Business Applications for Social Networks Essay.

Business Applications for Social Networks Essay.

Everywhere one goes – restaurants, banks, stores, you name it – one often sees advertisements for that business’ Internet counterpart. This may take the form of offers to sign up for email newsletters, to follow the business on Twitter, or to “like” the business on Facebook. These businesses are reaching out to consumers where the consumers spend a great deal of time: on the Internet, namely on social networking services. Business Applications for Social Networks Essay.This represents the broadest and best application of social networking from a business perspective – contacting the consumer where the consumer is, using the language the consumer uses. But there are other applications of social networks that businesses can employ.

It is important first to understand what social networks are. They are “primarily a means of online interaction with individuals” that “allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semipublic profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (“The Business,” 2011, p. 127). These networks include such services as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and LinkedIn. These sites allow users to connect with others who may share similar tastes and preferences.

In understanding the nature of social networks, their applications in business contexts begin to emerge. Since most of these services are free, they offer a cost-effective means of making contact with consumers, who represent potential clients. Social networks provide businesses with the opportunity to “connect, share, and become visible” (“The Business, 2011, p. 129) with little to no financial investment. Business Applications for Social Networks Essay.Though it is worth mentioning that Facebook does offer the option of allowing profiles to promote statuses or postings, but this option does have a cost, but Facebook does permit the profile to set up a budget to control costs.


These platforms also enable consumers to participate in the business (so to speak) of promotion. Research shows that when making decisions regarding purchases, consumers tend to listen to the “recommendations, suggestions, and personal advice” of their family and friends (Kalpaklioglu & Toros, 2011, p. 4113). This word-of-mouth advertising method is also cost-effective since it requires no investment on the part of the business. If a consumer has a good experience with a business, they are likely to comment on it on a social network, thereby “spreading the good word” of their experience. Word-of-mouth advertising is considered a viral marketing technique, and social networks encourage and facilitate this kind of viral marketing.
The platforms these social networks run on permit a variety of media, from simple text to photographs to video to games. This element offers businesses a variety of ways to entice consumers. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, viral marketing is a very effective technique. Most social networks like Facebook or Vine allow users to share and repost media that they encounter. This allows that “good word” to spread quickly, where that “good word” manifests as deliberately constructed marketing campaigns that are spread by the consumers themselves as they share videos and pictures. It also allow users unique ways of interacting with brands through methods like “advergaming” where businesses create games that also function as advertisements (Kalpaklioglu & Toros, 2011, p. 4116).

Social networks also afford businesses the ability to test marketing campaigns and to mine information without having to invest too many resources in focus groups or market research. Social networks often allow for the creation of groups based on common interests. This creates ready-made focus groups where businesses can go to gather intelligence and gauge interest in products or promotions. Though mining these groups for information may be difficult and time-consuming, they represent the audiences businesses are trying to reach. Business Applications for Social Networks Essay.

So far, the ways in which businesses use social networks have revealed many pros to using social networks. One of the biggest pros is how cost-effective these resources can be. Since most sites are free, businesses can create profiles which allow users to interact with them in ways not possible on static websites. Businesses are afforded low-costs solutions to advertising and outreach. Most sites also permit ads, so businesses are able to pay for ads as well; on Facebook, profiles can promote ads, though this costs money. But profiles can establish budgets for promotion that allow them to spend money wisely. The social networks also offer feedback mechanisms and points of contact that users already know (“The Business,” 2011, p. 129). Since many of these sites have platforms that allow a variety of media, businesses can employ different media to reach different audiences.

However, with pros come cons. Social network profiles can be vulnerable to hacking; unauthorized users can gain access to accounts and do malicious damage. Viral marketing is great, but it can be unpredictable and “does not guarantee the desired consequences” (Kalpaklioglu & Toros, 2011, p. 4127). Messages not directed at the right audience (for example, informal messages targeting professions, or formal messages targeting casual consumers) will go awry. Timing can be tricky (“The Business,” 2011). Business Applications for Social Networks Essay.And, as always, effective advertising must be followed up with a quality produce or service; a good campaign will not make up for a bad product or service (“The Business,” 2011). In addition to these cons, it must be remembered that these are social sites, so harassment, persecution, and other negative social phenomenon can come into play.

Despite these cons, social networks afford businesses many tools with which to promote their goods and services; make contact with consumers; communicate important messages; and do this all in a cost-effective manner.

  • The business of social media: How to plunder the treasure trove. (2011). Reference & User
    Services Quarterly, 51(2), 127-132.
  • Kalpaklioglu, N., & Toros, N. (2011). Viral marketing tecniques within online social network. Journal Of Yasar University, 6(24), 4112-4129. Business Applications for Social Networks Essay.

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