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Social Media Tools in E-Commerce

Essay by   •  November 3, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  6,046 Words (25 Pages)  •  1,365 Views

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Social Media Tools in E-Commerce

Numerous social media tools are available to businesses and consumers. Social media provides a valuable connection between businesses and potential customers. These tools enable businesses to have the power to reach a vast amount of prospective clients. By incorporating a variety of social media tools, businesses expose their products to a large amount of target customers and new markets. Businesses need to have an understanding of which tools to use in any specific situation to achieve objectives and maximize benefits. A Variety of forums is available for companies to choose from. The student will identify four of the most popular sites that companies are participating in currently.

Facebook

Facebook provides a mean of communication between the business and potential clients. Facebook is a platform to discuss and share information about the organization, the people, and everything in between. This communication grows the businesses fan base and builds awareness for their brand. The transparency of the company makes the consumer trust and recommend its services to friends and acquaintances.

Twitter

Twitter provides a direct line of communication between the business and clients, and is a very effective tool in building relationships. Encouraging employees to build a personal network and to post regularly increase followers, promotes conversation, and leads the company into a larger marketing community.

Linked In

Linked In is a professional site that links the business with colleagues as well as customers where companies can post information and available products. Linked In allows employees to connect with their coworkers and give their opinion on the current business state. Administrators also can express the goals of the company and the diverse methods on how to improve it.

Blogs

Blogs can be beneficial toward increasing interaction between employees and customers. Blogs allow administrators, managers, and directors to give feedback to employee issues, concerns, and questions. Moreover, customers also have the opportunity to inform the company of new ideas and suggestions to enhance the business.

Best Social Media Tools

When choosing the best social media tools, companies must examine each platform's use level, target audience, and functionality. Companies must also experiment with several platforms to see which ones relate more to consumers and provide the best results. Initiating a high level of interaction with consumers is done by holding online polls, encouraging conversation, contest entries, video uploads, and online coupons, to name a few. In addition, marketers have to attract customers, be informative, and build relationships with trust.

Analyze the Ethical Issues

Ethical issues are a concern in social media. Some of them are addressed below.

Security

Identity theft is a major concern, which makes security one of the highest priorities for e-commerce organizations. In doing business online, the concern is not that the e-commerce company will steal the information. Rather, the primary issue is a credit card number must travel along communication lines to reach the e-commerce computer. During the transmission, the data can be unknowingly intercepted and copied (Kracher & Corritore, 2004).

Credibility

Credibility and maintaining trust and honesty in marketing and advertising via social media is extremely important. Firms who misrepresent themselves, their service, or their products can cause devastating damage to their business. "If the organization has communication that is two-way, relevant to needs, understandable, useful, timely, and mature, which organization will build credibility and trust with its stakeholders" (Roebuck, 2006, p. 422). Many of the rules that apply to other forms of advertising apply to Internet marketing. These rules serve to protect the credibility of the Internet as an advertising medium as well as the credibility of the advertiser. The Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising in any medium. That is, advertising must tell the truth and not mislead customers (Federal Trade Commission, 2000, p. 2).

Privacy

Privacy is the right to be left alone and the right to be free of unreasonable personal intrusions (Turban et al., 2008, p. 784). Technology costs to process, store, and transmit customer data have decreased as well as the unauthorized sharing of consumer personal information. Consumers expect organizations to protect their confidential information and not share that data without consent. One method of managing this issue is the practice of opt out versus opt in. Opt out and opt in gives the consumer the opportunity to refuse to share information whereas opt in requires specific steps be followed for personal information to be collected in the first place (Turban et al., 2008, p. 784).

Maintaining Reputation

Companies need to ensure the informational facts they provide is accurate and represented correctly to maintain the organizations reputation by using brand names and physical appearance. "An established brand, a marketplace reputation, and a physical presence gives customers reassurance in established way of doing things and, if it is an industry terms of trust, long-term viability, and convenience" (Turban et al., 2008, p. 651).

Business Plan Outline

The most effective strategy setting is using a business plan outline that includes an executive summary, business description, operations plan, financial plan, marketing plan, and competitor analysis. Each of these outline sections are explained below with the importance of the information to develop the best business plan. An expanded business plan outline that provides the detailed information needed for each outline section is located in Appendix A, and an example of a completed retail discount store business plan is in Appendix B.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a short description of key points of the entire business plan used to inform and attract the reader to use the business (Turban et al., 2008). The executive summary briefly explains the reason for writing the business plan. It tells the reader what the company wants and why.

Business Description

The business description expresses the nature and purpose of the

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