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By now, we are all aware that social media has had a tremendous impact on our culture, in business, on the world-at-large. Social media websites are some of the most popular haunts on the Internet…

Social media and networks are big business–and big for YOUR business.

Social networks are no longer little communities off to the side, but have become, in my opinion, more of the embodiment of what the Internet “is” than the world wide web–especially to the younger generation.

To be competitive in business, understanding how social media affects society and how it can be leveraged is key to gaining traction against the competition.

Here is a closer look at the effect of social media on politics, business, socialization as well as some of the negative effects such as cyber bullying and privacy. […]

Impact on Business

Net savvy companies are using social media to advertise their products, build customer loyalty and many other functions. Interactions and feedback from customers help businesses to understand the market, and fine-tune their products and strategies. Many firms organize contests and give away prizes to enthuse consumers to visit their social website page more often. Compared to television advertisements and other expensive forms of marketing, social media presence is a cheap and effective means to enhance brand image and popularity.

The potential for B2B and B2C connections via social networking is incredibly powerful, but double-edged. Good news travels fast, bad news gets retweet to millions. Keeping a close eye on your brand and the health of your organization on social network can become a full time job.

  • Watch for the effects of positive and negative press regarding your brand and address any inaccuracies–but NEVER falsify,
  • Keep the brand, message, and copy consistent across multiple social networks,
  • Leverage each social network for what it’s best at–engage everywhere, but understand the longevity of a tweet vs. a Facebook post.

Impact on Productivity

Many companies have blocked social networks on their office Internet as addicted employees can distract themselves on such sites, instead of focusing on work. In fact, studies show that British companies have lost billions of dollars per year in productivity because of social media addiction among employees.

I’ve worked for both sides of the “block all the thingz” argument and I believe it comes down to company culture over rules. Mobiles, tablets, and other devices work just fine to reach social networking sites, so blocking it on internal networks rarely prevents the usage. Rather than blocking it, I’d suggest teaching and building a company culture that reaches out and uses social networking. - Connect with knowledge experts to solve problems faster and more efficiently, - Reach out to potential customers and “beta” brand ideas with almost zero overhead.

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