Business and the social media the Inextricable link

Hello there!
I begin with an anachronistic quote from the 15th century play by Shakespeare, “The Merry Wives of Windsor” which says:
“Why, then, the world is my oyster,
Which I with sword will open.”

Well, to prise open this world, to get our pearls, we needn’t use swords; merely, a click of the “mouse”, and, voila!! The universe unfolds itself as Aladdin’s magic carpet, with FB, Twitter, WhatsApp, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and the likes, which get you wherever it is that you wish to go, without so much as leaving your armchair!!! Thanks to the Czars of the all pervasive internet and the social media!

There is chaos, there is madness and the human species has gone berserk! And there is no going back!! Just around in circles! And that’s truly what networking’s all about!!

And the world?? Sure It has truly become my oyster!!!
The question to answer, though, really, is, how does one best leverage the social media and use them to the advantage of the individual and businesses of individuals??

Social media garner social conversations and brands can listen in, on these conversations, and gain market intelligence in real time, from these huge data pools. This helps in analysing consumer behaviour, and buying patterns, which in turn influences decisions.

Brandwatch, a Brighton company, provides a social media analytics platform to companies, to observe and monitor what consumers are saying about certain brands on these sites, to gain valuable insights.
Anyways, getting down to brass tacks, the primary reason why social networking sites came into existence, was social communication.
Taking advantage of the fact of India being “young and tech-savvy”, equipped with mobiles and internet connections “on the go”, so to speak, some employers have therefore allowed employees to remain connected with each other via FB during work hours, eg. Google in Gurgaon; contrary to the traditional stand.

Some ingenious uses of networking sites to streamline interpersonal relations eg, by the hyperlocal grocery startup PepperTap, are in- house FB groups for posting weekend events, activities, pics etc.; organising contests around Dubsmash, FB and WhatsApp, and using WhatsApp by the CEO of Stayzilla, a travel startup, to actually run an entire company on a WhatsApp group called Stayzilla Nutmegs!

Social communication apart, these online platforms are being increasingly used for social hiring; to post job openings and receive applications for the same. Zomato, Snapdeal, Amazon, Truecaller, Zivame and Uber, use FB profiles of prospective candidates to add information to the existing resumes. This is generally used for junior level recruitment rather than for senior levels.

Another segment of recruiting talent, which holds a lot of potential, is, tapping passive talent i.e. to actively search for talent, which is not actively looking for a job confusing? and yes 75% of all professionals, belong to this segment.

This is an advantage for young startups which don’t have a seasoned HR department and who can then operate without involving professional recruiting agencies too, saving on cost and time!!

Those like Belong, from Bangalore, hiring for startups like Ola Cabs, Xiaomi, Snapdeal and Zivame, analyse information like the likes and dislikes and pics on social media, posted by potential hires, especially to gauge, if a likely hire fits in/ belongs, culturally or not, in a company, apart from doing a match for skills sets. LinkedIn too offers an impressive data pool for hiring, to prospective employers.

The most powerful impact of social media on businesses, though, is marketing, and brand building. Pinterest and Instagram are two very strong visually communicative social media used by top brands. Though they essentially serve different purposes.

Pinterest though traditionally used by women, is also being used by companies to good effect. Examples which can be cited are HubSpot Inc., a B2B technology marketing firm, Runkeeper’s, a fitness tracking startup, and Shareaholic. Instagram is more for connecting individuals but companies like Puma and Billboard use a combination of Twitter and Instagram to simultaneously talk about their new products, new music reviews, all the while making their presence felt strongly by pictures on Instagram. So is true for Starbucks which uses Instagram to reinforce its brand value.

In all this frenzied activity of connecting across time zones and sleepless nights at times, spent over precious minutes, when disconnected with the world, do I discern a positive trait of humans, wanting to connect, and stay connected in an unprecedented way, never witnessed and experienced before?

One hopes though, that for a few milliseconds in time, the need to network does transcend individual selfishness and roots instead for collective growth!
Until the next hello from me.


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