“Social media is no longer considered a lightweight addition to the serious business of the newsroom. It is recognized as a central pillar that the newsroom depends upon to operate.” As the quote shows, social media is no longer a platform where young adults flash their emotions and complaints. Social media now connects businesses, enhances communications, and is redefining access. With the introduction of social media, business has gone from a reliable Toyota to a fancy new BMW.
Business leaders can now communicate through social networks to employees and customers all over the world. According to a Harvard Business article, “Social networks are a unique way of broadly communicating real-time messages to the audience you want to reach.” Kraft is now one of the top publishers for food related material on social media. PepsiCo has been able to reach many social entrepreneurs all through social media advertising during the Super Bowl. These examples show that top companies can now reach markets within minutes of posts instead of using traditional means of advertising and waiting days or weeks for responses. Due to the increase in communication, business is now becoming flat. Distribution of information is no longer a fear but rather an equal opportunity. Furthermore, with communication comes clarity. Leaders in the business world can now create their own accounts and reveal who they are along with what they believe in.
Connections are everything in the business world. I remember my grandfather saying, “it doesn’t matter what you know, it matters who you know”. With social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, now anyone can find anyone. If Joe wanted to get a job at a PNC Bank, he could look at LinkedIn and find that Bob is connected with a PNC Bank employee. After a few emails back and forth with his friend Bob, Joe now has an interview with Phil, Bob’s buddy from college. As simple or unique as this situation sounds, it occurs often and usually through social media.
Lastly, social media has created a new level of access for businesses and citizens. “Social media provides a new level of transparency in the business world.” If a consumer is not happy with a purchase, they can immediately take to the web and tweet, post, or blog about their issues with a product. Within seconds of the post, the company behind the product can answer the post and perform conflict resolution. The outcome could create a customer for life or a satisfied consumer. With social media, businesses are now accountable for their brands and consumers now have a voice.
Taylor Summerville (University of Vermont)
Senior at the University of Vermont who enjoys hiking and fly fishing
Rob Williams (University of Vermont)
Rob Williams, Ph.D., University of Vermont Professor of Media/Communication.