Today, for many people the thought of that there was a time without Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seems like a long faded past. But besides Playing Pokémon Go and sharing holiday photos, social media has also altered the way companies do business.
While in the past companies communicated through just a handful of channels with their customers – namely ads, customer service agents and in store – nowadays more and more activities take place via social media. Alone customer complaints, which traditionally have been provided confidentially through a letter, email or phone call, are no publicly influencing companies in their decisions. Positive and negative reviews can now be seen by anyone and make successful business act fast or else they face the real prospect of incurring huge losses. On the other hand, positive reviews can boost a company’s reputation without them doing any marketing.
And Facebook and Co. are no longer just essential for large corporations. As CNBC reported, Facebook has seen the great potential to focus more on SME’s with customised pages and tools that let even the smallest business, which until now was nowhere near able to advertise, reach a large audience with the click of a button.
Even without taking advertising budget into the account, not having a social media presence makes people immediate question the legitimacy of a business. Furthermore, companies that haven’t caught on yet, risk of becoming internet famous without being a part of it. Websites, pages and groups on social media pages let people share their opinion for all the world to see, just with the inability of the business that aren’t online to tackle complaints and reply to the potential customers.
But it’s not just the interaction with customers that changed businesses around the globe. From a two-dimensional structure, organisations have evolved into an interconnected, three-dimensional entity. In an article by the Huffington Post, keynote speaker and author Jacob Morgan points out that no longer are ideas requested only by the senior level management. Employees now can, and are actively encouraged to come up with solutions and provide innovate ideas. By using social media, conference room meetings that were attended by a select few became inter-company think-tanks that let everybody actively shape their workplace.
And while there are some areas are still off-line, utilising social media where possible creates an entire new world of opportunities.