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Impact of Social Media on Business Communication

Discuss about the Impact Of Social Media On Contemporary Business Communication.

Undoubtedly, the business world has transformed itself by utilizing modern technologies of communication. As it is crucial to stay with consumers all the time, the organizations are using new and innovative methods to connect with them thorough social media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Watsapp etc. There are different ways to stay connected with consumers through social media and communicate the information about the products and services delivered to them. Their aim is to engage with customers rather than selling products and services to them. They inform their customers about their charitable institutions or connections with some social issue such as saving the environment etc. Their focus is on building the trust with whom they are likely to transact (Sam and Cai , 2015).

One such organization is Starbucks. It is the provider of coffee and has establishes a coffee chain internationally. It was founded in Seattle, Washington in the year 1971. It operates in around 24000 locations in 70 countries all over the world. It has developed and made itself popular by using social media. It has become the most engaging company online. In the recent times, its image and messages have retained its brand values which are sincerity, honesty and staying connected with its consumers (Starbucks, 2018).  

However, it was not the same twenty years before. Earlier, business communication aimed at source to consumer model. In the 90s, internet was not thought of as a business tool. Most of the business communications of Starbucks were generated through content providers, TV network, magazines and radio advertisements. There were press sources and phone callers at the company to deliver communication to the customers. There were fewer options to get the feedbacks and to know the likings of the consumers (Lipschultz, 2017).

So, the world of business has undergone major facelift in the past 20 years. Twenty years back, the usage of internet was still in its early stages.  Organizations such as Amazon, Google and Facebook   were in their initial stages and becoming central hubs of modern commerce in the digital sphere. The consumers were getting adapted to online advertisement modes. Search engine optimization, social networking and bookmarking and other modes of digital traffic generation were in budding stages at that time (Whiting and Deshpande, 2014).

Additionally, people did not utilize the digital modes of mobile payments and touch screen products. The payment systems were in its budding stage and it was not as widespread as it is today. Furthermore, in 1995, portable mobile phones began to reach a manageable volume. Common man was starting to catch on the cellular evolution.

Starbucks - A Case Study

So, in the context of Starbucks, social media has greatly affected its business. The Facebook page of Starbucks was created in 2008 with a total fan count numbering to 2, 00,000. During the past three years, the number has increased to 2, 76, 00,000. The popularity of the brand can be evaluated from its following on the social media in this present era. It has been declared on the second position amongst all the consumer brands (Clark, 2014).

Starbucks has made itself popular by adopting the strategy which shows how its consumers are benefitted more than itself. Besides this, it has not displayed its products for sale on the social media rather it has provided loads of useful information for the viewers . As a result, the majority of the posts are from its fans who have tasted its coffee and posted positive reviews about  its products which will on turn  enhance the goodwill of the company and hence its customers .

Additionally, Starbucks has also created its page on Twitter. Although its page is not as huge as the Facebook page but still it has around 2 Million followings on it. The strategy of the company is to access every single customer at the personal level so that they feel important. It is a unique strategy adopted by Starbucks to attract more consumers using the social media. By maintaining this standard, it is able to create more consumers and goodwill for itself   using social media (Lyon and Montgomery, 2012).

So, Starbucks provides value to its consumers rather than just pushing content upon them forcefully which is of no use  on the web.  Social media can be best utilized for increasing the business and to enhance goodwill by the company if utilized prudently.

The transformations in the business communication have changed the way how commercial activities are being done today.  Using social media such as Facebook, twitter and YouTube are much more effective as compared to the traditional methods of promotion such as   group emails. Starbucks has used it in an efficient way because it has large number of employees throughout the world and it would increase the interactions amongst them and the customers as well (Thill, and Bovee, 2016).

With the help of social media, the company is able to create particular groups which encourage the customers with like interests to connect with each other. It would further be advantageous to the company as well. Additionally, Starbucks has been using the social media since a very long time to broadcast itself because having a personal network on the web is much better than spending resources on the traditional methods of promotion. As compared to the present scenario, the consumers used to take a lot of time in responding and sharing their views in the past times. Now, it takes only few seconds to know about their opinions with the help of social media (Basri, 2016).

Transformations in Business Communication

This information assists the company to process it and to be in touch with the customers instantly. With the help of social media, Starbucks can address the grievances or acknowledge the positive reviews of its customers more effectively and quickly which was not possible before. In case of any issues, the company is able to deal with the situation and make it known to its consumers that it is dealing with the problem. It can also seek their opinion in improving the situation which could help in building trust and reaching people with same interests.

In this era, social media is able to give Starbucks a more human appearance in front of its consumers which was not possible before. The employees of the company post their opinions on the queries raised by its consumers which make them appear more passionate and likeable towards their sentiments (Lewis, Thomas and James, 2015).  

Since business never comes to a halt on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Starbucks has used them to promote itself. The employees of the company can   redress the grievances and access the sites as per their convenience and from anywhere in the world. This helps in getting instant responses to the consumers whenever they are able to receive them.

So, with the rising popularity of computer technology and hence social media, more companies are switching over to social media to get their business promoted rather than using the traditional methods such as phones and emails which were used twenty years before. With the help of internet, companies have realized an increase in their profits due to the increasing number of online commercial activities. Due to the creation of website and pages of the company on the social media, there has been a major difference   in the thinking of the modern business owners about the promotion techniques to  retain the consumers (Oyza and Edwin,2015).

The changes in the technology have influenced the business communication in an astonishing way. The mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones along with technologies such as cloud computing systems have revolutionized the methods of working. Storing the data on cloud computing has made it easily accessible from any part of the world. E-mail communication has substituted the written memos, faxes and phone calls (Allmer, 2015).

With the help of technology, virtual organizations have become a reality. Video conferencing and all the instant messaging tools have made the business communication easier. The internet has assisted the business to make the geographically diverse teams to work   in a unified manner. 

Opportunities and Threats Created by Transformations in Business Communication

However, there are some fundamental opportunities and threats which have been created for modern business by the transformations in the business communication. Some of the opportunities are with the help of cloud computing systems; Starbucks is able to have a competitive edge over its rival companies. It helps the company in reducing its operating costs, an increase in the flexibility and approachability to the consumers. So, with the help of cloud computing, the business can transform itself considerably (Licciardi, 2013).

Moreover, with the help of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, the company can connect to various business networks to generate new streams of revenue. Through Twitter and Instagram, Starbucks can stay on the mind of the consumers consistently and can help them to solve the problems related to the business communication within the organization.

The social media is an outstanding   and fast mode for consumer services. Rather than following a tedious procedure of sending emails and waiting for the reply, the consumers can easily send their chat messages on Facebook pages or Twitter handles and share their grievances with the company. The companies such as Nike, JetBlue, Xbox and Zappos have opened the customer care accounts specifically to handle the grievances of the consumers. Thus social media allows Starbucks to connect to its consumers in a fast and efficient way (Grizane and Jurgelane, 2017).

Through paid or organic promotions, Starbucks is able to make its presence on social media. It can share the links and generate traffic on its website, Facebook page and Twitter handle. The traffic on social media is a major component of the total traffic on the website of the business.

With the help of social intranet software, Starbucks is able to build an efficient internal tool for communication within the company.  Additionally, with the help of online spaces, the companies are able to assimilate a social constituent to inculcate creativity and communication amongst the employees. Lastly, with the help of chat services, video conferencing, feedback and commenting systems, the company is able to connect with its employees and customers (Ahmed et al., 2016).  

However, there are few challenges which attribute to the companies who use modern technologies in their business communications.  It creates an impersonal perception in the minds of the consumers. The consumers who are consistently exposed to modern communication techniques by the company usually carry this kind of ideology in their minds. So, those customers who are unable to access Starbucks might be frustrated by the electronic communication methodologies. It can also create confusion amongst the employees who seek for personal feedbacks from the company (Bank and Bank, 2015).

Another challenge is technology can create various security issues for Starbucks. The website communication such as emails and text messages are often too exposed to hacking and data theft. These issues can create serious legal violation by the company if the personal information of the consumers is misused. Thus, company must create internal safeguarding systems to protect the leakage and illegal misuse of data.

Additionally, companies have to purchase additional equipment to enforce business communication technology into its commercial activities.  It has to incur additional costs to purchase equipment such as personal computers, modems and servers. The company has to employ appropriate training staff   for the maintenance and repairing of the equipment which requires a huge outflow of funds and resources (Honald and Matthews, 2015).

So, to conclude, it can be said that in spite of the challenges faced by the companies by using social media in the business communication, it is essential to employ the modern means of communication in the marketing strategies by the organizations.  By minimizing the ill effects and use of these techniques prudently, the companies can successfully maintain   relationships with their consumers and employees. Thus technology creates an environment where data, voice networks and internet protocols can be integrated to access and respond to the grievances of the customers. With a well-executed plan, Starbucks can gain a competitive advantage in the market resulting into the growth of the customer.


Ahmed, A.M., Abed, H.N., Hassoon, N.H. and Ahmed, A.L.(2016) The Impact of Digital Communication on Social Networks: A Review. International Journal of Computer Science and Mobile Computing. 5(1), pp. 183-190.

Allmer, T.(2015) Critical Theory and Social Media: Between Emancipation and Commodification. Routledge.

Bank, C.M.V.D. and Bank, M.V.D.(2015) The impact of social media: advantages or disadvantages. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. 4 (2).

Basri, W. (2016) Social Media Impact on Small and Medium Enterprise: Case Review of Businesses in the Arab World. Arts and Social Sciences Journal. 7(6), pp. 1-5.

Clark, T. (2014) Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture . Back Bay Books.

Grizane, T. and Jurgelane, I.(2017) Social Media Impact on Business Evaluation. Procedia Computer Science .104 ( 2017 ) ,pp.190 – 196.

Honald, M. and Matthews, K.(2015) Strategic Social Media. Routledge.

Lewis, A., Thomas, B. and  James, S.(2015) A critical analysis of the implementation of social networking as an e-recruitment tool within a security enterprise. Cogent Business & Management . 2015(2), pp. 1-21.

Licciardi, S. (2013) Social media for innovative marketing strategies[online] Available from: [Accessed 25thApril, 2018].

Lipschultz, J.H. (2017) Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics. Taylor & Francis.

Lyon, T.P. and Montgomery, W. (2012) Tweetjacked: The Impact of Social Media on Corporate Greenwash[online] Available from: [Accessed 25thApril, 2018].

Oyza , I. and Edwin, A.M.(2015) Effectiveness of Social Media Networks as a Strategic Tool for Organizational Marketing Management. Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce.2(6).

Sam, C.Y.  and Cai , Y.(2015) A Study on the Use of Social Media to Understand Consumer Preference: The Case of Starbucks. International Journal of Management and Business Research .                                          5 (3),pp.  207-214.

Starbucks (2018) Starbucks Company Profile[online] Available from: [Accessed 25thApril, 2018].

Thill, J.V. and Bovee, C.L. (2016) Excellence in Business Communication. Pearson Education.

Whiting, A. and Deshpande, A. (2014) Social Media Marketing: A Myth or a Necessity. Journal of Applied Business and Economics. 16(5), pp. 74-81.

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