Of late social net working has become an important marketing tool in many companies. As Brotherton (2010, pp. 18- 19) notes, the move to participate in media network is a good way to make the business known to other people. This will enable the company to reach more people who are potential customers of the business and link with other partners to the business. Businesses are sharing information about their products through internet, emails, and twitter among other avenues for social networking. Management executives can join business networking groups where they can share information and exchange ideas as they discuss many topics related to business. Social networks will also enable individual to share their expertise as they interact with other business professionals. This paper analyzes the extents to which social networks are important tools for strategic management. The paper will focus on how important are the social networks to the success of the company.
NETWORKS AND BUSINESS
According to Mier and Toole (2010, p. 1025), networking play an important role in improving the performance of the organization, though the benefits that are derived from managerial networking have shown diminishing returns. Social networks in business are used as marketing tool that will help company to promote its products. Though direct networking does not have a good reputation as many view it as a shameless method for self promotion, Zack (2011, p. 22) argues that it can leads to a long lasting connections that have mutual benefits to the parties that are involved. When companies plan on their social networks, they can use it as a strategy to link the company with other companies providing similar services or other companies that may be providing other subsidiary services that company may require from time to time. Increasing the company networks will enable the company to have new suppliers, customers and other experienced professionals who may turn to be of great importance to the company. Zack advices the departments that carry promotions in a company to plan for its first appliance since it is very important and matters a lot for future connections. According to Rigsby (2011), business networking does not just involve socializing but it is a skill that one can use in order to connect him or her with other professionals that connect you with where you want to reach. He argues that business networking involves building relationships and not just about making sales. As Rigsby argues, business networking is more than friendship because it involves connecting with people from different professional who becomes resourceful assets to the business. The relationships which are developed during networking can help to take the business to another new level in terms of expertise, sales, supply and many other areas that will improve the performance of the company. For instance, networking among the bank managers will help them to acquire new expertise, ideas and innovations that one bank may not have and other banks may have. These may be in terms of new technologies that are used in banking and other industries. Thus, it is important for the companies to build relationships through social networking for they will help improve the performance of the company.
Haggerty (1999, p. 13) argues that for one to be successful in business networking, one must have the right attitude and not only a detailed database and a smile. He argues that one must have an attitude of giving and not only taking if one wants to have a successful networking. For a good social networking in business, one needs not to be selfish. When a selfish networker meets other people, he or she will see other people as possible customer for their products. Such a networker will start marketing their products and talking about their companies. Though he or she may be successful, the success will be limited to some extent and may not last long. When a successful networker finds new people, he or she will see people who can be networked with other different people. His talk with these new people is directed towards discovering the needs of other people and trying to know who can supply such needs. If the networker happens to be the one, it is alright but if he or she is not the one, he is more than willing to help in connecting people with their source. Thus for one to successful in social networking, he or she must not focus only on the needs of his or her company but on the needs of other people and companies.
Goals for networking must be set for a successful social networking. A good system for tracking will help one to follow up where necessary after the first meeting. These preparations will also involve preparation of networking tools such as brochures, contact list and business cards. This will be given out to the potential customers or other people who may have interest with the business. As part of the marketing strategy, the company must also plan for social networking in order to help the company improve its performance. All the necessary networking tools must be listed in the budget in order to make sure that enough resources are directed towards networking.
A good network system will help the company to obtain the necessary professional services. Hitchcock (2003, p. 8) argues that professional advisers are necessary in any successful business. Professionals like lawyers, accountants, financial planners, insurance brokers and bankers are needed in the planning, implementation and financing business projects. Though business may have some of these professionals in their workforce, it is very rare for the business to employ all these professionals. Thus one of the ways that business can use to get the services of all these professionals is through social networking. These occurs as business professionals interact in different social forums such as business conferences, executive leaders meetings, social clubs and other social forums that bring professionals together. In the process of interacting, business men and women will exchange ideas concerning their businesses which help to build mutual relationships between them. For instance, a professional forum may bring together lawyers and accountants. A social networking between a lawyer and accountant will help the two to exchange their professional services at a better terms compared with market ratings. The lawyer may agree to provide the legal services to the accounting firm while the accountant in return may provide the accounting and auditing services to the legal firm.
Networking will improve the performance of the company if it used in the right way. According to Roy (2003, p. 10), many people always understand the social networking concept but how to use it in order to help them improve their business performance is the problem. He continue to give some rules that will help to make the maximum use of social networks such as changing the people you meet frequently, knowing and being specific on what you want as well as having the right mind to help others. He further adds that one should continue networking even after obtaining what he or she wanted. If the company uses its networking strategies appropriately, it will continue building up its business networks which will help in improving the performance of the company. A good database for every new professional who have been met or clients with all the details about the person or the company should be maintained. This will help the company to get these professionals when the company is in need of their services. This may include the website of the company, email contacts, telephone number and other details that are relevant to the company. This will also help the management team to select the right persons for the professional needed such as legal, insurance, auditing among other services.
The department that benefits most from social networking in the company is the department of marketing. Social networking is one of the most effective tools in marketing. As Silverman (2000, PP. 1-5) argues, social networking through words that are passed verbally reaches many people who may not be reached through other means. One advantage of this method is that the marketer will interact face to face with the customer and thus get an opportunity to inform the potential client about the company and the products that are offered by the company. During their interaction, the marketer will be in a position to answer any question that the potential clients may have about the company or about the products. This will increase the chances of convicting the potential clients about the services or goods that are offered by the company and thus he or she may end up buying the products.
Social networking will help to improve direct marketing in the company. Through efficient social network system, the company is able to reach more potential customers who will help to increase the sales of the company. According to palmer and Lewis(2009, pp. 162 – 176), the current reduced cost of internet services is facilitating the networking using social network sites such as twitter, face book and many more similar sites. Low cost in communication will enable the marketers to increase their communication with the potential clients as well as the current clients. The marketers will be in a position to market their products through these social networks. Many transactions are nowadays carried on line through business and other social network sites. The company can advertise its products through social network sites such as face book, twitter and many similar sites. Many companies are now opening page in the social network sites as well as encouraging their employees to open in order to increase their interactions with their clients. Marketing personnel’s are having a one on one chatting over the internet with potential clients. This has seen great improvements in the sales of many companies which in result have increased their profits.
As Holmlund (1997, pp. 304- 309) notes, relationships are very important in business for they help to connect resources, activities and the actors in business. Without good business networks, the company may not be in a position to connect these three components of a business in order to realize profit. Miller et al (2010, p. 253) acknowledges that business networking is one of the major tools for marketing strategy for it provide links between the company and all the potential customers. Business networking is therefore part and parcel of the marketing strategy. As Traynor (2009, PP. 9-11) notes, it is difficult to do business in the 21st century without efficient network systems. For successful strategic plans, company must learn to use the social networks in order to increase the performance of the company. Executive managers must learn to use the tool of social networking in order to promote the interests of their company. Managers have to learn to link with other managers who will network them with other companies in order to obtain services from other companies.
Social networking plays an important role in the success of any company. It is a strategic tool that if well used, can open business to many other opportunities which can lead business to another new level. Social networks involve different social forums such as executive meeting, professional forums and other social gatherings for business people. It may also include meeting new people on line through social networking sites such as face book, twitter among others. These forums when they are properly used may connect the business with different professionals who can supply professional services to the company. Good social networks are also used to market the products of the company. However social network in business does not mean just meeting friends but it involves building relationships that will help the company increase its performance.
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