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How Businesses are using Social Media

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With businesses hopping on the bandwagon, it’s no more a question of, “whether” but “when” a business should get serious about implementing a Social Media Strategy.  Interestingly businesses use different Social Media Platforms to meet their own marketing objectives. So, what exactly are businesses doing with this new-found marketing tool and how exactly are they using it to their advantage? It’s no surprise that Australian businesses are quickly beginning to use Social Media for marketing their business. Why wouldn’t they?, when Australia ranks among the top in the world for internet usage with users spending around eight hours per month on an average on various Social Med

With businesses hopping on the bandwagon, it’s no more a question of, “whether” but “when” a business should get serious about implementing a Social Media Strategy.  Interestingly businesses use different Social Media Platforms to meet their own marketing objectives. So, what exactly are businesses doing with this new-found marketing tool and how exactly are they using it to their advantage?

It’s no surprise that Australian businesses are quickly beginning to use Social Media for marketing their business. Why wouldn’t they?, when Australia ranks among the top in the world for internet usage with users spending around eight hours per month on an average on various Social Media Networks.  With so much time being spent on Social Networking Sites, according to statistics provided by OfficingToday,  43% of small businesses now use Social Media to attract new customers.

Virtual meeting & collaboration

Business executives who travel extensively are increasingly turning to the virtual meeting applications that Social Media offers. All they need now is a laptop and an internet connection to hold meetings or collaborate with their suppliers, joint-venture partners or even staff in real time. This is especially important for businesses whose success hinges on virtual collaboration and where reaching people on the go can make the difference between winning and losing a customer. The new generation of business professionals now demands access to Social Media Networks as a prerequisite operating system to conducting business.

Marketing and Managing Reputations

By far the most potent use of Social Media is marketing. According to a Burson-Marsteller study, 65% of the Fortune 100 organisations now use Twitter to reach their customers. 29% of these companies also have a “Like” page on Facebook. Large business such as Sony, Nike and IBM dispense news, updates and initiate conversations with their stakeholders and customers effectively through Social Media. Although senior management place a premium on using their time, they have also embraced Social Media with 30% of CEOs of the top companies now have a Facebook page. Corporate leaders have emerged from their cocoons and are increasingly opening their doors and being accessible through Social Media.

With Social Networking opening opportunities for instant dissemination of positive and negative feedback about companies a single tweet can spread virally through the channel and make or destroy the reputation of the company. Companies are now carefully monitoring their online reputations and the smarter ones are quick to respond with information aimed at damage control so their reputation is not tarnished.

Innovation and knowledge management

Social Media is being used by progressive businesses to source, improve and implement new developments that allow them to deliver outcomes that meet and exceed their customers’ expectations. Delivering outcomes based on Social Media feedback is an innovative way of improving relationships with customers who may otherwise not be positively inclined towards the business.

Most businesses rely on the pool of knowledge that their employees possess to innovate and grow their business. Managing and organising the knowledge can be a challenge, especially with large organisations. Social Media communities overcome this barrier by drawing people with shared interests to contribute to a forum. This knowledge house of information can then be captured and transferred to produce innovative products and services.

Recruitment & Employee engagement

With the era of job for life long gone, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their staff engaged emotionally and intellectually challenged. Social Networks sponsored by companies encourage dialogues between staff and management and help in keeping employees focused on the company’s mission.

Professional social networks such as LinkedIn are an excellent source for recruiting and making business connections. A study by Deloitte has found that 23% of businesses now use social networking as a tool for hiring staff.

While businesses have adapted Social Media in increasing numbers, they have only touched the surface of the innovative ways in which Social Networks can be used. Where most businesses fail is in implementing a tracking mechanism to gauge the success and failure of Social Media initiatives. Once advanced tools are developed to show the correlation between Social Media Marketing initiatives and monetary results, businesses will embrace Social Media the same way they have embraced online marketing to grow their sales.