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How Online social networks benefit organizations

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In the last decade, Social networks have made a great impact on our daily lives which has stretched to affect the business world as well. Online Social networks have proven many times that they could be immensely beneficial for organizations and possibly their key to succeed in today’s highly competitive business world. This paper will focus on how establishments, whether big or small, can use Social networks as a major tool in different methods to help support their businesses to grow, be more efficient, save money and expand significantly on to the modern world of technology and Social networking; all while showcasing the experiences of organizations from different business sectors with Social media. Moreover, it will also include an interview with an upcoming entrepreneur sharing her experience on how Social media became the core of her startup business.

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How Online social networks benefit organizations

  1. 1. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 1 How Online Social Networks Benefit Organizations Amirah Ahmad Daghache LNG 173-Professtional Communication Skills Canadian University of Dubai Instructor: Mrs. Rola Dukhan
  2. 2. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 2 Abstract In the last decade, Social networks have made a great impact on our daily lives which has stretched to affect the business world as well. Online Social networks have proven many times that they could be immensely beneficial for organizations and possibly their key to succeed in today’s highly competitive business world. This paper will focus on how establishments, whether big or small, can use Social networks as a major tool in different methods to help support their businesses to grow, be more efficient, save money and expand significantly on to the modern world of technology and Social networking; all while showcasing the experiences of organizations from different business sectors with Social media. Moreover, it will also include an interview with an upcoming entrepreneur sharing her experience on how Social media became the core of her startup business.
  3. 3. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 3 How Online Social Networks Benefit Organizations “ #Ring! ” a one-word tweet issued by the Social Media tycoon, Twitter, on November 7th, 2013 to mark the ringing of the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange and the moment Twitter officially became a public trading company. (Elliott, 2013) Over the last decade, the vast increase of the usage of online Social Networks around the world has been a blessing in disguise for organizations. Social Networks have given organizations (whether big or small) the opportunity to easily connect its employees to the public and vice versa, be able to effectively advertise the organization not just locally but globally, measure how different media metrics are affected by online reviews and ratings, connect using a social space for geographically dispersed individuals and help its members deliver crucial information to a large audience on time. In today’s business world, Social networks have become the bridge between the public and the organization. Relationships mean everything in businesses especially strong relationships with consumers that lead to long-time loyal customers. Social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook have given employees a new interactive method to deal with their customers. Instead of being put on hold for long periods of time over the phone, on Social media, customers can directly ask employees questions, and get presented with tips and special offers. A successful example of that is Zappos’ customer service. Zappos is an online shoe and clothing shop based in the United States. It has almost two thirds of its employees actively on Twitter where they are highly “encouraged to let their personalities shine” when engaging with the customers online specially while responding to their questions, offering tips (on things like shoe care) and more importantly helping resolve issues a customer might face. (Nolinske, 2015) Gladly the feedback from their customers has been immensely positive; some even describe it as “having their own
  4. 4. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 4 personal shopper within Zappos”. (Nolinske, 2015) Such pronounced customer satisfaction drives a solid return business. In addition to securing customer satisfaction, social networking also increases employee satisfaction. While some may argue that using Social media could distract employees from doing their tasks, however, it also makes employees “feel more engaged with their work” and empowered by networking with customers in a new refreshing way. (Nolinske, 2015) For instance, Indium Corporation of America for almost 71 years has developed business and trade in traditional ways through direct marketing and trade shows. Today, they have around 10 blogs run by 15 bloggers who’ve made a strong online customer base and developed connections that have progressed offline onto prominent business relationships worldwide, all made possible because four years ago a marketing director asked one of the engineers in the company to start a blog for the company. (Nolinske2, 015) Perhaps one of the most important uses for Social media to most organizations is being able to advertise their brand to a wider audience not just locally but globally as well, without any financial constraints. “Whilst the emergence of social media makes it increasingly difficult to contain campaigns within a given market”, said Isabelle Griffith in her report on “How Social Media and digital marketing has impacted global branding”. (Griffith, 2012) For already largely established brands partnering with Social media has given them new tools to revive their brand and increase their numbers. For instance, British mega-fashion retailer, Topshop, recently partnered with Facebook to give audiences watching its live-streamed fashion show the opportunity to share pictures and posts of the show as it unfolded. The show was also the very first live streamed fashion show on Twitter, with viewers tweeting using specified hashtags for the stream. The stream was viewed by over two million viewers from over 100 different countries, according to the brand. This resulted in a massive traffic on their website with multiple
  5. 5. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 5 of the clothing’s items being sold out in just an hour! (Griffith, 2012) While marketing on social media is a highly cost efficient method for ‘globalizing’, however it could put organizations at risk for having their campaigns crossing the culture norms in some countries and/or seen as offensive in certain markets. (Griffith, 2012) For example, in November 2013 Pepsi’s Swedish branch posted several ads featuring their competitor Portugal’s soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as a voodoo doll tied to train tracks about to get his head crushed. While the campaign was somehow successful in Sweden; however, a Portuguese anti- Pepsi Facebook group was created gaining over 130 thousand “likes” in one day! The brand was quickly forced to remove the ads and apologized publicly on its page. (Feloni, 2013) Although globalizing on Social Media could indeed put organizations at risk, however, the silver lining here is it teaches them to have an international mindset and find a balance between branding and between different cultural norms and sensitivities. And if the balance is done right, it could result in a massive positive impact on the brand. Furthermore, looking at many smaller organizations, Social Media is the core of their businesses. In fact, for smaller organizations with small budgets Social media is often their only tool to reach the masses. Because it enables them to freely advertise their businesses, establish a client base and easily negotiate with customers all without having to spend money. Now more than ever we see pages on Facebook and Instagram for online fashion, clothing, and shoe shops with most of them gaining thousands of followers and likes per post. While some only offer local delivery, others have gone global, establishing a large organization all through a single Facebook or an Instagram page. Speaking to upcoming entrepreneur in fashion retail Noor Essa (who recently closed her family’s fashion boutique “The White Butterfly” in Sharjah), to share her experience with using
  6. 6. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 6 Social media to promote her humble shop, she said, “When we opened the shop we would get around 10 customers a day if not less and the sales were steady. A year later when the shop had established its own name in the market, we got around 30 to 40 customers a day and our sales were also higher. But, when we opened our Instagram and Facebook pages with all our products featured and started delivering to people’s homes and offices, we were getting 20 views almost every hour and made more in a day through the page than an entire week working in the store!” She continued, “Our profit has more than doubled, which moved us to closed down the shop and be an exclusively online business. That way, we were able to save the money that was used to rent the shop and the workers and saved time, all while keeping our customers happy. I mean think about all the employees and students that can’t afford the time to visit the shop. This way they don’t even have to leave their workplace.” She also voiced some of the challenges she faced at the beginning, “While we did receive some concerns from our loyal customers at first like: How are they going to try on the clothes? What if some of the clothes already purchased don’t fit? Do we offer refund? Nevertheless, we managed to resolve their concerns by adding our free 7-day return policy in case customers weren’t satisfied with the product.” She finally concluded saying, “In our modern world it is almost impossible to find a company without its own page on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. If I had to do it all over again I would start with making the page first; not renting the store and no wasting money on decorations and lights.” Through Social Media, organizations are able to effectively and accurately measure the traditional media metrics such as their brand’s exposure, engagement and influence. (Kelly, 2010) For example, Social media has the ability to provide exactly the number of people an organization’s message has been exposed to, how people respond to it and how it influences the public. And most significantly using Social media’s tools, organizations can precisely track the
  7. 7. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 7 growth rate of their impact during a specific period of time. (Kelly, 2010) On Twitter, organizations can track their number of followers, the number of followers who’ve retweeted or responded to their messages, if their hashtag was used and the number of direct messages they receive on a month-to-month basis. On Facebook, organizations can track the number of ‘likes’ or ‘fans’ on the brand’s page and posts during a specified period especially during a promotion. While on YouTube they can measure the number of views for videos, the number of subscribers, comments per video, video ratings and how many times the video was shared. Likewise using blogging websites they can measure the number of visitors, comments, and subscribers on their page and how many times their posts were shared. Finally, using an Excel sheet all metrics would be highlighted with accurate values noted down with the growth rate on a full report reported monthly. This makes using Social networks to measure influence more time and cost efficient and provides highly more accurate results than using the traditional media metrics. (Kelly, 2010) Moreover, Social network spaces can help individuals from all parts of an organization, wherever they live, to connect and innovate. Many larger organizations have several offices in different cities which could be sometimes unpractical. Using Social networks helps connect all its members together and inspires team work and job satisfaction. Furthermore, with team work come innovation and a desire to help a company grow further. (Nolinske, 2015) For example, recently an eight billion dollar energy company created an online network for workers from across all ranks of the company globally to engage in discussions on new technologies, the industry’s trends and aspects that could help influence the achievement of the company. Many of those group discussions were so active that they turned from problem solving to innovation and creativeness all through a small chat room online. (Nolinske, 2015)
  8. 8. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 8 For some organizations (specifically news outlets and public relations’ firms) Social media has helped highly facilitate and enhance the nature of their jobs. For journalists, it transformed the way they break the news and where they acquire their sources and information from. In a world where anyone that has a cellphone with a camera can instantly become a reporter by posting online whether it’s on Twitter and Facebook, news outlets no longer need to wait and depend on official police statements or photographers taken by freelance photographers. They now have a gold mine of sources online from regular civilians. While stories are now breaking first on Social media putting media outlets’ businesses in jeopardy however, this has enabled journalists to “discover new stories and uncover sources.” (Brooks, 2011) Furthermore, most organizations today (including news outlets and PR firms) has embraced the new tool and now break the news, promote offers and make announcements on Social media first. Therefore, reaching and impacting a wider audience faster; thus, resulting in Social media becoming the new first source for news worldwide. (Brooks, 2011) For example, the Clarence House of the United Kingdom announced on Twitter, first, the engagement of the Prince William to Kate Middleton. (Elliott, 2013) While, Twitter, itself, first announced it was going public with a tweet on its website. (Elliott, 2013) With Social media concurring our present world, it is almost impossible for this generation and possibly for the coming one to imagine a world where we can’t tweet our feeling and document our lives online or we have to search for companies, jobs and apartments through newspapers or wait to get home or for the next morning to hear about the breaking news. Personally, I believe that it is only natural that organizations and businesses should embrace Social media and make it a part of their establishment the same way it is part of today’s world. While at times it almost feels like organizations are being forced to use the new medium or sink,
  9. 9. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 9 with Social networks integrated onto our world, organizations can now establish a larger customer basis, advertise with fewer restrictions around the world, connect to its clients easily and be able to clearly amount the success of the organization on the public, all while being exceedingly cost effective. Additionally, it offers them a chance to seem transparent, authentic and accountable to its customers. Therefore, I strongly believe that unlike it used to be perceived in the past, Social media is not a threat to organizations but a blessing. To quote Social media specialist Simon Mainwaring, “Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but [about the] service to the community.” (Mainwaring, 2015)
  10. 10. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS 10 References Brooks, R. (2011). How Social Media Helps Journalists Break News. Retrieved from Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-social-media-helps- journalists-break-news/ Elliott, A.-M. (2013). 9 Breaking News Tweets That Changed Twitter Forever. Retrieved from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2013/10/31/twitter-news/#1.l.LTRlp5qK Feloni, R. (2013). Pepsi Forced To Apologize For Cristiano Ronaldo Voodoo Doll. Retrieved from Buisness Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/pepsi-apologizes-for-ronaldo- voodoo-ads-2013-11 Griffith, I. (2012). How Social Media and Digital Marketing Has Impacted Global Branding. Retrieved from Smart Insights: http://www.smartinsights.com/online-brand- strategy/international-marketing/how-social-and-digital-marketing-has-impacted-global- branding/ Kelly, N. (2010). 4 Ways to Measure Social Media and Its Impact on Your Brand. Retrieved from Social Media Examiner : http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-ways-measure- social-media-and-its-impact-on-your-brand/ Mainwaring, S. (2015). How to Build a Community Using Social Media Metrics. Retrieved from Dataconomy: http://dataconomy.com/how-to-build-a-community-using-social-media- metrics/ Nolinske, T. (2015). Social Networks Benefit Employees and Customers. Retrieved from National Buisness Research Insititute: https://www.nbrii.com/employee-survey-white- papers/social-networks-benefit-employees-and-customers/

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