Living in a Connected World 2018/In what ways does the practice of copywriting shape the affordance of platforms and websites?

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How does the evolution of social media influence business communication?[edit]

Introduction[edit]

Generally, consumers use social media to access content content simply and directly in the way of reading, watching, and touching. With the rapid development of social media and the increase of social media platforms, more and more consumers prefer to create and share information with the help of the Internet. According to Mangold and Faulds (2009), the technology is enjoying increasing popularity and attention due to its ability to connect hundreds of thousands of people and allow them to interact with each other. This way, new ways of reaching markets have emerged, which - almost inevitably - has changed the tools and strategies businesses use to communicate with their customers (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Moreover, businesses use social media to improve their business communication not only with their customers but internally as well. How did this disruption occur? Why is social media so powerful that it could radically disrupt business communication? The following essay will explore how of social media influences and transformed business communication.

This piece will aim to explore the literature around social media and business communication from which an argument will be formulated with regards to the influence of social media on business communication. In order to underpin the arguments, this essay uses case examples.

Social Media and Business Communication[edit]

Social media icon

According to Kietzmann et al. (2011), social media is defined as highly interactive platforms which allow its users to interact with each other and with content. It is a tool for communication, sharing and creating content, as well as a technology which allows users to have an online presence (Meikle, 2016). Statistics show that in July 2016, approximately 1.13 billion people use social media on a daily basis (Larosiliere et al., 2016). One of the most common form of social media is social networking sites. One of the major contributions to social media literature is that of boyd & Ellison (2007), who provided a definition for social networking sites and explored their main components and characteristics. According to boyd & Ellison (2007), social networking sites are web-based services that allow individuals to create an online profile within a bounded system, create a list of connections with people they know, and create mutual connections with them. Some of the early versions of these social networking sites included MySpace and the early version of Facebook. Today, some of the most popular social media platforms include:

Popular Social Media Platforms
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Snapchat
Reddit
WhatsApp
Tinder
Google+

Each of these platforms is highly interactive and allow direct communication with others. Social media has been studies across many academics fields in order to gain a deeper understanding of its nature. One such field is the are of impression management, self-presentation, and friendship performance, where individuals are able to create and maintain an online representation of themselves (boyd & Ellison, 2007). Donath and Boyd (2004) expand on this by adding that online identities play an important role in getting by in the online world. This leads us to assume that the same is true for not individuals, but for businesses as well. Businesses can create an online representation of themselves, which others see and interact with. This is a radical development in their way of reaching their target market.

Social Media as a Data Hub[edit]

Ellison and boyd (2007) also argue that social networking sites are rich sources of data. The data obtained from these sites can provide useful insight for businesses to understand their market's behaviour, as well as to conduct market research. Moreover, by actively participating in discussions with customers, businesses can build trust with their customers. Porter and Donthu (2008) conducted a study in which they examined how trust is developed in virtual communities. They found that although members of a virtual community value interaction, organisations must be more interactive if they are to cultivate trust and provide further value to their customers. In addition to this, interaction creates more data which businesses can analyse in order to gain an even better understanding of their customers and market demand.

Although there is a clear consensus in the literature that social media has been enjoying an increasing popularity (Kietzmann et al., 2011). However, since the technology is fairly new, there is still many uncertainties around it. For instance, Carpenter et al. (2016) found that higher education institutions are still unsure as to how to apply social media effectively to their marketing strategy. Nevertheless, it is unambiguous that social media is transforming the way businesses and institutions communicate.

Transforming Business Communication[edit]

Social media opened up communication channels for business to promote and advertise their products. One of the most important advantages of social networking sites is the fact that that's where everyone's attention is. This way, it is a lot easier for managers to identify the communication channels through which they aim to advertise and promote their products. The literature around social media has been studying the technology from several perspectives related to business communication. For instance, Mangold and Faulds (2009) argued that social media has become a hybrid element of the promotion mix. They state that the technology enables businesses to talk to their customers, but it also enables customers to talk directly to one another. In a sense, this creates virtual communities around the brand or business. Virtual communities are defined as social groups where the members' psychological and cultural qualities align, thus creating mutual interests and connectivity without physical connection (Parks, 2011). There is still a lack of consensus as to whether social media and social networking sites are virtual communities, but it can be argued that virtual communities can emerge via social media and social networking sites. In a sense, businesses can be regarded as the role models or opinion leaders of their virtual communities, which obviously radically changes the way they reach their customers. Mangold and Faulds (2009) also state that another key element added to business communication by social media is the fact that the technology opened space for discussion. Customers can now discuss and share their experiences with the business they interact with, which then can be seen by other members of the community.

H&M-Logo

To put in context, a bad review, or even a misinterpretation of an online piece of media can have significant impact on the business's image. Such was the case with H&M, where the company promoted one of their products online. The inscription on the jumper said "Coolest monkey in the jungle" and was worn by an afro-american child. This caused a massive indignation on the internet, and also resulted in a group of locals smashing an H&M store. This example supports the argument that the social media presence of companies are in the forefront of attention and therefore should be used with caution and efficiency at the same time. Furthermore, this goes beyond the members of H&M's virtual community, as it can be seen and read by everyone who is on the internet.

According to boyd (2012), in some instances, individuals can have an online self and an offline self. This essay argues that, in a sense, businesses can be regarded as online entities as well, because they also take part in the online interaction through social media. This form of interaction is a perfect example of two-way communication, where the sender sends a message to the receiver, who then replies, swapping the roles of the individuals communicating (Shannon, 1961). Therefore, it is assumed that boyd's concept of being "always-on" is also applicable to businesses. Not only do they represent themselves online, but also act as a body with which others can interact with.

Case Studies[edit]

A company might have multiple social media platforms and tools to develop its company image and build up the reputation, which is crucial to grasp the main and target customer. Those process can be done by the kinds of social media platform as well as internal systems which depend on different characteristics, such as interests, preferences, behavior, location, website or kinds of app, engagement-based targeting etc.

White Elephant[edit]

Social media has transformed the ways of business communication. Especially from one culture to another, social media has the responsibility to transform the business matter and different culture.

Science 1990s, social media not only changed the tools and strategies businesses use to communicate with their customers (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Shanghai White Elephant Swan Battery Co., Ltd was usually known by Shanghai Battery Factory, it gains a good reputation in domestic and abroad market and has a heavy duty battery specialized manufacture history of seventy years, especially in Asian countries. However, when White Elephant come to West market, although The White Elephant with high quality and acceptable price, it still unsalable. Because they ignored the importance of business communication. For the reason that the white elephant means an expensive possession cost a lot but the lock of disposing of, particularly for maintenance which is out of the use or loses proportion. At that time, The White Elephant did not have an organized feedback system, even did not get enough preparation for the business communication with local customs and other battery suppliers.

KFC and Wechat[edit]

The crucial to KFC's success in the country has been catering its menu to local tastes. And KFC is the most popular fast food chain in China so far now. KFC dominates the country's fast-food landscape, which with more than 5,000 chains cross 1,100 cities around China. KFC was the first American fast food chain to launch in China, and opening its first China branch in 1987. It quickly became a symbol of the country's rapidly reforming economy and newfound openness to the world.

To be the corporation, there is anther succeed business communication example (Harrison Jacobs 2018). When KFC came to the Chinese Market, they found some dishes on the menu are unsalable. So they made the full use of Wechat, which is a Chinese social media platform to build their local company image, as well as reputation. Firstly, KFC made a Wechat Offical Account to display their new menu and call for people to mark them with satisfaction from price, taste, and looks. This initiative retrieved a number of customers. On one hand, KFC got the in time feedback from the customer and made an interactive to change their menu in order to adaption. At the same time, they made fully market research and found out although the major of the white collar prefer to choose KFC package for breakfast, they still miss the traditional Chinese dishes with rice for the beginning of a busy day. So KFC collected big data and feedback on people’s expectation in store and online (especially on the official account) for new local dishes to improve their sale. While KFC updated their menu immediately with Teriyaki Chicken Chop Rice and other Chinese traditional food to perfect and enhance their menu. Business communication not the unique for companies, but also including consumers’ react. A benign business communication cycle can benefit company and customer.

These are the marketing agencies, but they are really they change the thinking of people but these are the best way to do market just any product. The spread of KFC also changed the Chinese mind of fast food. Several years before, fast food is considered junk food, quick and cheap. Gradually, post a picture of eating at KFC on the Wechat moment became a new fashion. Nowadays, KFC was seen as an "exciting, unique, and brand-new experience never before encountered… like taking a tour of America, with all its connotations: political, cultural, time, and space — real or imaginary."(Harrison Jacobs 2018).

In terms of the sale in 2016 in China, KFC holds 11.6% of the market share, according to Euromonitor, far ahead of McDonald's 5.6%.

Facebook[edit]

Compared with Wechat, Facebook has been a unique social media platform, which can not be copied by Instagram, We talk, and other social media platforms.

Facebook as a social media platform, it has become a dependent company. According to the annual Facebook report in 2016, the profit of Facebook was more than 27.64 billion dollars, as well as the revenue keeps growing with 23% as a result of the increase of the user of the mobile phone. ( Alexander V. Laskin) Facebook has acquired 65 companies around the world with the amount of 23 billion dollars in order to improve the kinds of features of their website since 2009. After finishing that, the Facebook set up their business, which including adding different features origin from the companies it has acquired made some adaptions and acquisitions aim to match the mobile phone sector better. Facebook also purchased Instagram and Whatsapp with the price of 1 billion dollars and 19 billion dollars in order to make investments in social media platforms.

The ultimate objective of the Facebook campaign is to determine the ad formula as well as the bidding options. Facebook provides different goals, which can be categorized into three categories. They are considered as consideration, awareness, and conversion (Scholz, 2017). In the beginning, the consideration of Facebook is just a communication tool among colleges. In order to enhance the number of the user, Facebook added some little functions as well as make a communication circle. A monthly active user or MAU is referred as a registered Facebook user who has logged in to the Facebook account through the mobile phone or computer or used the Facebook messenger system to chat with the friends for at least one in the last thirty days period (Gebika, 2014).

In the Facebook marketing environment, through the creation of the business manager account, the registered advertisers can optimize their Facebook pages as well as the ad accounts both and after setting up the information of accounts, and after completing the other formalities, they can be the part of the campaigns of Facebook (Carr, 2008).

Conclusion[edit]

Social media has radically changed communication, which can be observed on a daily basis. Any kind of social media is the marketing agencies, to some degree, it really they change the thinking of people but these are the best way to do market just any product. There is tangible evidence that the technology has changed not only the way we communicate, but also how businesses communicate. The traditional ways of reaching out the market are long gone, instead, customers and businesses interact with each other everyday through social media. Feedback is instant and data about consumer preferences are faster than ever. It is up to the business to filter the relevant data and make the most out of it in order to further enhance its communication and improve its overall profitability.

References[edit]

  • boyd, d. (2012) ‘Participating in the Always-On Culture’ in Mandiberg (ed.) The Social Media Readerpp. 71-76
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  • Carr, N. (2008). The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google; W.W. Norton & Company: New York, NY, USA.
  • Carpenter, S., Takahashi, B., Cunningham, C., & Lertpratchya, P. A. (2016). The roles of social media in promoting sustainability in higher education. International journal of communication.10
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  • Meikle, Graham. Social media :communication, sharing and visibility. 2016
  • Scholz, T. (2017). Uberworked and Underpaid. How Workers are Disrupting the Digital Economy; Polity Press: Cambridge, UK.
  • Shannon, C. E. (1961). Two-way communication channels. In Proceedings of the Fourth Berkeley Symposium on Mathematical Statistics and Probability, Volume 1: Contributions to the Theory of Statistics. The Regents of the University of California.
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