Much can be said about the influence of social media and its role in today's society. Some of it’s good and some of it’s bad, but there is no denying that it has firmly entrenched itself in all of our lives whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. As the years have progressed, the role of social media has expanded from simply connecting with your family and peers, to Fortune 500 companies throwing millions of dollars to networks like Facebook to advertise their product to the millions of users that visit each day. What this shows is that social media has now become, in some instances, a savior for businesses who begin to track how many hits their Twitter feed might get or how many likes their Facebook page has.
Businesses are taking a more active role in social media and are capitalizing on its ability to connect with fans from all across the world. Visit any website and you are bound to see a company promoting their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Not engaging in social media is too risky in today's fast moving world. Most major business can afford to hire their own social media team to make sure customers are getting constant updates, as well as any perks they might be offering (such as discounts for following on Facebook). Being able to connect with your fans is a great thing, but we can't forget that the main purpose of a business is to make money. Visibility through social media strengthens that.
Social media has unintentionally become a tool for spying on rival businesses. Businesses are realizing that merely competing for market share or earnings will severely stunt their growth. They are now trying to out do each other based on how many likes their Facebook page gets. This has been used as a measuring stick for success. More is better. More likes means more hits to your website. This results in revenue increases because you gave customers an incentive to purchase something by offering them a discount for following you on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a domino effect on a larger scale and when competing businesses see that the revenue for their rival goes up with the help of social media--they quickly want a piece of the action. The world of business has changed right in front of us with the help of the consumer and our never ending desire to have access to all things we love 24 hours a day. The landscape has changed from 10 years ago when you would look to your daily paper for coupons. Today, we can simply have coupons sent to us via email from any social media site, and we are able to redeem the offer in the store right off of our phones.