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.
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/