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Apr 15 11

The Business of Social Networking

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There is no doubt that social networks have changed the way that businesses operate today. New technology platforms that have emerged in recent years have brought about a sense of dynamism to the business world and changed the landscape of business.  From smart phones to social networks, today’s digital tools link individuals in a web of constant interaction. To thrive in the digital age, businesses need to think of their customers not as a mass of isolated individual actors, but as customer networks.

And although social media has been an important part of our lives for years now, many businesses are yet to fully comprehend how it has changed the business landscape, while there are others that have embraced all that it has to offer. Whichever camp a business falls into, it is worth their while to consider how they can fully harness all that social media has to offer.

One of the most important things that we must remember is that social media is not just a passing trend, but is here to stay. Social media is no longer only a platform for teenagers to announce what they had for breakfast. And an increasing number of professionals realize that they need to maintain a presence on key social networking sites. Younger customers and clients are more likely to read blogs and follow Twitter accounts than look at traditional media. This means that companies must ensure that they have an online presence in order to ensure that they are reaching out to either end of the spectrum.

In an environment of abundant media, businesses that want to earn customer attention need to create content that customers actually want to consume. Whether aiming for a broad or niche audience, businesses can new win new customers by producing content that meets a specific need. Take for instance IBM’s Innov8, a videogame designed to help sell enterprise software that quickly became the company’s number one marketing tool.

In such a connected world, businesses must remember that they need to connect and collaborate in order to be effective, and the tools available at their disposal in the form of social media, make the task much easier. The Ford Fiesta Movement is the perfect example of a company that was able to connect with its customers using a social networking platform. The automobile manufacturer enlisted fans to test drive a new model, which generated a great deal of unbiased publicity before the launch, much of which was free of cost.

With social networks corporate barriers have been broken, with decision making being brought down to the bottom levels. Information and innovation that was once considered private and secret is now public knowledge. Social media is being accepted as normal and good, with the value of openness changing.

An important point to remember is that even in the midst of the social media revolution, the behaviours and networking needs of customers have not changed, the media simply has. In other words, businesses now have to meet their customers’ needs in new ways.

As more and more businesses turn to social networks to meet their business objectives, we can only expect to see more targeted social networking sites on the web. While nothing replaces the quality of face-to-face communication, social media is a new way to initiate and build relationships both for the customer and the client.

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Tags: Facebook, social media, Social networking, social networks, Twitter

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