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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Social Networks In Business

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Question:

Discuss about the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Social Networks in Business.

 

Answer:

Introduction

Social networking has become a part of daily life. An individual’s day is not complete without commenting, liking, sharing or being inactive in any kind of social network site. It makes us feel that by social networking, the world is coming to know about us and so do we. Technically, social networking is a network application or website that provide a platform to interact with other users (Leonardi, Huysman, and Steinfield, 2013). It keeps us updated on all the happenings across the world and gives a feeling of staying connected with all. This concept has given a new dimension to the business interactions and communications. The innovativeness of getting connected to multiple users at a time, makes the social networking an effective tool for business communication and expansion (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). Many companies are adopting the social networking tool as an effective means of communication along with media by which they can promote their business and expand it too.  Currently, there are more than 3 billion people are active internet users, and out of which over 2 billion are having active social media accounts (Okazaki, and Taylor, 2013). This provides a real platform for the companies to promote their products and services that will be visible to a wider range of people. Monash University conducted a study to understand the connection between social media and business. The result concluded that the business firms of America have expanded by two to three times with the support of social media. Mostly, social media acts as one of the most efficient and effective marketing tool (Batjargal, Hitt, Tsui, Arregle, Webb, and Miller, 2013). Recent research indicated that about 82% of the world’s population have internet access and among them 76% people are active social networking users.

 

Scope & Objective

As described in the above section about the significance of use of social networking, the current discussion will highlight on some major advantages and disadvantages of using social networks in business (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). It is true that, irrespective of the demographics, region, social and cultural attributes, social networking is being popular, not only among the youths, but it is highly on demand among the entrepreneurs also (Collins, and Clark, 2003). One among every four business firms does have a social network existence.  According to the reviews and feedbacks of many such firms, it was found that they feel social networks help them in reaching out to a larger audience and help them in business growth and development (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). This discussion will take support from some of the well-valued literature references and online articles to find out some of the added advantages and disadvantages of the social media in the business sector. The main objective of this is to generate awareness and consciousness among the general public about the pros and cons of using such platform (Leonardi, Huysman, and Steinfield, 2013). To add-on, it will also guide the new or emerging entrepreneurs to know how to use this platform in a better and efficient manner. This work will provide scope for future discussion and will also enable area for further improvement.

 

Gaps Identified

Social media is indeed a great platform for getting connected with many people at a time. People use it to exchange ideas, views, and thoughts. However, in the business point of view, social networking enables their business to expand as well as shape-up (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). The feedbacks, inputs, and suggestions of the customers help them to fill the gaps and do the modifications to the existing processes, products and services. Indeed, social networking had boost-up the business of any firm, yet there are some gaps that need to be identified and actions should be taken to overcome them effectively (Okazaki, and Taylor, 2013). Some of them are listed below,

Identifying and seeing the right Social Media Platform is a big challenge for the companies present online. Some of the commonly used social networking platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. A fan page is being created by the company or the service provider on these social networking sites where they can provide all the information on their products and services (Collins, and Clark, 2003). People navigate through these descriptions to know and understand the company and the associated products. However, at times these descriptions might be misleading or wrongly interpreted (Batjargal, Hitt, Tsui, Arregle, Webb, and Miller, 2013). Also, these sites are character specific wherein of certain characters the company has to pay, and beyond that, it does not allow to put further information. This might also lead to insufficient description or information provided. This limits the scope of understanding of the people who view the description.

Another biggest challenge in dealing with business in social networking is the influence of people’s comments and feedbacks. Although they help in making the existing process or product better, yet negative feedbacks might influence the brand value of the company.  Lack of control over the feedback damages the influence of the company (Leonardi, Huysman, and Steinfield, 2013). Unhappy customers show their frustration through non-constructive feedbacks, posts, pictures or offensive videos and pictures on the open forum, which directly impacts the reputation of the organization. 

 

Literature Review

Literature review helps in collecting information about a particular content and analyzing them. It also helps in setting up the base for further research and analysis (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). Below are some powerful literatures that have helped in incorporating value to this discussion. 

Collins and Clark had done a great research on the strategic human resource practices and the influence of social networking (Collins, and Clark, 2003, pp.740-751). Human resource management helps in managing the resources of business. The authors added that social networking had helped them in building networks that last long and have effectiveness. Both internal and external relationships could be established, maintained and flourish by means of social networking. People feel more comfortable in this platform compared to the official network (Batjargal, Hitt, Tsui, Arregle, Webb, and Miller, 2013). However, compliance and data privacy I also important.

Picazo-Vela and team have taken a better initiative to hug deep into Understanding the risks, strategic alternatives, and benefits of social media applications in the public sector (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012, pp.504-511). According to the author, social networking has transformed the way of traditional business. Not only at the private sector, both government and public sectors has undergone this transformation and has informed of getting benefited out of it (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). A good strategy and implementation plan would help successful application of the operational objectives. The creation of the collaborative environment, where the companies need to work on the user-friendly environment, social media is able to provide the tools to let it happen. With this, there is a possibility to work on the connection with the people and looking for the jobs through the use of social media platform. The social media is also important for the handling of the tasks when one opts for the macro trends or to make high level connections.

Comparative Analysis

Comparative analysis will include some of the major advantages and disadvantages of using social networks in business sectors (Leonardi, Huysman, and Steinfield, 2013). All the data included are based on the information gathered from various sources and literature reviews.

 

Advantages

  1. Helps in increasing awareness of brand and loyalty – People are getting more connected through digital marketing concept. Easy navigation and identification of the data and information about the company and the brand could be done through these platforms (Collins, and Clark, 2003). Virtual connection adds value to the sales by making it less costly and effortless.
  2. Helps in business expansion and increase in sales - Many companies are adopting the social networking tool as an effective means of communication along with media by which they can promote their business and expand it too (Okazaki, and Taylor, 2013). Currently, there are more than 3 billion people are active internet users, and out of which over 2 billion are having active social media accounts (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). This provides a real platform for the companies to promote their products and services that will be visible to a wider range of people.
  3. Helps in keeping the content Geo-target – Sharing content with a specific audience and among interested group helps in reducing the lag time in reaching the right kind of people (Batjargal, Hitt, Tsui, Arregle, Webb, and Miller, 2013)
  4. Building relationships - Social networking has helped firms in building networks that last long and have effectiveness. Both internal and external relationships could be established, maintained and flourish by means of social networking (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). People feel more comfortable in this platform compared to the official network. However, compliance and data privacy is also important

Disadvantages

  1. Requires a lot of time investment –Huge time investment is required in making and maintaining the online strategies (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012).
  2. Proper selection of the appropriate network - Most of the companies struggles to choose the right social network that would add value to their promotions (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). Such confusions will delay the business decision-making process.
  3. The risk of negative feedback – Negative feedbacks will surely affect the brand value and reputation of the company (Okazaki, and Taylor, 2013). At times these opinions ate individual biased and may or may not have any justified reasons behind.

People navigate through these descriptions to know and understand the company and the associated products. However, at times these descriptions might be misleading or wrongly interpreted (Batjargal, Hitt, Tsui, Arregle, Webb, and Miller, 2013). Also, these sites are character specific wherein of certain characters the company has to pay and beyond that, it does not allow to put further information. This might also lead to insufficient description or information provided. This limits the scope of understanding of the people who view the description.

Conclusion

Social networking enables their business to expand as well as shape-up. The feedbacks, inputs, and suggestions of the customers help them to fill the gaps and do the modifications to the existing processes, products and services (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012).  Indeed, social networking had boost-up the business of any firm, yet there are some gaps that need to be identified, and actions should be taken to overcome them effectively (Batjargal, Hitt, Tsui, Arregle, Webb, and Miller, 2013). One among every four business firms does have a social network existence.  According to the reviews and feedbacks of many such firms, it was found that they feel social networks help them in reaching out to a larger audience and help them in business growth and development. Technically, social networking is a network application or website that provide a platform to interact with other users. It keeps us updated on all the happenings across the world and gives a feeling of staying connected with all. This concept has given a new dimension to the business interactions and communications (Collins, and Clark, 2003). The innovativeness of getting connected to multiple users at a time, makes the social networking an effective tool for business communication and expansion (Picazo-Vela, Gutiérrez-Martínez, and Luna-Reyes, 2012). This discussion has taken support from some of the well-valued literature references and online articles to find out some of the added advantages and disadvantages of the social media in the business sector (Leonardi, Huysman, and Steinfield, 2013). The main objective of generating awareness and consciousness among the general public about the pros and cons of using such platform was also done effectively. To add-on, it has also provided guidelines for the new or emerging entrepreneurs to know how to use this platform in a better and efficient manner. 

 

Referencing

Batjargal, B., Hitt, M.A., Tsui, A.S., Arregle, J.L., Webb, J.W. and Miller, T.L., 2013. Institutional polycentrism, entrepreneurs' social networks, and new venture growth. Academy of Management Journal, 56(4), pp.1024-1049.

Collins, C.J. and Clark, K.D., 2003. Strategic human resource practices, top management team social networks, and firm performance: The role of human resource practices in creating organizational competitive advantage. Academy of management Journal, 46(6), pp.740-751.

Leonardi, P.M., Huysman, M. and Steinfield, C., 2013. Enterprise social media: Definition, history, and prospects for the study of social technologies in organizations. Journal of Computer?Mediated Communication, 19(1), pp.1-19.

Okazaki, S. and Taylor, C.R., 2013. Social media and international advertising: theoretical challenges and future directions. International marketing review, 30(1), pp.56-71.

Picazo-Vela, S., Gutiérrez-Martínez, I. and Luna-Reyes, L.F., 2012. Understanding risks, benefits, and strategic alternatives of social media applications in the public sector. Government information quarterly, 29(4), pp.504-511. 

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