How Social Media Will Change the Way We Do Business
by Ujjwal Dey
Just about everyone with access to a computer migrates to the world of internet. And for everyone who goes on the internet the first thing they desire is online contact with fellow netizens. This was fulfilled in the nascent days of the internet through emails and forums or groups. But with the advent of specialized social networking media, everyone wishes to gain instant feedback and mass circulation for their ideas, thoughts and content.
Facebook has revolutionized the way people interact online. Sharing words, images, hyperlinks, video and just about every online content available. It provides tools to show clear feedback of the audience and ability to spread the message which then goes “viral”. Other popular networking media such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, etc have kept up and caught on with this changing landscape of online interactions.
LinkedIn found a niche market with collaboration among office colleagues and similarly skilled professionals, bringing a new corporate angle to social networking. Twitter has made possible instant concise and precise news breaking. YouTube channels have allowed laymen and professionals alike a new medium to broadcast their viewpoints.
So Social Media has already changed the way we netizens live, work, interact and collaborate online. The big question is if it will change “business”. The answer lies simply in realizing how big an impact these networking mediums make on our daily lives. If people believe in these viral contents or even if they enjoy it as entertainment – then the impact is clear and serious. People find freedom in these mediums to expand their ideas, collaborate internationally, draw audiences from varying backgrounds and spread their products/ services through word of mouth. This powerful marketing tool called “word of mouth” existed earlier too, in the form of idle gossip offline. It took months and years for such gossip to make any significant impact. Today, any idea, news, information can spread like wild fire online and can impact businesses who are targeted in the campaign. This can be a positive or a negative impact. Imagine a content showcasing hazardous quality of a premium car brand. It would damage the car manufacturer’s reputation and impact their bottomline. At the same time if people see the loving effort that goes into making an exquisite piece of art, the artist would be a superstar overnight through this online gossip express.
So companies need to be aware of what is being said about them. Not just to keep up with public sentiments but also to realize that some competitor or disgruntled worker may be defaming them online. So of course, like any aspect of technology, there is use and misuse. The businesses that have a wide net cast to market their products and services, need to monitor their “net persona” – that is, their image online. A simple consumer forum online where a customer airs his/her woes against a company can do serious damage to businesses today.
At the same time, there is opportunity. There is an entire world waiting to hear about your excellence in delivery of your products or services. So businesses that are local can suddenly find themselves catering to a global market. Small businesses with no budget for branding or advertising can discover that they have beaten industry bigwigs by simply producing exquisite products or unique services. There is no need to fear this social networking revolution if your business is true to its consumers. If you are sincere to your business ethics and loyal to your customer’s needs, then social media will only spread the joy you bring.
Right To Information Act in a developing country such as India and success and support of WikiLeaks proves that the masses and especially the educated masses are seeking transparency and knowledge. They want the big corporates and archaic governments to open up their dealings and activities so that they can be scrutinized by the people whom it affects the most – the citizens. The masses want transparency in the way business, economy, administration and other aspects concerning their daily life are carried out. This is a clear indication of the power of the Information Age. Knowledge and Information travels fast and wide. People feel empowered and demand respect by claiming their rights to how their city or nation is being influenced by private or government players. They deserve the acknowledgement and recent demonstrations in Asian, Arab and African nations prove that social media can carry such people’s movements and expose it to international media and audience.
Lastly, I would say, change is constant. If a business doesn’t know how to adapt, they go the way of the dinosaurs. So evolve and lead your business into the brave new world of exposure and adventure.
About the Author: Ujjwal Dey is a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer. Call +91 9322005050