Business Benefits from Social Networking

by Megan C
What is social networking and how is it beneficial?  This was probably a more common question a few years ago, but yet today it might be one of the easiest to answer by most people.  The most common social networking sites consist of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube.  A good question to ask yourself is how did these sites become so popular?  The answer is actually fairly simple; people wish to stay connected with friends, family, and the outside world.  Typically, internet and even mobile based these different sites combine technology and social interaction by the use of words, videos, and pictures at a fairly cheap if not for any price at all. Countless businesses are now using these social networking sites to their advantage. Although these social sites have been used for many years, why are businesses so eagerly interested in getting involved with sites like Facebook and Twitter? How do these social networking sites benefit and potentially help a business become more successful? Also, who else will benefit.

Through social networking businesses are using these sites as a way of marketing, advertising and getting their names out there to the whole world.  There is no place else that is as easy or affordable for a business then using the tools and availability of social networking.  A recent study done in 2009 showed that 150 million people worldwide use Facebook alone and over half of them are actively on the site every single day. (collection) This statistic alone is a red flag for businesses.  One way to expand a business is by expanding your network of potential buyers. Social networking sites make it very simple to accomplish this task.  By simply adding friends on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter a company can get their products or services out there to the social media circles. Facebook for example now has their own pages for companies who sign up.  When a company befriends people on Facebook those people can explore their page and learn all about what their company has to offer.  People have the opportunity to learn about the company, look at pictures, and even post comments and questions on the company’s page. Did I mention this is at no cost to the company? This is a form of free marketing.

Using such internet based social networking sites companies are also using a form of social media marketing.  Many people in business know that marketing can be very important to a company’s success.  Social media marketing can come at a fairly low price for businesses and it also helps consumers learn about products much easier and faster through these sites.  When using a site like Twitter it is easy for a company to tweet about something new their business has to offer and it is even easier for a consumer who uses Twitter to see the new tweet about a potential new product that might interest a potential buyer. This could lead to a company having more and more followers on their Twitter page.  As long as a company can take the time to have their social networking sites like Facebook up-to-date they will have no problem marketing to consumers. Another different form of marketing these social networking sites have to offer for the consumers is the fact that having a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter page helps the company build a more personal relationship with their consumers.(Benefits of) These sites can teach a consumer potentially a lot about a company.  It also gives a potential buyer the chance to ask questions and simply learn about the business. People like to feel that their concern and thoughts matter, having a more personal experience with a consumer through social media is a big plus for businesses.         

As discussed there are some main advantages a business has when using social networking sites, there is also the other side of this relationship.  There are a few advantages the different social networking sites get from businesses using their sites. A lot of people do not look at it in this light, but sites like Facebook and Twitter benefit from different companies using their sites. The more business involvement Facebook, MySpace and other sites acquire the more potential hits their social site gets.  This could potentially bring in more people and more money.  All of these social networking sites have advertisements on their homepages or on banners across pages; these types of advertisers have to pay these companies money to have those spots.  This is great for the business of social media networks because the more hits their sites get the more money advertisers will want to spend putting ads on their websites.

Everywhere you look if it is either online, on the television, or posted somewhere companies are advertising their social networking pages.  This is because they know how beneficial they are for their business and because they know how strong the consumer base is for these different networks. Social networking sites are huge and they are growing month by month with more involvement.  It would almost be silly for a business to not give at least one of these growing social networks a try.  There is potential for everyone to benefit from a businesses use of a network.  There have been many studies that prove all the factors discussed to be not only beneficial, but prove that business social networking is the right way to go. “A professor of marketing at San Diego State University surveyed 1,600 executives and found that firms that rely heavily on external social networks scored 24 percent higher on a measure of radical innovation than companies that don’t.” (Social)

References

Owyang, Jeremiah. Web Strategy: A Collection of Social Network Stats for 200911, January, 2009. <http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2009/01/11/a-collection-of-soical-network-stats-for-2009/>

Row, Jayant. Benefits of Social Networking for Busines. 12, April, 2009.<http://www.edubook.com/benefits-of-social-networking-for-business/4098/>

Swearingen, Jake. Social Networking for Business. 5, September, 2008.<http://www.bnet.com/article/social-networking-for-business/219914>