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Eli Solomon

Professor Julia Intawiwat

English 2116


Research Report on Social Media and Business

Over the past few years social media platforms have rapidly grown into one of the

leading methods for businesses to directly manage and engage their customer base. This report

provides a brief overview of the five most popular social media platforms in use today as well

as, some of the benefits and pitfalls involved in using social media in a corporate setting.

The variety and scope of social media services available vary widely, which creates

challenges when creating a technical definition, but, there are at least three common features

found in almost all social media platforms. First, social media groups rely on user-generated

content (text posts/comments, photos, videos) to be the lifeblood of the medium. Secondly a

member (user) can create a profile that is designed and managed by the social media

organization. The final attribute commonly associated with a social media network is the ability

for members to create an online social network by connecting their profile pages with that of

other members within the platform. Five of the most prevalent social media platforms are

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkden, and SnapChat. To provide a clearer overview of the

benefits and dangers of using social media in the business world these platforms are described

in greater detail.
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The first social media platform reviewed, is by far the most popular, Facebook.

Facebook is an American owed social networking service company launched in 2004, by Mark

Zuckerberg and his Harvard roommates. Today Facebook can be accessed from a large range of

devices with Internet connectivity. Once a user registers they can create a customized profile

indicating personal information they choose to be associated with. Members then can add

other members as “friends”, communicate via messages, post a status, photo or video and get

live updates of another members’ activity. Furthermore, members can join common-interest

groups administrated by a workplace, school, club or any other socially constructed group.

Twitter, while not as big as Facebook, it is rapidly growing with an estimated hundred

million users. Twitter is an online news and networking service in which users post and interact

with short blocks of text known as "tweets". Registered users can add tweets to the platform,

but unregistered members can only read them. Users can access Twitter through its website, or

mobile application.

Instagram allows users to upload photos and videos to the service, which can be edited

with various filters, and then organized by tags or GPS location. An account's posts can be

shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users' content by tags

and locations, and view trending content. Users can "like" photos and follow other users or add

photo/video content to a live feed.

The fourth social media platform, Linkden, is mainly used for professional networking.

This website allows employers to post jobs listings and job seekers to post their CVs. Most of
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the company's revenue comes from selling access to information about its members to

recruiters and sales professionals.

The final platform to reviewed is SnapChat, the primary concept of Snapchat is that

pictures and messages are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible.

Originally concentrating on person-to-person photo sharing, presently focusses on "Stories" of

24-hour chronological content, along with a "Discover" feature to let brands show ad-

supported video shorts. Snapchat has become prominent for representing a new mobile

oriented direction for social media, and emphasis on features such as interacting with virtual

stickers and augmented reality objects.

Most of the revenue earned by these platforms is generated by selling advertisement

exposure to a very specific audience. It allows companies to collect data and metrics about a

specific customer base on a scale never accessible to marketing teams before now. Various

metrics are used to measure the success of such campaigns, conventional methods such as ROI

(return on investment) are “almost impossible to calculate” (Rampton, 2018). However, it is

worth noting the rule of seven is still considered relevant when discussing the metrics provided

by Facebook for page promotion. The Rule of Seven is an old marketing adage that states, a

prospect needs to see a marketing message at least seven times before they act and buy.

Facebook allows businesses and organizations to access a lot of information about their

target audience. “The only other network that even comes close is Twitter. The amount of

information you can get from Facebook on the performance of your posts, audience

demographics and campaign tracking is amazing.” (Jackson, 2018)

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The most common metrics provided by Facebook (other than likes and followers) are

engagement, reach and impressions. Engagement is a measurement of the number of times

someone acted after seeing a post such as clicking a link, sharing the post, liking or leaving a

comment. Reach, the second metric is the number of people that have seen the post on

Facebook. The third most common metric is impressions, “reach tells you how many people

saw your posts, impressions measure the number of times your posts were seen. That includes

if one post was seen multiple times by a single user.” (Jackson, 2018)

Not all interactions between businesses and the public on social media have been

beneficial and positive. As with any new technology there have been several major unintended

consequences that have forced companies to act when a more neutral business friendly stance

is desired. A good instance of this transpired when car manufacturer Volkswagen “asked users

to list New Year’s resolutions and make suggestions about what people would like to see the

company achieve in 2012.” (Huffington Post, 2018) The controversy occurred when members of

Greenpeace claimed the car maker ignored and deleted thousands of comments suggesting the

company take a more environmentally friendly stance on its manufacturing process and stop

lobbying against climate laws in Europe.

The role of social media in business is clearly a new, relatively unexplored territory and

there are many potential benefits and pit falls businesses can encounter when trying to break into

the space. Yet as social media continues to grow and become more accepted across cultural

boundaries. Businesses may soon have no choice but to adapt or watch as the market gets

overrun by competitors more able to evolve and integrate social media into their advertising

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Works Cited

He, Wu, et al. “An Exploratory Investigation of Social Media Adoption by Small Businesses.”

Information Technology and Management, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 149–160., link-springer-


Huffington Post. “Volkswagen's Social Media Fail.” The Huffington Post,

TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Jan. 2012,



Jackson, Dominique. “11 Facebook Metrics Every Brand Needs to Track.” Sprout Social, 20

Dec. 2017, sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-metrics/.

Rampton, John. “8 Facebook Marketing Tools You Should Be Using.” Forbes, Forbes

Magazine, 31 May 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2016/05/31/8-facebook-