Social Media

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SOCIAL MEDIA

The Affect of Social Networking on Small Businesses

The Affect of Social Networking on Small Businesses

Introduction

The unprecedented growth of social media has changed the way businesses operate. As a successful organization, each business wants to get itself noticed and develop a better understanding of its consumers. Social media have changed the marketing, advertising, PR, promotion and research dynamics for businesses, both large and small (Catharine 2008, p. 87). It has an impact on business processes, systems and communication. Social media presence has become mandatory, especially for smaller businesses, and more companies are convinced of the benefits accrued from it. The Social Media Marketing Industry Report for the year 2011 presents interesting statistics to reaffirm the claim made above (Torossian 2011, p. 16). Social media have affected the society world over. When used effectively, social media increases traffic on the website, improves sales, generates customer interest in the company and its products, and reduces cost of marketing.

Nine out of ten users in the United Kingdom visit a social website every month. Research statistics show that approximately 4.5 hours or 12% of all the time they spend on the internet is spent on social websites. This time distribution is more visible among youngsters than it is among the middle aged. This increase in trend is also seen among the elderly who are 55 and above (McDonald, 2004, p. 184).

Literature review

Social media have transformed the way businesses operate, and there is no going back. It truly marks an evolution in the marketing industry, and this evolution is the biggest of its kind. Social media such as blogs, micro blogs and the social networking websites have facilitated businesses, particularly the smaller ones, to reach out to their target market (Eddy 2011, p. 4). Any business that is value oriented realizes this and makes use of this cheaper means of communication and marketing. These sites can be used very effectively for business growth. This trend in the increasing use of social media network by small businesses is common not only in the UK but across the globe. The number of businesses using small media doubled in the year 2008.

Goodbye to conventional marketing

Cool (2008) argues in his study on communities of innovation: cyborganic and the birth of networked social media, the usage of social media are not only beneficial but also essential. This is because social media has changed the way companies communicate with their consumers. Previously, companies struggled to gain attention of its consumers. Today, the consumers are so active on the social media that they get to know everything about the company, good and bad, whether the company wants it or not (Lauren, 2005, p. 5). The communication between a business and its customers is now two ways. This is particularly important for small scale businesses that cannot afford to spend too much on marketing for creating awareness. By having an existence over the social media, these small businesses can generate consumer interest and benefit from positive ...
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