Social Media

Social Media as a Business Tool

With the increasing amount of connectivity that much of the world is experiencing, our views of the world and interacting with it are continuously changing. It has been a little over two decades since the internet started to filter its way into modern society and most people now carry around mobile devices that keep them connected virtually twenty four hours a day.

Communications in general have changed along with our increasing connectivity. Instant messaging, text-messaging, and email are all forms of communications that have entered into our daily communications channels. Even the way in which society acquires information is changing as described in a 2008 survey from Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, in a span of two years the number of people who acquired their news online doubled. “In 2008, nearly equal percentages in Generation Y (born 1977 or later) read a newspaper online and in print; 16% said they read only a print newspaper, or both the Web and print versions, while 14% said they read a newspaper only on the internet, or both online and in print. In 2006, more than twice as many in Gen Y said they read a printed newspaper than the online version (22% vs. 9%).”

As the years pass the population is becoming more and more technologically savvy leading to an increasing online community. The natural progression for communications and social interaction is also becoming increasingly internet centric.  According to Moos (2011), “The latest Pew research shows that nearly twice as many adults are using social networks now than did just a few years ago. About half of adults (47 percent) report using Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and other networks, up from 26 percent in 2008. And the average age of a social network user has increased, from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010.”

There are many reasons why people are using social media more than in the past. As previously stated, as time goes by people are becoming more and more indoctrinated into a technologically dependant society and this provides us with means to communicate more effectively. According to a recent online article from Psychology Today (Driver , 2011), the top five reasons people interact through social media are:

  1. Increased Communication
  2. Instant Access 24/7
  3. Reconnection
  4. Accessibility
  5. B2C (business to consumer)

Social Media as a Business Tool

From a business perspective, having a good understanding of who uses social media and why can be invaluable when developing a modern, online marketing plan. As the use of social media grows, so do opportunities for businesses online. According to Deragon (2010)1, “If you think about the real reason “why” you really need to engage in social media it boils down to forming the right relations and doing so the right way. Social media isn’t effective if you use it to simply “collect” people so you have large numbers. Collecting connections and followers is a numbers game and it is very easy to do so, however just collecting people doesn’t mean you are creating valuable relations that are relative and relevant to your business.”

Creating an online presence in social media for businesses is different than the individual. Businesses need to formulate new strategies for social media networking, creating a value proposition that will engage and add value to their market segment. According to Deragon (2010)2, there are many reasons that why businesses should use social media, for example:

  • You can reach your market by simply engaging in the right conversations with the right people.
  • Communications is a system to leverage your organizations ability to communicate with your market. Social media is the new communications system.
  • Social media saves time and money if you use it right for the right things.
  • If you learn “how” to use social media correctly then you’ll understand “what” your market is looking for and “where” they are looking.
  • Communications is about reach. Communicating is about relational dynamics between people. Social media provides the means to effectively communicate with your market, communicating in human rather than institutional terms.

These are only a few examples of why businesses should strongly consider the adoption of social media into their online presence. One thing is for certain, social media is growing and so is the number of people interacting on social media networks. Businesses who take advantage of this rapidly growing communications medium are sure to benefit in the long run.

References

Newspapers face a challenging calculus. (2009, February 26). Retrieved from

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1133/decline-print-newspapers-increased-online-news

Moos, J. (2011, June 20). Pew: social networking use doubles among adults, does not weaken

relationships. Retrieved from

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/romenesko/136017/pew-social-networking-use-doubles-among-adults-since-2008-does-not-weaken-relationships/

Driver , J. (2011, June 30). Where would we be without social media?. Retrieved from

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-say-more-you-think/201106/where-would-we-be-without-social-media

Deragon, J. (2010, October 04). Why use social media? Retrieved from

http://www.relationship-economy.com/?p=6617