The impact of social networking on eBusiness has been a mixed blessing, although people are still learning how best to use the technology.
Impact of Social Networking on eBusiness
On the plus side of things, social networking is helping online enterprises become more focused on their customers than ever before. Businesses are finding out what people want and delivering those things much more quickly. Company executives believe they have more control over their businesses' reputations on the Internet because they can influence people's perceptions in cyberspace. This also applies to how an online company is viewed by suppliers and as a competitor to other companies. Social networking technology can help online businesses learn more about what their competition is doing and respond rapidly.
Customers who participate in social networks are feeling more empowered in their interactions with eBusinesses. People are seeing businesses responding to the opinions people post online and that makes customers feel like they're having more influence on businesses' behavior.
The continued growth of social networking technology is helping more businesses achieve goals that had previously been almost unreachable. Before the advent of social networks, viral marketing, in which friends or associates recommended products and services to each other, was considered more of an ideal than a reality. Today, companies can call word-of-mouth marketing a proven phenomenon.Social networking is reducing eBusinesses' communication expenses, especially for online businesses that maximize their use of the technology. Direct messaging, chat rooms and blog features on these networks have all lowered the cost of communicating within an online business. The savings are often greater for conversations with suppliers and customers, where businesses can replace long-distance phone calls with free online messaging. Employees are more quickly finding colleagues and partners who possess desired knowledge, and just as readily exchanging that data. Similarly, customers can find answers to their questions without the lengthy waits associated with telephone customer service.
Ebusinesses continue to gain more efficiencies as the number of people using the technology grows. Companies are maintaining one-to-one marketing strategies regardless of how large the number of customers or partners involved gets.These networks are making recruitment efforts more precise and reducing the cost and time involved in recruiting. Online businesses and their recruiters search online for qualified candidates on professional networking sites like LinkedIn.com for less than it costs to buy a job advertisement. Ebusinesses are able to spend less time on hiring because they don't have to sift through hundreds of responses to a job advertisement. Employment candidates usually appreciate the convenience of getting approached by recruiters online.
Among businesses whose employees work from home or remotely, social networks are recreating the camaraderie associated with office spaces. The technology is helping companies build stronger personal relationships with suppliers and clients, nurture a sense of teamwork among employees, and foster collaboration and creativity among staff and business partners. People working in isolated locations feel less lonely when social networking software is deployed.
The flip side of these benefits are that some employees of online businesses become less productive or distracted when given access to social networks during work hours. While professional social networks and enterprise platforms seem to pose fewer distractions than other types of systems, the technology nonetheless reminds some people of the nonprofessional social networks.
Employees who don't manage their usage of social networks during work hours can see signs of it in poor peformance reviews. Even leisure time use of these platforms becomes a workplace issue now that employers are beginning to do Internet keyword searches of their employees' names. This practice is increasingly occurring as part of recruitment, and job seekers with indiscreet online profiles are discovering that unprofessional behavior on social networks can hurt future job prospects.
Advertising on social networks has had mixed results so far. Many consumers find targeted ads on these sites to be intrusive and untrustworthy. When people do click on the banner ads, the visitors don't stay on the advertising eBusinesses' sites long enough to buy anything.
An eBusiness saves the most money from social networks when the technology replaces legacy systems and offline practices. A lot of companies are still in an interim stage, in which social networking still supplements older business practices. Having both in place only makes social networking more expensive, rather than a cost saver.
Social networking is still a new enough phenomenon that enterprises that are not yet having success with the technology most likely will hit their stride in coming years. More of an impact of social networking on eBusiness will come as the technology matures and continues to attract more consumers.