Write about the Impact of Social Media on Business Communication.
Thesis statement: Business communication has evolved and has become indispensible part of the business organisations like Unilever
Communication has evolved and has become an indispensible part of the business organisations of today because it connects them to their stakeholders. Business communication has come a long way to reach the level of technology and accuracy it boasts of today. It educates external stakeholders like shareholders and customers about the strategies and policies of the companies. A smooth corporate communication keeps the employees informed about the expectations from them. Today social media has taken business communication to the next level where organisations communicate and connect to the stakeholders over the social sites like Twitter and Facebook. The multinational companies like Unilever use the social media as a part of their promotional strategies to promote their new products. The involvement of social media presents the organisations with an ocean of opportunities. However, the exposure on the social media also presents certain challenges before them.
Business communication has come a long way today to reach the speed and accuracy it has achieved today. The advancement of science and technology has helped business communication to be faster which has helped business organisations to align communication with their business objectives. The introduction of mobile phones allowed the organisations and their staffs to communicate with each other even when physical away. The DVD and CDs helped the employees to carry and save data for use anytime and anywhere. This allowed to make trainings and announcements easier and accessible by a large number of employees simultaneously. The evolution of camera as a tool of business communication helped them to be installed on laptops and computers which allow the officials to hold meetings even when they are away physically. This has helped the executives working in the multinational corporations like Unilever to hold meeting and discuss matters with other especially to deal with tough situations. The future of business communication is extremely bright with science and technology improving by leaps and bounds. High definition closed circuit televisions, webcams and other modern discoveries and innovation are helping the various segments of the companies to communicate with each other on real time basis. For example, a strong communication channel enables Unilever to communicate and control its globally established supply chain. The strong communication between the British Dutch company and the suppliers can be attributed for uninterrupted supply of raw materials and consequent production (Kembro and Näslund 2014). Business communication with the stakeholders like customers, shareholders and suppliers have become so crucial that today all the multinational companies have official website pages to communicate their policies, strategies and even financial results. The most recent develop in corporate communication is that these companies even communicate with the stakeholders over Facebook, Twitter and other social networking internet sites. They even use the video sites like Youtube so that interested stakeholders like consumers can view their advertisements and product videos at any given point of time. Unilever even communicates its policies and strategies through newspapers both physical and digital (unilever.com 2017).
The companies including the multinational companies are facing some serious challenges with business communication. Business communication has become extremely important today and requires continuously investment in technology. Formal communication channels keep the departments like production, accounting and marketing connected to each other. This ensures smooth flow of operations and production in the companies which goes into satisfying the customers. The continuous production of products allows the companies to cater to the market and earn huge profits. This helps them to lower their cost of production and gain economies of scale. The multinational companies like Unilever have vast financial resources to fuel their investment in upgrading their communication channels using latest technology. However, the small companies with limited resources find it tough to upgrade their communication channels (Zhang and Chun 2016). For example, Unilever declared increase in dividend which means that the company needs to communicate the information to its shareholders (MorningstarUK 2017). The British-Dutch company attracts investment from all over the globe which means that it has to spend a huge amount of money to communicate the information worldwide. It may seem a big challenge for Unilever but it definitely a big challenge for smaller companies.
Business communication requires continuous investment by the companies in order to update and upgrade them. The companies cannot demean the importance of corporate communication to gain competitive advantage in the market. Today companies encourage transformational leadership and encourage their employees to participate in decision making. This requires the superiors to pass down larger bodies to information to the subordinates. This exposure and sharing of information often exposes the companies to theft of critical information by employees. The companies toady need to upgrade their communication platforms and system to check theft of business information and ensure legitimate sharing (Millerjord and Sundström 2015).
The multinational companies have strong communication network that has extended to Twitter and facebook. This has made communication with shareholders and customers easier for the companies. This has revolutionised business communication but has exposed the multinationals before greater threats. The multinational companies today share a great deal of information over the digital platform. This leads to undeserved elements and groups getting to know about their strategies and policies. The multinational organisations like Unilever communicate their financial results to the stakeholders through their websites and various other means. The terrorism groups come to know about the financial strengths of the companies and extort them which erode their capital (Mark and Nwaiwu 2015). For example, Unilever had to withdraw products after it received threat calls from unidentified groups. The calls were supposedly made in order to sabotage the company and make it withdraw its products (FoodQualityNews.com 2017).
Business communication has changed and revolutionised the way business is conducted in today’s world. It has become so important to the companies that some big companies have assigned departments dedicated to it. Business communication has become an integral part of business strategies. Today organisations communicate their policies to the external and internal which gives them clear idea about them (Turkulainen, Aaltonen and Lohikoski 2015). The world market is dominated by the multinational companies which have operations in several markets other than their home countries. Unilever has its headquarters in London, the United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands. The company is present in several nations in Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, America and Africa. These markets also have the presence of other multinational companies like Procter & Gamble which compete with Unilever. This requires the company to integrate all the locations through a strong communication channel that spans the whole world (Malouf, Selakovi? and Ljepava 2016). The strong communication channels allow the officials positioned in different geographical locations to interact with each other on real time basis and make strategies to take advantage of market situations. Thus, today advancements in business communication have made business transactions faster and accurate (Cornelissen 2014).
Business communication is not limited among the officials and goes beyond that. Promotion is a form of business communication which the companies use to spread awareness about its products in the market to create demand. The increasing intensity of competition in the international market space has led the companies use communication as a strategic tool. Social media has become the new space for advertisement and companies use it aggressively to promote their products. Social media has emerged as a way of creating demand and selling products in an aggressive manner. Unilever has over a lakh followers on Twitter where the company interacts with its customers and promotes its new products (Twitter.com 2017).
Corporate social responsibility has evolved into a very crucial area for companies for creating image in the society and conduct business. Social media sites Facebook and Twitter have evolved as new platforms where companies advertise their CSRs to create strong corporate image in the society and conduct business. They often appeal to their consumers to be responsible and knowledgeable while using products and websites (Business Insider 2017).
Social media as pointed out has no doubt opened a new avenue for business communication and conduct. The companies, especially multinational ones have active presence on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. These three websites are actually owned by the respective companies, for example, Facebook is an American company which provides social media and networking services. The multinational companies like Unilever use the platform provide by Facebook and Twitter to promote their products in return of a huge sum of money (Tsimonis and Dimitriadis 2014). The promotions create demand which in turn results in sale and consequent flow of huge cash. It can be stated that the new business communication methods like social media website are actually a part of the business strategies. It helps to initiate flow of huge amount of money in the market and holds a powerful position (Coleman and Friedler 2014).
One of the most significant developments in business conduct methods of the multinational companies is that they employ resources of the host countries. These companies own powerful subsidiaries which have their own markets to conduct business. Hindustan Unilever is among the biggest subsidiaries of Unilever and owns brands like Lakme and Ponds. It is itself a public limited company and can raise funds by issuing shares in the market. It communicates the vacancies on its official and social media websites to acquire talents from its host markets (hul.co.in 2017). The company communicates its employee expectations through its websites and other platforms like Twitter. Thus, advanced business communication helps the multinational companies help to acquire and manage talents to gain competitive advantage.
Today multinational companies are continuously under the impact of global markets. The companies like Unilever are continuously under the pressure to perform and maintain sustainable modus operandi. These challenges necessitate it to manage its suppliers to ensure its acquisition of raw materials is environment friendly. Unilever needs to communicate its sustainable codes to its suppliers spread throughout the world (Richardson 2015). Unilever is a multinational company which has a long product line consisting of brands worth billions of dollars. The company uses its business communication to inform stakeholders about its acquisitions which reflect its financial power. This helps the company to attract investors and business partners which contribute to its business growth. Unilever owns thirteen brands including Dove soap, Sunsilk shampoo and Lipton tea which generate revenue of more of a billion Euros. The company communicates its market capitalisation of more than $231 billion which reflects its high market position (Ft.com 2017). The strong communication channel has helped the company to create a strong image of itself among its stakeholders regarding its products, financial power and social responsibility.
Business communication has evolved and expanded its area of importance like never before in the present era. It is no more restricted to exchange of information between the companies and their stakeholders. Business communication has emerged as a critical part of the business strategies of the companies and key to their competitive position. It regulates and supports operations within the departments and even the customers. Social media internet sites like Facebook have given business communication a new dimension. Business communication through social media has emerged into a platform to give end to aggressive promotions of products. Social media sites are owned by companies which get payment from multinational companies who use their platform for marketing. Business communication in form of promotion creates demand and helps transnational companies to sell their products all over the world. Thus, business communication forms contribute towards flow of capital in the market. Business communication however has its own shortfalls like data theft and attracting extortion attempts from terrorist groups.
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