The phenomenon of social media has seen rapid adoption among the masses. The number of monthly active users on social media applications worldwide has grown from 0.97 billion in 2010 to 2.62 billion in 2018, at a staggering rate of 13% year on year1. The introduction of social media has dramatically transformed the way in which people interact with each other, form groups and share content. This quick rise in usage can be attributed, in part, to ease of use of social media applications. The app revolution has aided the rapid adoption and meteoric growth of social media. These apps have unleashed the possibility of virtually recreating real-life social network. The possibility of engaging as groups, exchanging, and sharing is a demonstration of the inherent social behavior of human beings.
Business can also be viewed as a form of social interaction. It is possible to draw parallels between social interactions to interactions in a business scenario. It is, therefore, worthwhile to examine how social media trends can influence enterprise communication and information flow positively and how one may leverage social media trends to benefit businesses. Let us look at the top 3 reasons why enterprise systems will emulate social media
The scope of opportunity grows when one has access to large pool of potential business partners. The chance of finding a business partner with the best fit for establishing a profitable business relationship with is high in a network. Social media brings enormous strength in facilitating discovery triggered through profiling, events, messaging, sharing and invitation. Members discover each other and establish contact to assess interest before taking the business relationship forward. Good business is not always about working with whom we know; it is also about working with who is the best to know.
Helps synergize & grow
The advantage of virtual communities is the association with multiple interest groups. Each individual has multiple roles in multiple contexts. For example, a retailer could be part of a buyer community, peer trader community, brand community, location community, supply services community as well as several personal group affiliations. The power to broadcast to large number of members in different groups and learn from reduces cost of information dissemination and assimilation.
In business, the biggest challenge is to enforce fair trade practices. Putting regulatory systems in place and acting on offences involves huge costs. In social media, there is an element of self-regulated group behavior. Members need to have credibility for sustaining membership. This leads to effective self-regulation and adherence to byelaws. Thus, there is huge benefit for fair conduct of business. As they say, trust reduces transaction cost.
The Social debate
We know that social media is a powerful phenomenon. There are debates on its positive and negative impact on the individual and society. However, the truth is that technology has unleashed a powerful tool to connect individuals seamlessly. If the opportunity is utilized effectively, it can certainly disrupt the way business is conducted in the future. For businesses relying on a distribution network, the social network will become a force to reckon with!