The ‘likes’ and dislikes of social media in business

There’s no doubt that social media is an increasingly essential part of any firm’s marketing strategy.

In particular, this is true in the e-commerce market, where having a presence on sites such as Twitter and Facebook allow for real time interaction with an audience.

This can have a number of business advantages. Not only does it improve brand exposure, it can also help to promote the company’s reputation.

As Mike Seddon, founder of web promotion company KKSmart noted, social media allows for engagement with the consumer even when things go wrong.

“This is all about catching the negative customer feedback and putting it right.

“Anyone who knows anything about businesses knows that if you never put a foot wrong you are in fact not as popular as the guy who puts a foot wrong and puts it right,” he commented.

Mr Seddon noted the example of a customer who used Twitter and a personal blog to complain about poor service from a major phone corporation.

A representative from the company spotted this and quickly rectified the problem, which the customer then broadcast on social media, too.

Many major brands, such as Asos and Nike, use their Facebook and Twitter pages not only to advertise their products but also to start a digital conversation and offer real-time advice, which is generally a more successful way to engage consumers than a hard sell.

Social media in the workplace is, however, not always viewed in a positive light.

According to the latest research from Gartner, the majority of corporations are expected to implement formal programmes for monitoring external social media for security breaches and incidents over the next few years.

Andrew Walls, research vice president of Gartner, said: “Given that employees with legitimate access to enterprise information assets are involved in most security violations, security monitoring must focus on employee actions and behaviour wherever the employees pursue business-related interactions on digital systems.”

However, staff surveillance can increase risks as well as mitigate them, by raising issues of employee privacy.