Social Media and The Business World

For kids growing up today they did not know what it was like without MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter. Go back just one decade and it all started with AIM Instant Messenger. However, the big limitation to AIM was it was not beneficial for the business world. That would change soon though as social media evolved very quickly.

AIM allowed you to basically text one another over the computer and you could have running conversations with many people at once. However, it was very limited for business applications. No one would ever do business with the old social media types prior to Facebook and LinkedIn. Now the world has changed and companies must adapt to the new world or risk going out of business.
While AIM was becoming popular so were web-cams. These allow people to see each other and chat at the same time. This is really important in the business world as clients and suppliers can meet face to face to help close the deal.

The major downfall of AIM was the lack of business information. You could not portray what your business was about or anything like it. Now, most people check social media to make sure the business is legitimate and if they cannot be found many will wonder why the company does not use social media.

MySpace allowed you to customize your own web-page with music, pictures, and whatever else you wanted. It took off so fast that AIM was basically left in the dust and it went from being used by almost everyone to being used by almost no one.

That is the thing with technology, it quickly changes and the changes are often severe. MySpace was an innovative creation that really came along at the time where almost everyone was getting high speed internet. This was important because these large media filled web pages would have taken all day to load at slow internet speeds. Each of these improvements allowed businesses to thrive and display information about their products or services offered. MySpace was a huge leap for the business world and everyone in it.

With the new age of social media changing there was soon going to be another player in the game. Facebook came along and competed side by side with MySpace before taking over the lead. Many feel Facebook provides a better interface and it is easier to follow what companies had to offer and could even offer a customer service link that could not be provided before. Now, many can directly send customers to their web sites and hopefully get them to place an order.

Another newcomer is now making a strong impression on people and that is Twitter. People basically say what they are doing in just a few characters and need to make a quick and witty comment in order for people to Tweet it to others. The real benefit to Twitter is you can just make quick comments and do not have to have an elaborate site. Business benefit quite a bit as they can have a saying of the day or another similar idea that will get people talking about their company. Free advertising is the best.

Over the past 10 years social media has really changed how the business world acts. I am sure it will change again soon, but companies must act now and do the best they can with the current resources at hand. The real question to ask would be is it worth it? I would argue it is very worth it and almost essential to business today.

The benefits of social media are many. Business can now access more and more customers for free. All those sites are free and that gets the companies’ name into millions of new homes that would never have been seen before. These sites also allow you to post specials, download coupons, and use other forms of marketing that were not available 10 – 15 years ago. Almost all of the Fortune 500 companies use social media in one way or another. I am sure their marketing departments love the fact these media outlets are free resources to use to promote their goods or services. The only real cost to them is the labor hours incurred in updating their sites.

Not all businesses use social media for the same reason though.Some do it to push sales while others do it to inform the consumers. Many people and companies have their specific reasons to use it.

What are your reasons?