Benefits of social media for business
Last Updated: 9 July 2018
If used wisely, social media can be a powerful business tool. Some of the opportunities and benefits of social media can include:
The most obvious opportunity is to generate revenue. This can be done through building a community or advertising your products or services within the social media platform. If you choose to advertise in social media, the ads can either link back to your business’ social media page or sometimes to your website. This can mean that you’re able to benefit from social media without needing to have a channel.
Using social media allows your customers to connect and interact with your business on a more personal level. If you already have an established brand, social media might be an opportunity to further develop your brand and give your business a voice.
Social media can be a good way of attracting new customers. For example, when considering social media campaigns, you could try to attract followers with promotions or giveaways. Once you have a good following you can focus on more personalised social media campaigns to encourage them to stay.
Even if you think social media is not suited to your business or that you don’t have the time, simply logging on to see what your competitors are doing in this space, or finding out what your customers are saying about you might be a valuable exercise.
Networking can be a valuable way to exchange ideas with like-minded people to improve the way you do business. Using online networking sites can also be valuable to your business, often for the purpose of knowledge sharing and word-of-mouth referrals.
Some organisations use social media to advertise vacant positions. Job networking sites like LinkedIn are dedicated to the job market and can help you use networks to attract skilled people.
Your website’s ranking in the search results of various search engines can sometimes be affected by the size and influence of your social network. As your social following grows, your visibility in search engines may also increase. This is a common Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.
Pros and cons of using social media for business
Last Updated: 9 July 2018
With its low costs and large audiences, it’s easy to get carried away when using social media in your business. It’s wise to tread carefully and be aware of both the pros and cons before you start.
Pros of social media
When used effectively, social media can have all the benefits of word of mouth, just on a larger scale! It can also help you reach a high number of potential customers.
Potential advantages of social media can include:
reduced marketing costs
increased traffic to your website
improved ranking on search engines
greater customer engagement
greater access to international markets
opportunity for customer feedback
opportunity to conduct market research about your customers
improved networking opportunities with customers and other businesses.
Read more about the benefits of social media.
Cons of social media
Social media may not be suited to every business. If you are unprepared and launch your social media presence without proper planning, you could waste valuable time and money.
Some of the possible disadvantages you should be aware of are:
Not having a clear marketing or social media strategy may result in reduced benefits for your business.
Additional resources may be needed to manage your online presence.
Social media is immediate and needs daily monitoring.
If you don’t actively manage your social media presence, you may not see any real benefits.
Risk of unwanted or inappropriate behaviour on your site, including bullying and harassment.
Greater exposure online has the potential to attract risks. Risks can include negative feedback, information leaks or hacking.
Whatever the risk, having a social media strategy and preparing your policy and procedures carefully beforehand can help you manage the risks. False or misleading claims made on your social media channels by your business or by a customer can be subject to consumer law. Customer fan posts and testimonials that are misleading or deceptive to other customers, particularly about competitor products/services may result in your business being fined.
Five Challenges Social Media Will Bring to Business
David ArmanoFive Challenges Social Media Will Bring to Business
AUGUST 14, 2009
The Hidden Problem of Facebook and Social…COMMUNICATION CASE
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Tech Talk: Creating a Social Media StrategyINNOVATION ; ENTREPRENEURSHIP CASE
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Who is the Better Player? Off-Field…SALES ; MARKETING CASE
8.95 ADD TO CARTA recent survey conducted by HYPERLINK “http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Proofpoint-Inc-1027877.html” Proofpoint found that 8% of companies had terminated employees due to social media usage (common causes including sharing sensitive information on a network). And while the statistic seems significant, it only underscores one of several upcoming challenges nearly every organization will face as changes in people, process and technology fueled by the collective movement we call social media begin to transform business. Here are a few challenges that every organization should be planning for right now:
1. Integration. Becoming a “social business” (meaning true participation as opposed to leveraging social media as a new form of marketing) can impact nearly every function of a business. Marketing, PR, communications–even supply chain and any function that deals with employees. So where does it live? Is it a department? Do organizations hire a “Chief Social Officer” much like they would a Chief Technology Officer? All organizations will eventually grapple with integrating social into their entire ecosystem adopting either centralized, distributed or hybrid approaches.
2. Governance. Many organizations now understand that anything that can and will be said about them on the internet will be. The good, the bad, the ugly. And this includes content produced not only from the general public, but also from internal constituents such as employees. Organizations will not only need to begin actively listening so that they are in the know, but they will need rules of engagement for how they deal with multiple types of scenarios from responding to a compliment to dealing with a detractor to following up with an employee who just posted something inappropriate or sensitive.
3. Culture. All organizations fall somewhere on a spectrum of being “open” or “closed” meaning that they are either more transparent with how they operate and collaborative or they hoard knowledge internally. Consider that it’s probable that the Zappos purchase by Amazon had a good deal to do with their notoriously open culture. Likewise, even Apple, which can be notoriously secretive, is benefiting by leveraging a strategy that opened up their iPhone application ecosystem. Sure Apple has a great deal of control over it, but for the first time in history, they have legions of people developing applications that run on their hardware. Organizations have the potential to benefit from embracing customers and employees in new ways, but will have to manage it intelligently and with purpose.
4. Human Resources. In order to transform from a business to a social business, companies are going to have to upgrade their HR protocols, as well as legal. And it’s likely to be a never-ending process as new technologies continually hit the scene. Before there was Twitter, companies scrambled to publish blogging guidelines for employees, now the wrong tweet or Facebook status can get you fired. Organizations will not only need to update guidelines but actually train their people who may be leveraging social technologies for work. Customer service in particular comes to mind.
5. Measurement ; ROI. Every organization will continue to struggle with measuring results and reporting ROI. Philosophically, this question can be answered with another question: “what’s the ROI of e-mail”? But it’s a question that won’t go away. New social constructs will be needed to measure social initiatives such as attention (the size or number of participants actively engaged) or authority (the amount of influence a participant has in the ecosystem). Because social business is enabled by technology, it is by definition measurable. However, tying it to realized revenue or savings becomes more of a challenge.
In order for business to transform into something that can function in a less formal, fast moving social space–it will need to do so at scale. These 5 issues are but a handful of the types of growing pains we’ll see as this happens.
Social Media: Benefit or Problem?
While social media use brings many business benefits, it also comes with just as many risks.
Social media sites are part of daily life for the majority of Americans. The advent of the smartphone has accelerated the attraction and use of social media sites. Social media can be a benefit to the business, but it can also be a problem. Issues such as productivity, security, compliance, and workplace disruption are all negative aspects of social media interactions.
I recently read the Pew Research Center report, “Social Media Use in 2018,” which highlights a number of existing trends and a newly emerging narrative around dealing with social media. The graphics in this blog are from this report.
The PlatformsThe typical U.S. citizen reports that they use at least three of the eight major platforms that were measured in the report.
Facebook — The dominant social media site is Facebook. Its usage penetration has remained flat since 2016. About 68% of U.S. adults report that they are Facebook users, except for the 65 years of age or older group. Users access it once or more on a daily basis. Use of Facebook has grown consistently since 2012, from 55% to 68% today. See the chart below.
YouTube — YouTube does not exactly qualify as social media, but some social elements are contained on this site. It is now used by 73% of U.S. adults with 94% usage for those the 18- to 24-year-old range.
Instagram — Comes in third in terms of popular social media sites, with about 36% of those surveyed using the platform.
Pinterest — Comes in fourth with about 29% of those surveyed using the platform.
The list is rounded out with Snapchat at 27%, LinkedIn with 26%, Twitter at 24%, and WhatsApp at 22%.
Social Media Consumption
By Age — There is quite a difference concerning the use of social media based on age. The Pew Research Center survey found that 80% of 18- to 29-year-olds indicate they use social media. For the 30- to 49-year-old group, that drops to 78%. The 50- to 64-year-old group drops to 64%. Usage drops to 37% for those 65 and older.
Activity — The chart below indicates that the majority of Facebook users access the site several times a day. That is followed by Snapchat at 49% and Instagram at 38%. Twitter and YouTube are accessed several times a day by 26% of adult users and 29% of adult users, respectively. What the report did not cover is how long users accessed the sites. It could be anywhere from a few minutes to an hour more.
Gender — Pinterest is more popular with women at 41%, versus men at 16% usage.
Loyalty — There is a substantial overlap in loyalty to the sites. The majority of users indicate they primarily use Facebook and YouTube, but also use Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Loyalty to the sites seems to be high and extends from one site to another.
BenefitsAdvertising — I have discovered I receive the equivalent of advertising via LinkedIn and Twitter. One of my associates uses Facebook for advertising.
Messaging — Facebook Messenger 2.3 was just released. It includes updates for customer chat tools and a quick reply feature. It also offers advanced customization tools so you can target your customer support. Besides using these features in the contact center, this could be used by employees communicating with each other.
Contact Center — Agents in the contact center can use social media to collect information about those contacting them. This enhances the knowledge and context agents have about the customer. More knowledge generally equals more sales as well as better customer support satisfaction.
Website — Those who design company websites can analyze their social media sites to gain an appreciation of what interests and what discourages potential customers. This knowledge can be used to enhance the website, make it more attractive and more interesting, as well as hold onto the customer’s attention longer. This means more sales and revenue.
ProblemsProductivity — I receive many social media notifications daily. For my efficiency, I work with these notifications in batches. Unfortunately, the notifications are not always useful, sometimes interfere with my work, and reduce my productivity. I have observed some contact center agents scrolling through social media sites in between customer calls rather than being productive.
Disruptions/Distractions — It has been observed that when a person is interrupted in production work, or distracted during that time, it takes time for them to return back to their productive stage. This means that the distraction or disruption time is extended for another minute or two until the person can regain what they were working on and continue the productive operation. The distractions and disruptions therefore may be twice as long as people expect, reducing productivity further.
Security — Email has been a popular tool for phishing. Although many people have learned not to click on links within their emails that are suspicious, some people still do it. I think that with social media sites, because they breed familiarity and trust, phishing through the sites is also a problem. Because the social media interactions generally are assumed to be from friendly parties, the barrier against phishing is lower and therefore has a greater impact on security.
Compliance — Users of social media may use the sites for business communications that are outside compliance requirements. This presents problems for the business that cannot control, record, or audit these communications. The business could be liable for penalties and fines.
Social media is here to stay. Social media sites are also moving into business applications such as advertising and messaging services. You cannot block them. What you need to do is continually train your users and agents to watch for security issues. You also need to ensure that they honestly do their work and ignore the disruptions and distractions that occur during the day from the social media sites. You cannot completely prevent this, but you can certainly reduce it. Interacting with social media is going to be an ongoing problem that can be reduced but never eliminated.