Facebook has emerged as probably the most effective of the social networking applications. Even the big brands strive to have a Facebook account in an effort to communicate with customers through this extremely widespread and addictive media.
But is it a blessing or a curse for businesses? When time is money and companies are pouring time into fruitless Facebook updates and employees are sneaking onto Facebook for frequent or long periods during working hours, are businesses actually losing out?
A question for many businesses is if to embrace, ignore or declare war on social media. It offers a business opportunity to some degree, but can also adversely affect productivity in the workplace with distracted employees and perhaps too much focus on less effective, secondary media marketing.
Firstly, businesses must understand and consider the social media concept. Would you let the general public, former employees or disgruntled customers update your corporate website content? In some ways this is what's happening if your business is open to social media. Monitoring activity on a regular basis is essential for all businesses to ensure brand protection and content integrity.
In terms of business opportunity the keyword here is "social". If there is a social aspect to a business, then embracing social media can lead to new or improved customer relations. However, a different "social" approach is required when trying to apply business marketing to the social environment. Straight forward sales marketing doesn't work so well, whereas recommendation from friend to friend can be very effective and carries a lot of weight within social media communities.
If there isn't a social side to a business, then things are a little more tricky and a more creative approach is required. Businesses should not feel pressured into incorporating a public social media aspect into their business model if it's not suitable or time is an issue - better to have no social media than inactive or unmonitored accounts. Business networking sites (such as LinkedIn) involve far less maintenance and may be of more value in this case.
Social media access in the workplace and concerns about lost productivity and employee privacy are increasing. Social networking isn't going to go away. You can block Facebook on every PC in your office - staff will simply switch to their personal device and continue. On the other side of the fence, some employers have been known to covertly use social media to assess prospective or current employees. Some kind of amnesty or a defined company policy could be the answer.
Designated company PCs with break-time access or allowing an open office with visible personal and work related multi-tasking going on could provide a compromise (ideally using company PCs for work and personal devices for social networking). Finding some kind of useful way of harnessing all this input to help with company communication is even better, but care should be taken to avoid unwanted connections, privacy issues and "gossip" which social media is really all about.
Here are a few links to several views and stories expressing the reality and power of social media, and Facebook in particular. Maybe you agree with these views. Maybe you don't. Whatever our personal feelings are, both business and society has to accept that social media is becoming an addiction and more and more people just can't live without it.
The meteoric rise of mobile devices has lead web design into a much more visual arena. As fingers become a familiar navigation device, the small screen "tap" is catered for with a much more visual approach.
Bigger brands such as Google, YouTube, adidas and Virgin Active have gone for "less is more" site updates with bigger graphics, big and simple navigation and a lot less text. Many are using grey / black as site colour schemes and letting the images do the talking via animated galleries.
This is proving to be successful as user demand moves ever closer to video content and information you listen to and watch rather than scroll and read. Online users appreciate any site that loads quickly and gets you there without the need to figure out how. Websites are now closely associated the new generations of mobile phones and users are expecting the same ease of use.
The race is on and many businesses are converting their websites to responsive layouts which smoothly transition from desktop to smartphones - all within one version of the files. Contact TSM to find out more.