One of the most important tools for managers and business owners in today’s business world is social networking which provides assistance in gaining fast and quick response from customers and employees within the organisation. It can also be defined as a stand in which connection between people and organisation is created digitally and to establish relationship among them to procure the desired goal. The interchange of information can be in form of pictures, conversation, graphic presentation or videos but the purpose lies the same i.e. sharing of information and getting instant reaction (Elison, 2007). There are many social networking services (SNS) which are available and can be easily accessed with the help of internet connection to digital devices like laptop, mobile, computers, etc. The most commonly sites used in today’s world by both business management and consumers are Face book, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc (ARCA, 2012). In this literature review pros of social networking like cost efficiency, instant feedback, easy to use and several others will be compared with its cons. It might be agreed that social networking has many advantages but researchers have identified various disadvantages behind it like time consuming process, security risks, lack of physical attachment, etc. With its increasing demand in all business sectors, the advantages of SNS have become a major topic of discussion in literature.
Social networking has gained importance as purpose behind it is the core of any business i.e. selling of product or service with ease. This can be further explained by an example of online shopping which has increased in last decade to much degree. Customer service companies are also taking help of SNS while making conversations with their clients online and also considers it as the best way to attract clients in shorter and cheaper way (TDK Technologies, 2017). Many IT enabled services and web designing companies are working to make SNS more effective and secure to use, as it has got many security issues also. In large firms where area of operation is not limited to one place, SNS provides them get attached with each other and makes digital connection for communication. Increase in brand recognition along with product/service awareness is another major objective of social networking which enables business sustainability.
Scope for Social Networking in Business:
While launching any new product or service in the market, it becomes important on management part to gain customer feedback so that further development can be made according to their preferences. This method can successfully get accomplished through SNS as more people are getting attracted to digital technology than traditional way of advertising like television and Emailing. In organisations where requirement of graphic presentations or group discussions between companies situated in different areas is higher, SNS serves an important role by making them connected digitally (AT&T Intellectual Property, 2008). While transmitting information’s and messages from one place to other, SNS keeps record of them and can be used for further reference. Recruiting efficient employees is another area where companies largely depends on SNS where new talent is invited by the company by showing company’s brand significance and organisational culture while listing the areas where they can engage new employees (Samson, 2015).
The advantages of social networking in business can be broadly discussed under different categories reviewed by researchers and authors. As an inevitable part of today’s strategic business, it becomes necessary to understand its importance in business and areas of consideration before implementing it. As shown in the figure below, the percentiles illustrate different purposes which are used and observed by the companies. The major advantages of social networking can be identified which will be further discussed in this review.
Gaining brand recognition: This is one the major advantage observed in literature which is why social networking is increasing rapidly. For example, if a company or product is frequently posted in social websites like twitter and face book, the followers will get informed with latest updates and make instant feedbacks. Millions of people using social sites can get attracted by recitation of good qualities and overview of product/services that make customers select them. This can even help in the launch of new product as the customers get acquainted with it in much shorter time. At the same time the news about it must be posted on different and famous sites or else delayed estimation is possible (Fernando, 2012).
Getting knowledge about competitor’s: While monitoring social Medias, information about competitors can be gained which can further help in making strategic plans for organisations. For example websites like Hootsuite which lists major social websites helps in getting information about the socially listed products and services (Copp, 2016). Once mentioning the required information and after attaining the same, the scope for improvement in business is enhanced and strategic management gets acquainted with their competitors which assist in making further necessary changes.
Marketing made fast with ease: Information related products can be shared in social media’s and can be seen by millions of people simultaneously in shorter period of time. According to the survey made by Hubspot, 57% of SNS users agrees that social media has provided them with a scope for growth of business (ARCA, 2012). It communicates brand and description about products in the market and enhances rumour about them both in a positive or negative manner. Thus many business organisations use SNS for marketing purpose and some uses to get feedback for making further changes or improvement.
Improved interconnectivity between organisations: Social media sites provide efficient way to convey message or information’s to targeted audience. While it is enormously used by market division in business, interconnected activities among organisations whether small or big are also enhanced and depend largely on SNS. Where organisations have subsidiaries spread within limited area or worldwide, SNS proves to be a great support. To interact with clients, business associates or executives who are not present at one place but are required to participate in meetings or group discussions; SNS gives a medium where they are able to have live discussions along with access to graphic presentations (Claywell, n.d.).
Getting customer feedback: This is yet another benefit of social networking where company can get idea about customer preferences and feedback.
As shown in the above picture a recent survey shows the percentage of customers who agrees that they use social medias for product selection and responds about them socially. This is the reason why companies choose SNS to enhance their marketing survey for getting customer response related to their product and to compare the same with their competitors. They can even communicate with their customers for getting knowledge about their feelings or their thoughts about product or service offered.
Platform for customer related services and job seekers: Social media not only provides opportunity to business, but also to the ones who seek to work with them. Business firm’s gives opportunities to job seekers by giving details of employee’s requirement in social Medias along with showing company portfolio to attract more people to apply for newer posts. While job related and individual potential information is shared, it becomes easier for the management to select the ones who seems promising to the company and the procedure for connecting them is made. Social networking also gives assistance in promoting public related services which are advertised in cost effective manner in social sites. Normally these are group of people like labours, mechanics, carpenters, decorators, etc who promotes themselves in social sites to get work online and can be carried physically after making contacts.
While making review on social networking uses in business, its consequences shall not be ignored and taken into consideration by business owners before making it an integral part of their enterprise. While increasing its uses in day to day business its outcomes are sometimes not predicted which can result in fallback of business. The below figure demonstrates the reasons why it is not used by many organisations due to negative impacts of SNS. Other disadvantages are discussed further in this research paper.
Negative response from customers: Social Medias possess nature where easy accessibility of information among organisations and consumers are made possible which are used simultaneously by large number of people. Not all the time positive response is made by them as human nature and preferences differs from each other. Thus any bad or negative comment posted in social websites can prove dangerous for firms and can directly hit on its sales. While information is absorbed by millions of people, competitors can also take advantage of this factor and can create hindrance in marketing of product or services. The same applies for employees also when any circumstances of mistreatment or any false remark about their employers is made on social websites; it damages the company reputation and image (WebpageFX, 2017).
Takes lot of time: To reach ultimate goal of business i.e. utmost sales and getting customer feedback for longer sustaining of organisation, it can sometimes take lot of time if SNS. The period between launching any new product and getting customer feedback can sometimes become time intensive as consumers may require time to judge effects of products like beauty product, health related product, construction service etc. To reach maximum consumers is another challenge faced by business owners and even SNS are digitally faster, can sometimes take lot of time to reach in all ends. There are other reasons also where people take social networking as time wasting process and are unaware of company products, thus lead company in reducing customers (Wiegand, 2017).
Security issues: This is the most common reason why organisations are afraid of using social networking. While transmitting information to other departments, the information is sometimes hacked by hackers which are further used in wrong way. Sharing internal data via social media can prove risk oriented as there are chances of getting its leakage. Many banks and organisations have faced such cyber attacks where they had to bear millions of losses (DeMers, 2014). Many fraud companies use copyrights and trademark of famous companies and sell their products under the name of others. If the product or service is not genuine and up to the mark it results in negative customer feedback (Bank, 2014).
Lack of physical contact: While making promotions and launching products online, physical contact is eliminated that can make customers difficult to believe in them. Earlier door to door selling was made by salesman along with product live campaigning where customers were made to touch and feel the product physically and make quick decisions about them. SNS here lacks preference as this factor also entails loss of customers. SNS within organisation also faces problems if contacts are made only through digital devices. Employees may lose morale and discipline in the absence of their boss and as a result reduces their work quality. Business clients will be more affected in a positive way if personal care and physical response is given to them along with spending quality time (Popova, n.d.).
Through this report, analysis of social networking in business has been made and advantages and disadvantages have been recognised. After making evaluation it can be said that social networking gains importance in today’s business world and cannot be eliminated completely. The pitfalls associated are also required to be considered to make organisation successful and set an example of strategic management (Knutsen, 2012).The benefits of social networking are majorly cost effective and increase of brand exposure along with engaging consumers in large numbers. Security risks along with negative feedback are few disadvantages observed in this review. The areas needed to be considered are outsourcing made by the company through SNS and should be made only after building detailed study of resource. While implementing business in SNS, company must also make contracts with the websites so that any breach of data can be tackled by them. Social networking if adopted with caution can prove beneficial to the business and help in getting identification in shorter and economical way (ARCA, 2012).After evaluating social networking in business and its importance it is clearly understood that the positive factors of it can only be gained if the negative ones are observed before implementing it.
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