A Paradigm Shift as Social Media Business Models Are Evolving

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With 2.3 billion users, Facebook is the most popular social media platform today. YouTube, Instagram, and WeChat follow with more than a billion users. Tumblr and TikTok come next, with over half a billion users (Statista Report, 2019). Furthermore, almost 4.48 billion people were active internet users as of October 2019, encompassing 58 percent of the global population. These figures are remarkably growing daily. This will surely have huge consequences on the business and is already creating new business paradigms. Social media is becoming an unescapable form of technology today. The rapid adoption of such technology is changing the nature of our behavior, the way we communicate and interact with others as well as our views concerning the business and the way it should be run. The new emerging and drastically changing business environment that is led by communication technologies development is expected to shape and lead the scope and nature of business organizations of the future. Business core concepts like marketing and sales, business visibility, competition, and customer relationship management are at the heart of confrontation and change. Regardless of the huge debate regarding its positive and negative impact on societies in general, lots of benefits are expected due to the effective use of social media for business purposes. Brand building, more effective and efficient communication, cost reduction, and the never-ending flow of information are among the cited benefits of what is so-called social media business models.

New business models that are based on the use of social media are emerging and starting to gain some popularity. Numerous questions are challenging traditional business strategies and marketing operations. Can old business models and typical mentalities of the past and present survive in managing the future business? Can we bridge the gap between our current ways of running the business and the new technology-driven generation? Can current business managers understand the emerging and continually changing needs of the new generation? It seems there is a need for a paradigm shift in the way of running a business. Additionally, the preparation of an organization for the successful use of social media for business purposes seems highly important to improve the readiness level of the organization. The current state of the art concerning the business use of social media is still fragmented and underutilized. The rapid diffusion of social media in modern societies is calling for more consideration of social media as a means to enhance business competitiveness. Social media-based business models are therefore receiving an intense concern in the business literature. Disagreement is apparent and the lack of a holistic framework concerning the influential factors seems obvious. Issues like trust, transparency, security, and privacy are at the core of the picture. Moreover, the need for more research exploring social media-based business models, as one could argue, is still under-researched considering the potential business opportunities and the skeptical nature of social media in general.

For businesses to attain sustainability and to gain strategic competitive advantage, they require a business strategy the makes the best use of available technologies including social media. Acting and pro-acting are both necessary to challenge businesses to transform their operations and to re-think their fundamentals in ways that support and invest in new emerging trends. New and different skills will soon be required to effectively utilize the dancing technologies of today.

Dr. Raid Al-Adaileh
Author: Dr. Raid Al-Adaileh
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