How Social Media Has Forever Changed the Way We Communicate.

              Social-Networks

At first I thought taking a computers course in school was going to be a big mistake. I thought to myself, I am not going to succeed because I know nothing about computers, and I am far from being a technical savvy individual. However, I quickly realized how wrong I had been and that computers are surrounding us in our everyday lives without even realizing. The transformation of technology has been the biggest impact on our society, especially in the past decade with the introduction of cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and easier access to the internet all together.

One of the biggest transformations our generation has witnessed is the evolution of social media. It has been nine years since Mr. Zuckerberg changed the way we interact and communicate with eachother. It is crazy to think that nine years ago social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, & Pinterest did not exist. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, social networking has grown faster and changed more than any other Internet activity. Pew Research first started their research in 2005, they asked how many internet users were active in the realm of social media. Only 8% of internet users used social media to communicate, which was only 5% of all adults. According to their research taken in 2013, 67% of adults online utilize social networking sites.

Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all witnessed rapid growth from the early adaption stage, and that is because of the instant gratification it brings to it’s users. Social platforms have been made easy to access since 56% of adults own a smartphone, with social media apps built right into the software making it easier to take and share photos as well as communicate with everyone in your social network.

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With all of the advancement with technology the way we communicate has forever changed, especially within the business context. With the rapid growth of social networking, businesses have started to realize the potential profit as well. A recent article in Forbes Magazine talks about the “5 Ways Social Media Will Change The Way You Work in 2013”. In 2012, 73% of Fortune 500 companies were active on Twitter, and more than 80% of executives believed social media engagement led to overall increased sales. Companies believe that being active with social media have led to better insight into customer behaviour  improved office productivity internally, and increased the measurement of ROI (return on investment).

According to Forbes Magazine, the first way social media has impacted the workforce is through improved communications and collaboration by working as a “productivity tool”. An example of this is how HR (Human Resource) departments are using social media to connect with job seekers making the application process more simplified by generating and tracking leads. Executives are now viewing social platforms as serious business tools to increase efficiency and performance within the office.

The second transformation we will witness in 2013 will be the decline in email usage due to the introduction of better communication channels. Popular networks like Facebook and Evernote have enabled employees to share ideas and form virtual work groups on message boards, making content more accessible and viewable to the entire organization.

The third change will be evident through social media command centers. Since the amount of incoming and outgoing messaging and content through social media is such a significant a amount, large organizations have hired outside partners to manage their social media platforms. Companies such as Hootsuite make it easier for large organizations such as the National Hockey League (NHL), Gatorade, Dell & 79 other companies on Fortune’s 500 to monitor, analyze and track all of their content from tweets, likes, and customer engagement on one single screen or smartphone. Since social media technology has become more maintstream, businesses and organizations are now more eager to make sense of the valuable social data to better understand their customer’s needs through real-time analysis.

The fourth change will be seen seen through the compliance of proper social behavior. Since everything you say and do is now captured through the content you post to social platforms, it is important for companies to responsibly manage their reputation they present to the market. This will be a new concept for individuals since social media use to be a place where people were able to freely voice their opinions and views, however since social media has become an important business tool, it is necessary for organizations to take it seriously.

Lastly, international and niche social networks will present new challenges to the business world. Due to the rapid growth, social media is constantly changing by adding new networks. This year Instagram has already witnessed it’s share of social media traffic grow by 17,319% which will only increase now that they have introduced a new video feature.

Due to this dramatic growth companies will have adapt quickly to the unpredictable advancements in order to stay current with their consumers. I read in the article that last year Harvard Business Review surveyed 2,100 companies and found that 79% use social media, but only 12% felt they were using it to it’s full potential. Forbes predicts this gap to close in 2013 as companies start to institutionalize social practices.

After completing this research I came to the conclusion that any company that claims to be “customer-focused”, and doesn’t have social media built into their business plan would not be unsuccessful in the long run. Companies that takes their social media interaction very seriously are brands such as Virgin Mobile, Burberry, and the San Diego Zoo. Although each of these companies are very different, they all have a similar goal in mind and that is to build solid customer relationships through the communication medium that is constantly evolving.

Each of the three video’s below, show how each of these three companies manage their social media activity and strengthen their relationships with their consumers whether it be through photographs, messaging content, or promotion.

Link:http://vimeo.com/68657376

Link: http://www.salesforce.com/ca/customers/stories/burberry.jsp

Link: http://blog.hootsuite.com/the-virgin-story/

In conclusion, it is very important for businesses in today’s society to stay current with their consumer’s needs by evolving with the growth of technology and social media. Angela Ahrendts the CEO of Burberry made a very important statement within the video posted above, that I strongly believe every business in today’s society should follow if they want to create positive customer experiences.

“We are challenging ourselves constantly to stay ahead of the curve, be it mobile, be it social, be it physical they are all one, life is forever blurred. I grew up in a physical world and I speak English, the next generation is growing up in a digital world and they speak social. Whether your talking to customers or employees you have to do it on a social platform, because that is the language they speak.” – Angela Ahrendts CEO of Burberry115465111_angela_349835c