This is a solution of Social Networking Impact on Business research which is aimed to find out the impact social networking has made on various business sector in Saudi Arabia
Social networking is an upcoming trend in many developing countries including Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia. Social networking is providing a unique opportunity to business by being able to communicate and stay in touch with its customer base on a regular basis. This has changed the way people communicate and advertise their business wares radically. This development took place in last 5 years and impacted millions of people all over the world. Popular social networking sites are facebook.com’ twitter’ my space.com’ etc. The number of users on these social networking sites has touched millions and thousands are joining it on a daily basis. In this research we are trying to identify various salient features of social networking which can make an impact on businesses and how this growing power of social networking can be channelized for positive contribution towards business. We will also analyse the cultural issues related to social networking and its impact on business and firm’s attitude towards social networking.
LITERATURE REVIEW (SECONDARY RESEARCH)
Literature review on the impact of social networking on business has reviled various salient features it has on the business requirement. Social networking sites which were started as a way of interaction between small groups like college students has taken a world level form and size now. It was started as a medium to freely interact and its commercial advertisement use and propagation was started a few years after that. The history of social networking is not older than 25 years. The basic roots were started a couple of decades back by BBS (BULLETIN BOARD SYSTEM) they were started and gain popularity in 80’s and 90’s . They started by various hobbyist to interact on various issues and to discuss local affairs. Though that time the technology was very different and it didn’t have the form of social networking what we see today but it is the base of it. The first social networking site with the form and features of latest technology was launched in year 1997 by name sixdegrees.com. This website for the first time gave the users a chance to make their profiles. Interact by chatting and messaging and listing there friends. Various dating sites have also started around the year 1998 and so on.
In Saudi Arabia the social networking sites started gaining popularity around the beginning of year 2002 but the real growth was after 2006 and forward following the dawn of websites like facebook and twitter. Culturally Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia did not welcome the rise of social networking very much especially certain cultural groups who condemn the free exchange of ideas and social interaction between opposite genders. Many legitimate work like journalism and related things are getting affected by the ban or limited freedom on access and usage. A recent study has shown that around 68 % females on facebook in Saudi Arabia are not using their actual names. This shows the kind of fear people have in their mind while using these websites.
Businesses are also using social networking for their benefits by using different methods. Many companies are using facebook and twitter to keep their customers updated about events’ new offers and launches. They also take reviews from actual customers without any biases by keeping an eye on networking sites and blogs. Pilot studies’ feedbacks’ forecasting and customer reaction analysis is done by launching any offer or scheme on web world before launching them in real world.
Another thing which companies can do and many are doing already is proper segmenting and targeting of market and focusing on that particular target population only. Social networking helps the companies who want to target a particular age or gender or a community only. By studying and analyzing the data bases and profiles of the users companies can focus their efforts and that ways the conversion ratio becomes much better.
Another usage of social networking sites is development of professional relations. Websites like LinkedIn.com are helping its users in developing professional relations by connecting people who belong to same profession’ same group of companies or industries’ even people with same type of qualification get connected by this. This kind of development will help people in developing there business’ extending business relations and exploring new sectors and markets.
E-business is another arena of social networking which has lot of potential to explore. Social networking is used by various companies to sell their products’ services and even cross selling is done. For example companies like Adidas’ Nike ‘ puma etc are selling their sports products’ t shirts’ and other merchandises by advertising them on social networking sites and using peer recommendation and feedback by bloggers who are trusted by other users. Social networking sites are used by websites like make my trip .com to offer their services in tourism and travel solutions. Feedback and word to mouth publicity is very important in this kind of services and one good review by a user can do wonders for company. There are other form of e business also like multi commodity exchanges (mcx) or business platforms like ariba.com which brings buyers and sellers from all over the world together on a common e business platform and help them in doing business by providing recommendations’ guarantees and feedback by earlier buyers.
Social business is considered as recent and most potential sector in social networking. A Social Business isn’t just a company that has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. A Social Business is one that embraces and cultivates a spirit of collaboration and community throughout its organization both internally and externally. Companies understand one thing that it’s not just B2B or B2C now it’s P2P (people to people). It means that every department, from HR to marketing to product development to customer service, uses social media the way it uses any other tool and channel to do its job. A company that uses social networking tools fluently to communicate with people inside and outside the company acts as a Social Business.
Many companies in Saudi Arabia are still not sure about usage of social networking because of the conservative nature of companies and its information management. Secondly they are not very sure of the real impact of social networking neither do they consider the effect of social networking on their business fully. Many companies also fears that there usage of social networking might cause them to lose there existing customers who are very conservative and sensitive about these things.
RESEARCH AIM: –
The research is aimed to find out the impact social networking has made on various business sector in Saudi Arabia and its simultaneous effect on stakeholders of that business.
OBJECTIVE OF RESEARCH:-
The objective of research is to
- To understand the history of social networking sites and its conceptualization in Saudi Arabia.
- To study and understand the business structure and market sections. How they are organized and how they perceive social networking.
- To find out the benefits associated with social networking and how they can be used to company’s business purpose which would be beneficial to them.
- To understand the cultural issues associated with social networking and why some companies are not using it. What is the concept behind it?
The study will be both primary as well as secondary research and we would be using the resources like online journals’ articles’ social networking related books and e resources and online articles associated with it for the secondary research. We will be doing an in depth analysis of the secondary data to find out the current trends as well as data related to history of social networking and its linkage with business world in Saudi Arabia. We will also be studying the effects social networking is creating on business practices and cultural issues associated with social networking. For primary research we are planning to conduct personal interviews and questionnaire filling with managers from different industries. These industries will be from totally unrelated sector to each other so that an all round view can be obtained. The sample size of personal interview and questionnaire will be 3-5. Age or gender will be no criteria for classification but industries will be chosen keeping in mind that there customer base should be majorly youth and young generation.
DATA ANALYSIS: –
The data will be sorted and a trend analysis can be done to find out the general trend prevailing in social networking impacts on business sector. The secondary data will also be analysed for finding any evidences and facts which will be providing information on the subject and providing any conclusive concepts or information on the subject. In primary research the questionnaire will be made in an objective fashion and responses will be mostly recorded on Likert scale. Various software’s like SPSS and ms excel will be used for analysis of data.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION:-
The trend analysis can suggest us that what are the current trends of thinking in Arab’s youth and businesses mind set. What is the level of acceptance and what is the fundamental change in the behavior of youth after the emergence of social networking sites in Middle East countries. Based on the inferences drawn from both primary as well as secondary research a conclusion can be drawn which will tell what the impacts are and what their possible implications in future is. We can also make some recommendations based on our inferences and conclusion from primary research Based on the analysis of data collected and its inference.
PROBABLE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH RESEARCH:-
- It is a current topic in corporate world so not much of literature will be available on this topic.
- The case studies on this topics are also very less and mostly are still in progress without final decision.
- The research is slightly subjective in nature.
- The view point and personal experience of each person could be different making it a perception difference.
- Acquisti, Alessandro, and Gross, Ralph. (2006). Imagined Communities: Awareness, Information Sharing, and Privacy on the Facebook.In Golle, P. and Danezis, G. (Eds.), .Cambridge, U.K. Robinson College. Proceedings of 6th Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies. (pp. 36–58)
- Andrejevic, Mark. (2005). The work of watching one another: Lateral surveillance, risk and governance. Surveillance & Society, 2 (4), 479-497.
- Backstrom, Lars, Huttenlocher, Dan, Kleinberg, Jon, and Xiangyang Lan. (2006). Group Formation in Large Social Networks: Membership, Growth, and Evolution. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery in Data Mining. (pp. 44-54).New York ACM Press. pp. 36-54
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