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The invention and development of the internet (web 2.0) created room for more and more innovations. One such innovation that is proliferating at an alarming rate is the social media that has revolutionized the interaction within the business environment. A countless number of research studies have focused on the organizational benefits and disadvantages of the social media. Nonetheless, most organizations seeking to belong to the modern global markets strive to make investments in the social media, to enjoy its benefits (Kwak et al., 2010). The social media is defined as internet-resident technologies that allow the users to create distinctive profiles in the bounded systems, access the profiles of others, share messages and photographs while maintaining the list of other users and organizations within their connections for communication and interaction purposes (Kwak et al., 2010). Furthermore, the social media provide a means of communication amongst organizations and users by allowing them to share user-generated content. The social media exists in different forms; the list is so long that it would take pages. However, the most common forms of the social media include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Myspace (Kwak et al., 2010). Overall, the social media has changed marketing, customer relationship management and interactions of businesses. This paper looks at the social media as the latest innovation in business organizations, its different forms and impacts on organizations as well as the future recommendations for organizations.

Sub-Types of Social Media

There are different platforms that are under the collective term: social media. As mentioned earlier, the social media includes platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Myspace and Twitter, where the users have distinct profiles and share user-generated content (Kwak et al., 2010). There are millions of users in each of the mentioned social networking platforms, forming online communities that share the same interests. It is noteworthy that these are not the subtypes. Instead, there are at least six sub-types of the social media. The first and most popular is the social networking services that allow people to interact such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Whatsapp
(Sorokina, 2015). Secondly, there are bookmarking sites that allow one to save and manage links to various sites and resources on the internet such as Delicious and Stumble Upon. The other one is the social news services that allow users to post news items and allow other users to read and share their opinion such as Reddit and Digg (Berthon et al., 2012, p. 263; Sorokina, 2015). Still yet, there are Microblogging sites such as Twitter that allow users to post short updates that are viewable by their followers (Berthon et al., 2012, p. 263). Furthermore, there are also media sharing platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, and Snap Chat that allow the sharing of pictures and video (Sorokina, 2015; Berthon et al., 2012, p. 263). Lastly, there is also the blog comments and forums that offer online platforms where like-minded individuals hold conversations and comment (Sorokina, 2015). All these subtypes combine to make the social media that has been the talk of the day and center of most discussions in both public and scholarly domains.

Milestones in the Social Media

The social media platforms have undergone a tremendous change since their inception and corresponding use. The social media platforms replaced the web 1.0, the primary websites with the first social network site appearing in 1997 (Dewing, 2010). After 2002, more social networks have been created and launched. The most important milestone in the history of the social media is their ability to be accessed through the mobile technology especially through smartphones and internet-enabled phones (Dewing, 2010). Some of the once popular platforms such as Friendster lost track and were forgotten. Still yet, there are others such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and YouTube that have established niche communities (Dewing, 2010). Another significant milestone is the wide acceptance of the social media by the public and thus gaining a large number of users (Heller Baird and Parasnis, 2011, p. 30). As an illustration, by 2012 Facebook had over 1 billion followers worldwide while Twitter had garnered 517 million users (Dewing, 2010; Heller Baird and Parasnis, 2011, p. 30). The increase in the number of followers is due to the increase in broadband availability, optimization of the software tools, and development of computers and smartphones (Dewing, 2010; Aral, Dellarocas and Godes, 2013, p. 3). Tremendously, the social networking sites are the most used platforms by organizations in such things as marketing campaigns, customer relationship management, and in wide organizational communication (Heller Baird and Parasnis, 2011, p. 30). Therefore, the social media has come a long way with the most significant trend being its application in business as discussed in the next section of this paper.

Impacts of Social Media on Management Approach by Organizations

Ever since the inception of the social media in organizations, the management approach being taken has changed drastically. Most of the organizations have created social media groups that are accessible to their employees and the management. Such an approach has transformed the manner in which information is disseminated down the hierarchy (Peters et al., 2013, p. 288). Unlike the traditional methods, these platforms are easily accessible, fast and efficient in passing information. The managers can also engage in one-on-one real-time communication with individual employees, discussing individual level factors (Peters et al., 2013, p. 288).

According to Xiang and Gretzel (2010, p. 180), the social media platforms have transformed online information search. Most of the tourism organizations have accessible social networking sites that have information about the services they offer (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010, p. 179, Aral, Dellarocas and Godes, 2013, p. 3). The managers use the platforms to manage the statistics and responses of the customers, thus enriching their information search. Consequently, the social media can be seen as a tool that has changed the way in which customers make their decisions based on the available knowledge on a product or a service (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010, p. 180; Aral, Dellarocas and Godes, 2013, p. 3). Besides, the social media platforms are also used by companies to enhance the communication between the companies and their customers. The ability of the platforms to offer quick and efficient information and response times has made them attract customer loyalty and trust in most organizations. Organizations have transformed their marketing operations to adopt the use of the social media owing to the high number of users (Weinberg and Pehlivan, 2011, p. 279). For instance, Apple Company has created Facebook pages, Twitter handles and Instagram pages where it shares its recently developed products for its loyal customers in its established online communities (Weinberg and Pehlivan, 2011, p. 281). The social media is, therefore, applicable as a tool for managing customer relationships within organizations.

According to Lovejoy and Saxton (2012, p. 338), the social media in organizations has replaced the traditional communications in most workplaces. As a new media, the platforms are continuously being used in engaging the stakeholders such as the employees, investors and clients (Lovejoy and Saxton, 2012, p. 338). Virtually, it is agreeable that most of the organizations engage the social media in their public relations campaigns thus creating a good reputation of the organization
(Treem and Leonardi, 2012). Treem and Leonardi (2012, p. 162) observe that the adoption of social media at Microsoft Company has revolutionized the way in which people communicate through enhancing interpersonal communication, information quality and the access time. Toyota Company also uses the Facebook to communicate with its stakeholders in matters that are instant and require fast access such as recalls, holidays and CSR activities. In sum the social media is used to engage the customers, employees and the management, thus creating an avenue for organizations to achieve their goals.

Recommendation and Conclusion

Based on the discussion above and the direction in literature, there are three recommendations for organizations. First, organizations should embrace or invest more in the social networking sites as they have a large number of users as illustrated above. The best approach is to have a department that deals with social media marketing and communication to attend to both the internal and external needs of the company. The good thing is that there are also companies that outsource the social media services at a fee that would be better off than starting from scratch (Vernon, 2015). The second recommendation is that the companies should use the social media for online marketing activities to enrich the information access to the customers thus control their behavior while garnering trust and loyalty at the same time (Holmes, 2015). Thirdly, Organizations should make it a policy that each employee becomes a member of the organizational social media platforms so as to make the process of information flow faster, safer and efficient (Holmes, 2015). That said and done, organizations are likely to reap the benefits of the social media, as an innovation
in the business environment. Nonetheless, measures should be taken to ensure that the social media does not mask the already working communication systems in organizations.


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Appendix: The Implementation of Social Media communication in an Organization

Announcement of necessary training.
Introduction to the social media its sub-types, and its usage.
The safety controls in the social media and the pending disadvantages that might affect its users.
Creation of a collective group for the organization and joining by every member.
Appointment of social media communications department personnel
Formulation of the social media policy and dissemination of the same throughout the organization.

The only costs incurred will be the cost of the trainers, refreshments and allowances for the employees during the training duration. It is difficult to estimate the exact cost as every organization works on its own budget.