The social environment is one of the factors considered when conducting an environmental scanning in any business. There are such factors such as political, economic, technology and legal. All these factors determine the level in which a business will operate and thrive. In this case, we are going to take a look at the impact of social environment on consumers. Social environment has been defined as certain culture that enables people to operate the business, take for example Islam religion that prohibits certain products or service because their culture does not allow. In this case, most companies have to comply with the social environment so as to thrive in its pursuit of making profits. However, there is an emerging trend in the use of social media among many consumers which has resulted in the impact on the social environment. Social media has created an environment whereby companies have begun to use it as the platform to enhance their products and service quality. This has resulted in emergence of social commerce environment (Hajli, 2014).
With the emergence of social media, companies have been impacted by their operations as a result of the influx of people who visit the social media to find information regarding certain products or services. The impact that has resulted to many companies trying to find space in the social media in the quest to leverage their marketing strategy that has been enhanced through the media platforms. It has created a culture that many companies are embracing, for example, Amazon Kindle uses social media to advertise and market its services. Therefore, the company has benefited from the media platform as a result of wide coverage enhanced by the platform. The same case applies to Wal-Mart that has seen the high sale volumes resulting from the use of social media. The social environment provides a platform for companies to set strategies that will fit the culture of people as per the target market. However, since the innovation and introduction of social media platforms, companies no longer consider the social environment as a challenge because they can as well conduct business online through marketing and carrying out online transactions.
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Social environment also determines the type of product or service to supply in the market; this has limited most of the companies that deal with the target market in a cosmopolitan place. This is because cosmopolitan involve different people from different diversity and hence it is difficult to determine the most applicable culture. In this situation, social media has transformed the way companies would target their potential customers; this is because it gives a chance for everyone to view the product or service thus making it easier for potential customers to select the product of his or her choice. Social media is changing the social environment in the sense that it has promoted general culture whereby people get to choose what they prefer and not under the cultural restriction.
Firms have resorted to using social media as an environment to conduct market research as well. An example Apple company which uses social media to gather views regarding their products and services, therefore in order to advance in product or service development, social media has provided a platform to gather information that regards to customers and their preference. For the companies that have embraced the use of social media environment, they have experience low cost regarding advertising and customer relationship management; this is because conducting business online has proved to be more advanced and easier as compared to focusing on the traditional form of business. However, this has not resulted to neglecting the social environment as one of the factors that impact on business (Epstein & Buhovac 2014).
Hajli, M. N. (2014). A study of the impact of social media on consumers. International Journal of Market Research , 56 (3), 387-404.
Epstein, M. J., & Buhovac, A. R. (2014). Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts . Berrett-Koehler Publishers.