Social network is a set of social structure used by different individuals or organizations for interaction purposes. The parties use this structure to share their ideas, interests and opinions among other things. To be specific, the social networking system is mostly used people or groups or organizations with similar cultural interests, career interests, political views, business opinions, lifestyle preferences to name a few things (Dutta et al, 2013). The social media creates a better and effective platform for them to air and share their ideas on those things (Grabher et al, 2017). Just as mentioned earlier, also business have currently started using the social media as well to perform some of their business operations. Nowadays, most business have been using the social networking system to advertise the business as well as its products and conduct promotions for the products or services. However, there are other benefits that accrue to a business when it uses social networking system to perform its operations. In relation to that, the social media has become a very common and popular version for businesses to carry out their business operations (Pinho et al, 2016). It has proved to be very effective and efficient for a business that desires to achieve its goals and objectives and therefore be successful.
The social networking system is a worldwide structure that promotes and enable interaction between people in different parts of the planet. There are a large number of social media platforms that have currently become popular, common and very famous for both businesses and individuals who would like to interact with each other. Some of them are: Facebook, Instagram, Vibe, Twitter, What Sapp, Pinterest, Snapchat, You Tube, LinkedIn to name just but a few. These being the most commonly used platforms, they can be used for both formal and friendly operations which makes them very important and effective for business operations. With this in mind, industries and specific businesses have become part of a growing and information and technology advancements that has enabled social networking to be easier and effective. However, for that to be possible, the social media network requires certain features like, the internet, the computer software, technical support e.g. the skill and knowledge, energy i.e. electricity, social media account which include personal or business profile among other things.
In this business research, I am going to use the Coca Cola Company as the business to refer to. It is an international company whose operations are almost all parts of the world. This makes it the best example to use for the research keeping in mind that social network involves interaction around the world. In addition to that, my discussion will be based on the advantages and disadvantages of using social network in businesses.
A social media platform where businesses can share short text updates i.e. around 140 characters only, videos, images, links, polls to name a few. This means that it is not only an advertising and marketing platform, but it is also a very effective platform to handle and deal with customer comments and feedbacks. Businesses use twitter to attract new customers but most importantly to keep in touch and maintain its current customers.
This is most common, popular and famous social media platform. It has the most number of users in world compared to other platforms. It is a platform that a new business can use to advertise itself regardless of the industry type. Facebook allows posting of videos, photos, links and other important updates about the business or product itself. Most business have a Facebook account which plays a very important role in advertising and marketing the business’s products or service. For instance, Coca Cola Company often posts videos of their products in their Facebook account with an aim of marketing them.
This is social media network that allows the posting of videos and audio messages only. The users have the opportunity to view, share and comment and rate the information content which helps businesses and individual in their analysis and evaluations. When it comes to businesses using you tube for their advantage, mostly they partner with the famous and popular you tubers to help them create product position and advertise the product to their audiences. This simply because you tubers have more audiences and are more trusted by their audiences than the business itself. Therefore, the benefit that will accrue from this network is that businesses will be able to attract more customers and maintain most of its current customers as well as create its product and business position in the market.
This is a platform that most businesses use for job advertisement and employee hiring. It one of the most official platforms that is used by potential employees and companies that need new employees. The businesses also use these platforms to update its audience about service qualifications and service offering. This means that it deals just with service offering. New businesses can use Linked In to advertise itself and career positions while the old companies can use it to keep in touch with possible employees. E.g., the Coca Cola Company certainly uses this platform to advertise about its agents and career building issues to its customers, potential employees and current employees.
Is a platform where businesses display their product trends, service updates and other business operations that may be needed by customers, investors, financial analysts and auditors as well as potential employees. However, this platform is mostly used by very large, international and famous companies. Small and upcoming businesses may not be able to use this platform because it is challenging and tiresome to some point. The Coca Cola Company uses this platform to display any information that they would to be known by the public but most importantly by its customers.
The other social media networks include the following: Google, whatsApp, viber, Tumblr, Reddit, snapchat, we chat, pinterest, Vine among others. These are used by businesses but not frequently. They are used by certain companies whose information may relate to what each of them offers and what benefit and audience the business intends to reach. However, they are not also commonly used or known by many people. Therefore, this makes them effective but not very important and efficient for most businesses.
For advertising and marketing purposes
Businesses are using the social media networks to carry out their advertising and marketing operations through posting of images, videos, links and any other information related to the product or service. This is simply because the social media networks are always accesses by a very large number of users who may probably be the business customers or product users. The idea with this is to attract more customers and be able to update its current customers. For instance through the use of Facebook, instagram and you tube Coca Cola company has been able to keep its customers up to date on its products development and changes.
Gain valuable customer insights and feedback
This is mostly for the businesses that use online selling and customers that use online purchasing. Through online advertising and selling, a business will be able to get an idea of whom its customers are. What they like and how they feel about the product or service. However, this will only be possible if the customers are frequently using online buying and leaving comments about the product or service after they use it (Wu et al, 2012). This means that the business will be able to get clear customer experience and opinion about the product. This is information that helps many business grow and develop their products and services accordingly to be able to satisfy and suit customers’ needs.
The social media involves technological growth and advancement. Therefore, when business indulge in social media usage, it means better technological usage and therefore better research operations. In addition to that, through the social media networks businesses are able to learn about the developments of their competitors and what they can do better to create a competitive advantage over them (Anand et al, 2014). Through such research, every business will be able to improve its product and service features for it to be seen as modern and highly technologically advanced as well as create a strong and effective competitive advantage over its competitors.
Through the social media, businesses are able to keep in touch with their customers, potential employees, business analysts, financiers, investors, resource suppliers, current employees and also other businesses (Fan et al, 2014). These are the people who help business perform its operations in various ways. Therefore, keeping in touch with each of them can really play an important role in business success and objective achievement. For instance, the people involved with Coca Cola Company e.g. some of those mentioned earlier, certainly have an account in the company to ensure that they are in touch with the company at any time they are needed.
Other advantages are: build relationships with other businesses and individuals, to create brand awareness and loyalty, make information sharing fast and easy to name a few.
The social network may seem like it is cost free but it needs a lot of time and effort commitment. This is in relation to the business profile creating. The business need to come up with the best ideas on what it wants displayed on the system and that which will attract and help it maintain its current customers. Therefore, it needs professionals and experienced profile makers to do that for it who are often expensive for their services. This involves cost and a lot of time wastage even if it is indirectly.
Lack of feedback control
This is in relation to bad business publicity or the negative customer comments that cause business embarrassments. Apparently, when customers do not like the product or do not receive expected satisfaction form a product they are likely going to comment negatively on the product or service. Same case applies when they find faults with the information displayed in the public about a product and what the product really is. A business faces a lot of challenges when such a situation occurs which may entice the potential customers and current customers question the credibility of the product and the whole business. This may lead to customer loss to a competitors which is a great disadvantage for the business itself.
Lack of privacy
Some businesses may end up displaying a lot of information for the public to see which may cost them a lot in the end of it all. The information on revenue earning, expenses, challenges and problems facing the business can be used by competitors to develop themselves and therefore gain a competitive advantage over the business in question (Pinho et al, 2016). This become a disadvantage or the business because its information will be the one being used for its own downfall.
Social network is a very useful structure for business and individuals to interact, grow and develop themselves through sharing of ideas and opinions. However, it is a very important platform for upcoming and growing businesses to learn from the large and already successful companies. It is clear that business are likely to benefit more than lose when they participate in social networking. The likely wood of fastening and increasing their growth are very high which very vital for every business.
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Hoy, C., Bosserman, S. and MacDonald, R., 2016. Social networks, ecological frameworks, and local economies. Local Food Systems in Old Industrial Regions: Concepts, Spatial Context, and Local Practices, p.29.
Anand, N. and Mahajan, R., 2014. A statistical analysis of social media as a new investigative tool in marketing. International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, 2 (4), pp.83-86.
Wang, F., Mack, E.A. and Maciewjewski, R., 2017. Analyzing Entrepreneurial Social Networks with Big Data. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 107(1), pp.130-150.
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