It wasn’t that long ago (not that long ago at all) that serious-minded business people would hear the word “social media” and associate it with “the things that the young people do to pass the time”. However, studies are starting to reflect the fact that it’s also a highly-viable way for people to make money too. So, more businesses are accepting the fact that Facebook is not just for checking profiles and Twitter is not just an avenue to read the latest celebrity news. As a matter of fact, many companies are starting to take it so literally in their daily business practices, that a new phrase has been coined: “social business”.
Basically, social business is a phrase that simply means that now, more than ever, companies are making a concerted effort to use social media tools and technology to transform the way that they interact within the business world. There is data to support this fact. In one study, it was cited that thanks to the role that social media plays in business, companies have strengthened their relationship with their customers by over 51 percent , their partners and suppliers by 41 percent and the general public by a little more than 52 percent. Another added bonus has been the fact that of the companies that heavily rely on social media to engage their employees (roughly 85 percent), there has been a significant increase in their staff’s participation as it relates to social media campaigns within the company.
Ironically, a big part of this is due to the younger consumer. When the internet was first introduced to the masses (the early 90s) people who were in their late teens are now in approaching their early 40s. Therefore, they are quite accustomed to the ever-evolving transitions of technology, including the fact that in order for a business to thrive, it must stay abreast of what is going on in social media.
While it is the general consensus among must company heads that social business is filled with lots of challenges, it is also believed to be one of the greatest opportunities in recent history. Thanks to social media, companies are able to get new ideas from customers (via their website); they are able to do promotions (and updates on promotions) for little to nothing as it relates to cost (via Facebook); they can communicate with partners in other states and overseas without paying for transportation (via Skype); they can network with new businesses (via LinkedIn) and they can use the feedback that they get from their customers and clientele to improve their company (via Twitter).
So, if you are a business owner contemplating if it’s worth it to take some social media classes, it’s definitely an investment that is well worth your while. And if you are a business student in the process of getting your executive MBA online, there’s huge chance that some of your curriculum will consist of some of the very things that were just discussed; things that will make you a high commodity in the workplace.
Indeed, gone is the myth that social media is just for fun. Well, that is if you consider making money fun.
In that case, you would still be right.