The use of social networking is not really new on the Internet – what is new however is the growth of social media platforms are during the last few years and its impact on perceptions; especially perceptions of how we act and react in business and in the professional world.
Some say that social networking sites like Facebook reduce the importance of professional “distance” and therefore threaten professionalism. However the advent of sites like LinkedIn is a strong argument against this view. The other side of the argument is that the growth of social media and social networking has meant the democratization and humanization of business. As one commentator notes: “In his book “The Thank You Economy“, Gary Vanyerchuk proclaims that ‘Word of mouth is back!’, and he’s right. Gone are the days of getting upset at a business and telling 5 or 6 people about your experience”. (http://sellordietrying.com/2011/12/30/social-media-is-humanizing-business/)
In other words, the proliferation and sophistication of social networking sites and applications has meant a greater voice for the customer or client. The average person has about 200 friends on Facebook and another three hundred on Twitter. This has led to a change of perception not only in marketing but in how business should be run.
This view also applies to the business side – social media analytics enable the modern business to easily see how their products or services are being perceived and received by the customer via platforms such as Radian 6, and TrackUr.com. This has led to a less objective and more humanized approach to customer relations.
This sea—change as a result of social networking is reflected in the figures. An American study shows that the percentage of Americans who used social media to interact with their clients rose from 50 percent to 78 percent from 2008 to 2009. This also applies to the view the consumers feel that companies should use social networking to solve problems.
New media users overwhelmingly believe companies or brands should not only have a presence in new media (95%) but also interact with their consumers (89%).
This raises an important question – if social networking is changing perceptions, does modern business know how to interact with the social networks and how important is social networking content and management for business today?
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