan, 2011) It serves very useful for B2B transactions.

LinkedIn is also an extremely useful tool for attracting top quality employees. Businesses can post job opportunities on their LinkedIn profile, while LinkedIn members can search for jobs and apply for them through the network. This can prove extremely useful for employers as they save a lot of time and money, as they are easily able to access applicants profiles. (Flannagan, 2011).

Business may use Twitter for notifying followers and other users of updates in products or services, news, customer queries and feedback. It allows for short posts (up to 140 characters), which can include pictures, videos, links and more. It is extremely useful for customer care as you are able to include people’s usernames when replying to a query that they may have. These posts are also available for everyone else to see, which is why it is extremely effective when a mishap occurs in a service/product being offered. For example, when Irish rail experience a problem in their service, they take to twitter to notify customers and answer any queries.

The social media sites and their functions discussed above, along with many others not included, have contributed a tremendous amount towards business efficiency, effectiveness and success, and I believe it will only continue to do so.

Bibliography

D’Onfro, J. (2015, 10 13). Facebook says its messaging app is 1% finished — and that should make Apple and Google nervous. Retrieved 10 25, 2015, from Business Insider: http://uk.businessinsider.com/facebook-messenger-ambitions-2015-10?r=US&IR=T

Flannagan, R. (2011). 3 Reasons your business will benefit from LinkedIn. Retrieved 10 27, 2015, from nuanced media: http://nuancedmedia.com/3-reasons-your-business-will-benefit-from-linkedin/

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How social media found it’s way into everyday business.

What is social media?
According to Kietzmann, et al, social media operates on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content. (Jan H. Kietzmann, 2011)

Social media has been around for as long as I can remember. Facebook was launched in 2004, over a decade ago, and I have been regularly active on it since 2009. The timeline of social media stretches all the way back to 1978. Ward Christensen and Randy Suess were responsible for the creation of the first computerised bulletin board system (CBBS) to make announcements and plan meet-ups with friends. (Glenn, 2012)

Today, social media is a powerful mechanism that has shaped the internet and changed the ways of over a billion people throughout the world. (Newton, 2015) The average American spends thirty seven minutes a day on social media sites. It is estimated that 52% of online adults spend at least two hours or more on social media sites. The number of social media users only continues to increase, and popular sites such as facebook are even beginning to attract many OAPs (Over 65s). (Preite, 2015) This gives business owners and entrepreneurs enormous potential to connect with their target market anytime, anywhere.

Google+ is at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to registered users, but in August, 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced that facebook had achieved over one billion active users in a twenty-four hour bracket (Newton, 2015), which adds to the fact that facebook still remains the most dominant. Other popular platforms include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. For small and medium sized businesses, the ability to maximize growth, stability, efficiency and effectiveness is higher now than it has ever been before, all due to the use of social media. (Preite, 2015)

When and how did social media become a part of business?

There are many ways in which businesses can integrate social media into their operations, marketing being the most common functionality. It has been over twenty years (1993) since the first online advert was sold (Bourne, 2013) , and similarly to other technological journeys, internet marketing has come a long way since, and the facts above show exactly why. Marketers collect data on their target market and advertise on social media accordingly.

Douglas Karr posted some staggering statistics in relation to social media for business. One of which stated that 46% of web users turn towards social media when making a purchase (Karr, 2014). Jeff Bullas also stated that 89% of 18-29 year olds are active on social media. Could this mean that over 41% of all 18-29 year olds may use social media to aid their decision making when making a purchase? – No wonder social media has become such a huge part of marketing.

Other functionalities that social media offers to business include customer care, communication, headhunting, online conference meetings, news & publication and for enhancing business-to-business (B2B) & business-to-customer (B2C) transactions, all of which will be discussed in detail in later blogs.

Bibliography
Bourne, J. (2013, 09 11). Online advertising: A history from 1993 to the present day. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from Marketing Tech: http://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2013/sep/11/online-advertising-history-1993-present-day-infographic/

Glenn, D. (2012). The History of Social Media from 1978 – 2012. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from adweek.com: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/the-history-of-social-media-from-1978-2012-infographic/90816

Jan H. Kietzmann, et al. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from http://busandadmin.uwinnipeg.ca/silvestrepdfs/PDF06.pdf

Karr, D. (2014). 2014 Statistics and Trends for Businesses on Social Media. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from Marketing Tech: https://www.marketingtechblog.com/2014-statistics-trends-businesses-social-media/

Newton, C. (2015). Facebook draws 1 billion users in a single day. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/27/9217607/facebook-one-billion-daily-active-users

Preite, G. (2015). Social Media is Causing a Home Business Revolution! Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from linkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-media-causing-home-business-revolution-greg-preite