Social media impact transcends into business as well. Even those who have not adopted social media practices can actually feel the effects of social media in the industry. Some of its effects in business include: more interactive customer relations. The beauty of social media is that it creates a direct link between you and your customers. Social media gives them the opportunity to let companies know what they like and don’t like about their products and services. As such, this makes social media a viable arena for doing market research, as these individuals are willing to give feedback about what companies are offering to their consumers. In this way, you will be able to make better decisions on what products and services to offer to them, since you will actually know what exactly they’re looking for. Social media effects what customers should buy or not buy. Social media allows people to communicate with each other. Should a friend promote a certain product, those in his or her circles are more likely to avail of this as compared to a product that wasn’t personally endorsed by someone they know. On the flip side, any vetoing done by a person regarding a certain product or service will also impact whether the persons in his or her circle will purchase this. Social media has made this process so much quicker and more easily spread. Furthermore, social media has also provided people another avenue from where they can research about certain products or services they’re interested in, and some even allow them to purchase these items through the social media outlet. Social media also allows you to make money. It’s actually possible to use social media to make money, such as through SEO services, online marketing, and professional blogging. One of the key things to understand is that social media is not a passing fad. Any business that still believes this needs to take an urgent look at the environment in which they are operating. The affect of social media can be felt across many business areas and ignoring its potency can only leave a business at a disadvantage. Marketing initiatives have been affected by social media to the same extent as reputation management. The old Mad Men-type world of advertising is definitely a thing of the past. Modern marketing campaigns must have a social media element. Look at the MINI car for a superb example of how a company utilizes Facebook, Twitter and other networks to reach an audience that is not consuming traditional media. There advertising is innovative and interactive and uses social media to their own advantage. By doing so, brand recognition is enhances with a much greater level of market visibility that would have otherwise been achieved. Social media is the quickest and easiest way to gather opinions from customers/potential customers and to react accordingly to market demand. This process also engenders increased customer loyalty as users feel part of the process, bot just end users. Some disadvantages that I have found are a lack of short term ROI (don’t groan) – It can often take up to a year before a social media programme can start to show any improvement in sales or customer service. It is not an immediate quick fix and it should be used with more a long term view in place. Another disadvantage is fraud – It is often important to monitor social media even if you are not using it yourself. It is all too easy for someone to pretend to be anyone especially on twitter with cyber squatters all over the place (just ask Ryan Giggs). If you do not have a social media presence, someone could pretend to act as your business which could cause great damage to the reputation of your brand.