Is it better to expose your business on the various social networking sites available to millions around the globe? Or is it better to play it safe and maintain the reputation you have built traditionally? According to Cipr (2012), “Econsultancy’s State of Social Media Report 2011 surveyed more than 1000 clients, brands, marketing, digital and PR agencies and noted that around 35% are either still at a very experimental stage or not doing any social media activity at all” (p.15). Companies that are not taking advantage of social media are losing out on the potential of new consumers. It is another vehicle to generate a larger audience and to also make a statement in the online world (Kelleher, 2009). While interning for the Hudson Valley Renegades this past summer, there were two people constantly on the organization’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networking sites. Social media helps generate fans, maintain existing ones, expose the positive and energetic atmosphere at the stadium and connect with other potential sponsors.
There are benefits to using social media for your business. Many sites allow for users to create their own personal touch. By taking advantage of the different features offered on each site, it is normal for every user’s profile to be unique. This is a new market of customers and a great way to save money (Kelleher, 2009). Companies will offer promotions and discounts that are only available online. For example, I liked Express on Facebook and now different promotions show in my news feed. Building a strong online platform can be beneficial, especially to companies just getting started.
Social media can also aid in keeping a business connected internally. Employees can communicate online, ask questions, spread ideas and more (Social Media, 2012). As a college student, I have discussed social media in every communications course. It is such a current trend that students are being taught how to use social media in the workplace. Employees that have experience with social networking have an edge up on those that are not connected online. Having employees discuss new ideas and ask questions through social media is beneficial and easy, but there is also the risk of ideas being exposed or stolen by competitors.
Not all companies are in favor of using social media due to different situations that could arise. Some examples are that unhappy consumers could turn to a company’s social media site to vent, workers can post negatively about their job experience or their boss and competitors can sway your consumers by offering better promotions and sales (Cipr, 2012, p.16). Productivity is another factor that is commonly feared. According to Keheller, “If every employee in a 50-strong workforce spent 30 minutes on a social networking site every day, that would work out to a loss of 6,500 hours of productivity in one year” (2009). When factoring in the loss of productivity, this could have a negative impact on a company. Other situations that could arise are viruses and using too many resources.
As a business owner myself, I am learning to use social media to reach potential customers and business partners. Most importantly, I am reaching out to people in my organization and other members that are a part of the company. I see social media as a tool that will help any business grow today.
Cipr. (2012). Share this: The social media handbook for pr professionals. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Kelleher, D. (2009, Oct. 6). 5 problems with social networking in the workplace. Retrieved from http://www.information-management.com/specialreports/2009_165/social_networking_media-10016208-1.html
N.A. (2012, June 6). Social Media: What are the advantages and disadvantages of social networking sites? What should we include in a policy? Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/hrqa/Pages/socialnetworkingsitespolicy.aspx