What is social media? To many, social media is a tool to communicate with friends, or even friends of friends in a neutral environment talking about any topic, events or news freely (Lipscomb 2010). Social media today, not only serve as a tool for individual to communicate, it also became a platform for companies or individuals to capitalize on it to drive monetary income from it. Social media are platforms that can enable free communication and sharing of information online (Elmore March 2010).
Few of the social media platforms are, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Blogs or even web forums that can be used to share information, opinions online. Social media today are very powerful tool to an individual, company, and even a country. Facebook, being the number one top traffic social media site, is tracking around one trillion page views per month globally (Double Click Ad Planner by Google 2011), and tracking 615 million page views per month in Singapore (comScore, Inc 2013). With a total of 2. million unique visitors, it is reaching out to 65% of Singapore’s internet population and hence, if done correctly, social media platforms can be an empowering tool to enhance a small business network’s knowledge sharing, build social capital, support innovation and aid in problem solving and drive more earnings and income. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, are moving towards more than a social media platform. Employers are using more social media tools like LinkedIn to look for potential jobseekers.
LinkedIn is a more corporate social media platform, showing not only profiles and hobbies, but also previous job experience and endorsements from peers and colleagues. Job portals like JobStreet are facing more and more competition from social media as job portals normally only shows the jobseeker’s resume and pass employments. LinkedIn shows the employer the social side of the jobseeker, personal skills they have, and positive endorsements from people. Improving Knowledge Sharing Knowledge is more than just information, it is compile of both know-how (tacit knowledge) and know-why (explicit knowledge).
In today knowledge-based economy, knowledge has been defined to be one of the key assets for organizations to sustain and success (Jashapara 2011). In our society today, more people are sharing knowledge and information on social media platform more than talking face to face. News reports, articles, along with personal opinions can be easily shared through social media platforms. Knowledge sharing becomes easier and faster with the help of social media. It is essential to understand how knowledge is gained and the methods of how an individual learn.
Social learning theory proposes that individual learning happens when individuals are interacting with cognitive, behavioral and environmental factors; primarily with other individuals (Jashapara 2011). Due to the engaging interaction and heavy usage of social media, it can be a great avenue to encourage knowledge creation and sharing. As a study done by Neilson Inc, it encourages employees to share knowledge using social media platforms to better cultivate knowledge sharing (Dina Adamovic 2012).
Social media not only aid in knowledge sharing in within the organization, It can be also used to educate its business partners (Evolution1 Utilizes Social Media to Share Knowledge 2012). By using social media, Evolution1 can greatly reduce the actually human labour that is needed in support and educational roles. This has let Evolution1 to remain competitive in our fast pace economy today. Building Social Capital The concept of social capital and human capital is both closely related, they arrive from the valuable assets of an organization, which are the resources that employees acquire (Jashapara 2011).
There are intrinsically three dimension to social capital: – Structural dimension showing the linkages and connections between factors such as density and hierarchy of networks; – Relational dimension that provides the history of interactions between individuals resulting in certain level of trust, norms and expectations; – Cognitive dimension that leads to shared meanings, interpretations, mental models and alignment of views. With the help of social media, social capital of the organization can be build up in a faster and easier way.
Having to develop better relationships with clients, partners, and also within their employees. It is mentioned that knowledge has been an important factor for an organization’s sustainability and success, therefore essential to develop a knowledge-sharing culture especially with small medium companies. Social media which has been a platform to communicate in our daily life is a fast and easy way to communicate as ideas can be shared and strategic plans can be discussed with a faster response time and even on the go.
The online marketing campaign from Ngee Ann Polytechnic has demonstrated how social media applications can be used as communication mediums for idea sharing. The online marketing campaign Ngee Ann Polytechnic uses, “Tweet about your favorite Ngee Ann Poly Courses”, is using an online advertisement to feature this display banner. On the banner, viewers can tweet real time and the tweets will show up on the banner stating your choice of course.
The campaign was a success, driving more than twenty-three million viewers to the ad banner, it also drives more than fifteen thousand viewers to engage and tweet on their twitter page (SG 2012). With the support from the case of Ngee Ann Polytechnic utilizing social media as an idea sharing medium, it has encouraged intensive consumer engagement which in turns achieved premium brand awareness where it can be a competitive advantage over it competitors. In addition, it has achieved in transiting into a successful knowledge-based organization with integrating social media as a communication tool.
Innovation For an organization, innovation is very essential, the creation and fostering of new and better ideas keeps an organization to stay ahead of its competitors. Having knowledge workers to constantly having innovative knowledge is an important aspect of an organization’s knowledge management strategy (Jashapara 2011). In today’s fast paced, ever-changing environment, organization is facing the need to constantly innovate new and better ideas. Using social media as a tool, organization can collate and compile innovative ideas from its employees, partners, and even direct consumers.
In this manner, organization can better understand what its product is lacking of and what improvements can it make. Aid Problem Solving Social media is being built in a way that it is meant for fast and speedy response. Using social media as a platform, organization will be able to provide real-time response and will have significant impact on problem solving as knowledge can be transmitted faster. Furthermore, an open social network will improves communication level within the organization internally and also externally with its vendors and consumers (Murray 2012).
In 2010, Grocer Supervalu realize that it has grown to a big company perating in 44 states with 135,000 employees and 10 distinct store brands from Albertsons to Jewel-Osco to Shaw’s, it had good people with plenty of ideas but no way to share them. Hence, a sprawling, disconnected workforce was hurting business. But Grocer has soon to adopt an internal social media tools in hopes of fostering cooperation and collaboration amongst its employees across the country.
In return, Grocer implementation of social media to solve its disconnected workforce saw a increase in sales figures (Ferris 2012). Benefits There is a huge spectrum of benefits for using social media, it is free marketing for your company, for instance you can place your marketing promotions and products on your Facebook page, have constant updates on events on your Twitter account, look for potential employees on Linkedin with their pass work experience for free and most of all its free and you can build on your company’s branding and awareness through it (Culley 2011).
As mentioned earlier, the extensive reach of social media to our population is really big (comScore, Inc 2013), and also it is also very measurable comparing to traditional media like television, radio or out of home media in terms of awareness, consideration, favorability and purchase intend (Feather 2010). Hence fore, companies are moving towards social media then traditional media due to its free, fast and measurable. Risks With much benefit of social media in hand, it is surely good to introduce social media to any organization way of knowledge sharing and also marketing strategies.
However, there are also several risks that come with the technology that organisations need to be cautious of. Risks like identity frauds, viruses, potential risk of negative remarks and information leakage. Companies that use social media are easily exposed to them (Esola 2010). The risk of identity fraud will pose a great threat to the organization as you are not aware if the receiver that you are sharing information with is the actual person when communicating over social media. For example that the receiver is impersonating the actual person, important information of the organization may be leaked to them.
It is therefore a must for organization to establish and manages policies on the type of information can be addressed when using social media. In addition, when sharing information with social media, the organization may employ methods such as providing details for verification purposes. Potential risks of negative remarks and comments will also be another key factor organizations should take note of. Because of social media, a negative remark will go viral overnight and tarnish the company’s reputation. Just like the recent saga of Miss Amy Cheong, she casually tweet on her twitter account on how weddings of a particular is being carry out.
Soon, her comment went viral and the next day her service with NTUC as an Assistant Director in the partnership alliance section (Holdings 2012). Paid, Owned, Earned Media Social media can be further segmented into Paid, Owned, and Earned media. Due to the current marketing trend of using social media to improve knowledge sharing, build social capital, create innovation and aid in problem solving, social media have evolve into these three segments (Silk 2012). Paid media means good, old-fashioned advertising, the buying of airtime or space on someone else’s TV channel, website, printed page, supermarket shelf or out of home bus shelter.
Owned media on the other hand is personal or corporate websites, blogs, that showcases the individual’s or company’s profile and information. Earn media are websites or even blogs, Facebook pages that necessary work to earn coverage of their issue or battle are the ones who will get their story out to the public (Sunshine 2011). Over the years, the media landscape has been ever changing, altering the way how organizations and individuals share knowledge and market themselves.
Owned media can be easily shifted to earned media when it is being effectively managed. Earned media also provide another avenue of income to the organization and also benefits the organization in better measuring of popularity, awareness, consideration and favorability of the organization. Conclusion In conclusion, social media has a lot of beneficial aspects which organization can used to share knowledge, build social capital, foster innovation, aid in problem solving and the best will be to be used as a sustainable competitive advantage over competitors.
Using social media to better communication amongst employees, it can bring individual employees closer and better facilitate cooperation and collaboration, leading to more effective knowledge sharing and generating of innovative ideas that is beneficial to the organization. Having a knowledge organization with intangible assets will be one of the key aspects to maintain successful in our current fast paced and ever-changing environment. With all the infinite benefits that social media can bring to the organization, it also comes along with great risks and threats that cannot be overlook.
Viruses and malwares in our computer systems can greatly affect the day to day operations of the organization and the information that is being processed. Furthermore with the risk of consumers or employees using social media to create negative publicity for the organization, it is sure that organization needs to be cautious in handling social media as a tool. For small to medium companies that will like to integrate social media into their whole organization structure, it is the upmost important task to establish policies and develop strategy plans to efficiently manage the risks and threats that the organization may be exposed to.
Planning ahead and risk forecast is needed to be done in order to gain more benefits from the implementation of social media. Effective marketing opportunities can also be gain from social media when used correctly. Using social media as an owned and earned media, organization not only can capitalize on business relations development, but can also aid in generating another avenue of income for the organization.