Social media on the smaller side of business

As we now know, social media is widely used through out the world of business today. Large companies are actively engaging in the use of social media to enhance their businesses, small businesses are slightly behind this, with more small businesses joining in on the trend now days. Studies have shown that the use of social media in small business has declined over the last few years, this comes partly down to the time consumption required to keep the business up to date in the social media environment.

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Large companies have the resources accessible to help drive their social media activity, with specific resources used to integrate marketing through social media. They have more ability to allow time to work on these sites, where as small business are having to do all the work themselves, with less access to ideal resources, and having a smaller employee base means there are less people to work on these sites. Social media activity is a very time consuming process, anyone who uses social media sites would know this – we can spend hours on Facebook, scrolling through recent posts, updating our own news feed with photos, statues and communicating with friends or clients.

Small businesses can use social media to promote their business, interact with clients on a more personal basis with fast communication through the ‘chat’ facilities and comment sections on posts. Having their business up on social networking sites means it is accessible to a large population all using the same interface. The introduction of Web 3.0 allows businesses to target advertising to those who show interest in such products, through the use of cookies in search engines – as discussed earlier. You often see adverts on Facebook promoting products and services, usually ones that you are interested in, enticing you as a consumer to go onto their pages and look at the products. This yeps to spread awareness of the business’ products and get a name out for itself. This is just one example of how small businesses can apply social media to their company.

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Non-profit organisations such as, charities like Red Cross, SPCA,  starship children’s foundation, Unicef and many more. Non-profits use social media to promote their causes and spread the word about their organisation and how it is helping the community. The use of social media is a cheap and fast way to advertise their business, it still requires careful planning and research to ensure the time invested into social media is going to be worth while. Good planning and research will allow non-profit organisations to develop good relationships with their stakeholders and greatly benefit the organisation.

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Risks of using social media in business

For all the positive benefits of social media on businesses, as with anything we do in life there are also risks involved. The question is, do the risks out weigh the benefits? I would say for most businesses, no, the benefits out weigh the risks, bringing the company more positivity than negativity. However that is not to say that some companies may face higher risks and failures than benefits, which could also be a result of bad advertisement or planning. Lets have a look at a few risks involved with using social media for your business…

  • Negative comments or feedback
  • Negative publicity
  • Bad word of mouth
  • Waste of time and money in unsuccessful adverts

These are just a couple of examples that owners should be aware of when approaching social media for their business.

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Modern social media vs. ‘Traditional’ social media

Traditional media was a one-way communication system based on the company presenting brand ideas and promotions but not allowing the feedback and communication from consumers. Traditional media did not allow for engagement in sales and products, and had no emphasis on creating word of mouth – a hallmark of social media today.

Engagement and word of mouth are key aspects in business success, consumers don’t believe brands they believe what they hear from word of mouth.

Modern social media is based on a two-way communication system, defined by a word of mouth system allowing engagement between the company and its consumers. It encourages the re-sharing of positive brand claims that are more realistic, and believable than those such as the toothpaste adverts that whiten your teeth, when we all know they don’t work.

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References

Bakeman, M. M. & Hanson, L. (2012). Bringing social media to small business: A role for employees and students in technology diffusionBusiness Education Innovation Journal, 4(2), 106-111.

Casserly, M. (2013). Why small businesses are losing on social media. [Article] Forbes.com, 31-33 Forbes.com 4/17/2013 Page 31

Witzig, L., Spencer, J. & Galvin, M. (2012). Organizations’ use of LinkedIn: An analysis of nonprofits, large corporations and small businessesMarketing Management Journal, 22(1), 113-121.

 

 

 

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