New media has, and continues to, change the way in which most small businesses operate. Unlike the one-way communication paths displayed by “old media” formats such as television, radio and paper-based publications, new media technology is both digital and interactive. From connecting with customers to making it easier to compete with larger businesses, the advantages that the internet, electronic communications and social media provide most small businesses are as numerous as its uses.
New-media advertising is often less expensive than advertising in traditional media. Perhaps the biggest advantage of using new media is that the lack of any barriers that prevent a small business from entering the digital arena. For example, establishing and running an online store costs significantly less than running a brick-and-mortar store. Advertising online not only is less expensive than it is with old media, but it also allows business owners to reach a larger audience. The internet also eliminates expensive travel. A small-business retail store owner can purchase inventory from suppliers without ever leaving the office.
Wider Customer Base
An internet presence and email communications have the potential to expand a small business's customer base exponentially. Unlike the limited scope and time delay characteristic of traditional advertising methods, new media options allow not only for instant connections but also for connecting on a number of different levels. A website, an email newsletter and both participating in and advertising on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are among the most common ways to help potential customers learn about and purchase products.
Sustained Competitive Advantage
Businesses can use video technology both internally and to connect with the outside world. For example, remote teams communicating over video often make faster and more informed decisions, while customer service representatives can interact with clients and associates on a more personal level. In addition, a video blog can welcome viewers to a website, as well as describe and demonstrate how to use a product.
Flexible Work Options
An internet connection, a virtual private network, video conferencing, email and instant messaging provide flexible work options that can benefit both a business and its employees. Although allowing employees to work from home on a part-or full-time basis doesn’t work for every business, a mobile workforce can produce significant tangible and intangible benefits for some businesses. These include cost savings that come from occupying a smaller facility and revenue increases that can result from rising employee productivity.
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