Staying safe

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In my April 2nd post, I provided information on how social media networks help organizations to grow and become more profitable. Today’s post will be focussed on personal usage of social media. It is no secret that Facebook is now the most popular social media platform used for connecting with everyone. Twitter also does a good job at connecting celebrities with their fan bases and vice versa. One problem with this is that Gen Y and Gen Z users seem to share everything online – whether its for buying delicious ice cream or getting a new hair cut for the second time that week; there is no privacy.

During the weekend, a good friend of mine had her Facebook account ‘copied’ (where someone created another account with the same name, profile picture and went on to add all the same friends and family members). Not too long ago, another family friend had her account hacked, where the counterfeit person gave out a bank account number, asking friends and family to give money for a situation that did not exist. Advancements of technology increases hacking and it is good practice to be familiar with our privacy and security options/settings on social networks and on your devices as well. While social networks’ main priority is to create safe communicating environments online, it is a good idea to always be alert! Be safe when you are storing personal details online. Here’s a video that can help you with the basics :)

Old is Gold

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Old is Gold
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

So I attended a good friend’s birthday a couple of hours ago, and there was this rather strapping older man who asked if all the young adults in the room used Facebook. He wasn’t too impressed to find out that everyone had a Facebook account. He mentioned he never could find out why we were so attracted to something that requires so much attention in a day… this got me thinking (and sometimes, brainstorming for me can be a disastrous event :P ). Everyone spends a lot of time online, even if it’s just browsing through different sites… but why do we do it? Is it because of all the flashing lights and colours of advertisements? Is it just because we enjoy procrastination? Is it because we’re still trying to keep up with what technology and the internet has to offer?

What if the internet wasn’t introduced? Would we still be trading and conducting business at such an exponential rate? Would we have the opportunities to get our products out on the market (at all)? Organisations are using the internet and social media networks as a perfect platform to throw information out to the global public. But do we all have to be online to know about products and services? Not entirely. Word of mouth is one great platform that loosely falls under SM networks. For the older folks who still have not had a good grip on internet and its works, they are limited to the information they already have about products and services they only know about so far. Some of the older generations only have knowledge of what may have been passed down from generations before theirs.

Although, with the internet and aid of SM networks, information is spread at such a rate that even our elders are jumping into the bandwagon of social networking. As of February, 2012, in the United States, about 34% of internet-users aged 65 and older use networking sites such as Facebook to communicate and connect with friends and family. Emails (although is still a method of social networking), has now lost all popularity- everything is shared through ‘Status updates’, or ‘Tweets’… So, if we didn’t have social media networks, would the organizations around the world be as successful as they are right now? We can safely assume SM networks now play an important role in an organization’s profitability.

Finally, I raise the question: is old, gold? or is the only way for an organization to grow is to take risks and adapt to change?

Joining the Revolution

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So, we saw that social networking can have advantages and disadvantages, but one thing is sure: social media has changed the way small businesses reach out to new markets and interact with their customers.  From Facebook to Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn, social media has quickly become a popular platform to exposing their businesses globally.

Social Media (SM) does a superb job at redirecting the public to a company’s website, therefore increasing their website traffic. Once consumers/ customers visits an organization’s site, they can learn more about the organization, products and services. Most companies nowadays take the opportunity to create online Stores where customers can purchase products and services without even leaving their homes. What with us being all ‘tech-savvy’ (which is just another term to say that we’re pretty much ‘lazy‘), this is a sweet deal.

Reckon customers bother about how user-friendly your website is? You bet your grand aunt’s dentures they do! SM helps to create personality for your business! (Advertisements don’t really give you much space to display your company’s products).  Successful companies spend a lot of time and money on branding. Strategy: be yourself, be fun, post regularly and respond to your customers online. Simple :)

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Reaching out to your customers nowadays has become easier through SM; I cannot stress this enough. Instead of sending the newbie who just joined your company to go earn his/her way into the work culture; and letting them do the hard yards of phoning customers to announce discounts and promotions, organizations turn to popular media networks such as Twitter or Facebook to get more people into their stores. Simply send out an instant message advertising special discounts (also providing a code or password for the discount). This technique shows customers that you value their loyalty to your organization enough that you give rewards, and it also gives you an idea of who or how many people follow your posts.

Marketing campaigns can be costly for a small business who is just starting up. Social media gives organizations the opportunity to  generate buzz without spending too much money. Trade shows are an important ‘rite of passage’ for most small organizations. It is extremely important to generate enough buzz for their products and services to bring in foot traffic to their booths. I read in another blog that the use of social networks such as Twitter can act in turn as an ‘amplifier’ for pre-show rush. A helpful tool would be to use Video posts of product previews or reviews; and post it on social media network channels to get people interested in your products.

SM attracts costumers with Geo-location.  SM geo-location apps report a specific location of one user/ consumer to other users. This acts as another way to generate buzz and build brand awareness. These apps also help business owners to connect with their customers; they may also provide promotions or discounts for customers who use geo-location apps to check-in to their sites.

Lastly, SM networks do not only create customer-to-customer relations, it also creates business-to-business relationships. Connecting with other entrepreneurs  and businesses can create a strong contact base for your company and can benefit the company/ organization in the long term.

Yay or Nay

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Yay or Nay

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Hello, my beautiful bloggers and fellow followers! If you read my previous post, Genesis,  I briefly discussed why I chose to blog about social media networks and how it can/ may help businesses facilitate communication and build strong business relationships. In this post, I wil be discussing what I, personally, think social networking is actually contributing to organisations and the pros and cons of venturing through the ‘information superhighway‘  (aka the new space age technology called the Internet). I shall save you the suspense and dive right into it. Do note that benefits of social networks rely, or are based on, the media network platform type, attributes and the company itself.

From a business perspective: social media networking programs may allow corporations and/or organisations to improve communication and productivity by distributing or circulating information amongst and between different groups of employees in a more efficient manner, resulting in increased yield/ profitability. It has been a common quote, “Information is power…”, and in a world that is half lived online, information is easily considered to exceed many expectations of business sectors. The lists below will summarize a few advantages and disadvantages for a business who decides they are brave enough to create competitive advantage through the platform of social networking.

Some possible advantages: 

  1. encourages open communication, which leads on to increased information discovery (exposure) and delivery
  2. provides opportunities for businesses to increase contacts
  3. targets an extremely wide audience, making it a very useful and effective recruiting tool
  4. gives employees the opportunity to discuss ideas openly, post news, ask questions and share links
  5. improves client base and business reputation with minimal use of adverts
  6. expands and diversifies market research, implements marketing campaigns, and delivers communications and regulates movements of interested people to specific websites.

Disadvantages: 

with technology advancing and every detail being recorded on the internet, social networks:

  1. open up possibilities of hackers to commit fraud, send spam, and viruses.
  2. highly increases the risk of people being sucked into online scams that appear genuine, resulting in data and/ or identity theft.
  3. can result in loss of employee productivity, especially if employees are busy updating profiles or statuses instead of doing work during working hours.
  4. may result in a negative environment or create potential legal consequences for employees or for the organization as a whole if employees tend to be a little cheeky and social networking sites to view objectionable, offensive or illicit material.

One of the main worries of introducing social networks in the working environment is the sharing of personal information. Even the most cautious individual can give away information they should not; the same relates to what is posted on company-approved social networking platforms.

Employees may be oblivious of how their actions online may compromise the security of the company. They must be educated as to how a simple click on a link or an application can result in a virus infecting their computer and the entire network. Advise employees and make sure they are careful not to click on suspicious links and share personal information online. A note to leave you with- just because many employees have online profiles, it doesn’t fully mean that they also have a high level of security awareness.

While social networks can help to expand an organization, and help increase profits, it can also be harmful or a liability to the company if it is misused (0r not fully understood correctly). Look out for my next blog where I ramble on about how companies and organisations can use social networking platforms to become profitable, and to use these networks sensibly. Happy Easter!

Genesis

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New perspectives. From the introduction of the World Wide Web to the many advancements in technology, social media networks has joined in on the bandwagon of innovative communication platforms in technology. I have been asked to write up a blog about social media networks and how online social networking facilitates communication, builds business relationships, and generates new business opportunities- as part of an assignment for my Tertiary course. I have a somewhat general knowledge of social media networks; therefore, I shall start with a definition of Social Media: Social media includes “…various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources…” . Social media can be anything from images, audio, text, podcasts, videos etc. So, in the most basic form, social media networking is displaying/ sharing information in the form of multimedia communications via the internet.

Some of you are well into the realm of social networking (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc), and have reaped the benefits that social networks may yield. But for those who are late adapters (or have a phobia of joining the throng of online users) , fear no more! I am here to shed light on this topic, and, hopefully, give you a new perspective.  Social media networks have been proven to be advantageous to many companies in terms of exposure to the public, and this will be a good start to this topic. I will be blogging about possible advantages and disadvantages of introducing social networking in the business environment in my next post. Stay tuned!