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Social Media’ and Business’ Relationships in Indonesia

Introduction

In 2013, Indonesia was ranked among the top five countries worldwide on Facebook usage. The state is democratic (Aspinall, 2010, p. 20), and this form of governance allows the growth of social media as opposed to China, where such liberties are curtailed. Indonesians use social media for economic purposes, making new friends, finding romantic partners, and buying products and services through different online platforms. The dominant devices used by the Indonesians in social networking are mainly mobile phones and laptops. In Indonesia, business highly relies on social media, mainly in recruitments and selection, online shopping, marketing, and business developments. The country has its own satellite system, which facilitates the growth of Internet usage (Barker 2005, p. 703).

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Furthermore, businesses use online platforms and websites to connect with consumers. The most preferred social sites in Indonesia are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and company websites. Around 63 million Indonesians use the Internet. This paper will highlight the business relationship with social media, the negative effects of social media on business, and the general influence of social media on the Indonesians’ lifestyle. Moreover, the paper will discuss the developments that are directly or indirectly associated with social media in Indonesia.

Effects of social media on Indonesia business

Businesses in Indonesia have highly embraced the use of social networking to remain competitive in the changing competitive business world. For instance, Indonesian businesses own existing websites for general shopping, job adverts, and products and services promotions. Such websites include tokobugus.com, tokene.com, luka.com, bhinneke.com, berniaga.com, and bhinneka.com, among others.

Furthermore, online markets for products have been established on websites like belowcepek.com, zalora.com, and the Berrynka.com, which has specialized in fashion and designs. In addition, rumah123.com is the main website in the real estate sector with other sites that specialize in books, Islamic wears, electronics, and foodstuffs like snacks. Indonesian online shopping has been on the rise since 2012 by 15%, and the trend is projected to go up (US Commercial Service 2012, p. 13).

For instance, Nielsen online survey indicated that half of the Indonesians shopping online use Facebook, while others use the Kaskus, which is an Indonesian social site for window-shopping for different products and services. Moreover, a large percentage of Indonesians use online payment methods for products and services payments. Research conducted indicates that 57.4 of Indonesians use online payment methods like PayPal and

MasterCard is swiping, while 11.5% used credit cards for payments (Boellstorff 2013, p. 4). Nevertheless, a relatively smaller number of 13.1% used cash on delivery to pay for their products. Evidently, Indonesia relies heavily on online shopping through social media due to the ease of accessibility and convenience.

Businesses in Indonesia have embraced the use of smartphones, social sites, and online shopping in a bid to survive in the competitive business world (Sri 2014, par. 4). The consumer landscape and purchasing trends have highly changed with respect to the technological lifestyle. For instance, businesses have mastered the preference of Indonesian women in online shopping. Heterosexual women in Indonesia are very active in the online shopping world. Therefore, most online stores and stalls target women. Businesses have grasped the consumer shopping trends and preferences for women addiction to online shopping to provide the best-suited products in demand. The products are usually posted on social sites’ timelines and walls like Facebook and Twitter, which are the main dominant social site in Indonesia.

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Clothes are the common products purchased online through social media (Razdan, Das & Sohoni, 2013, p. 19). However, many consumers are afraid of purchasing shoes online for the fear that they may not fit, which poses a challenge to the businesses in online shopping. For instance, female online shoppers highly purchase clothes, handbags, jewelry, bed linens, makeups, toys, smartphones, airline tickets, hotel bookings, and skincare items, among others. Men have a very low tendency to shop online due to some claims of distrust in online shopping. Interestingly, many businesses in Indonesia have a high preference for trading on online businesses that are in line with women’s shopping tastes and preferences.

Online shopping has been on the increase due to the comparison behavior of consumer products that prevails in it. Specifically, mobile shopping in Indonesia equips consumers with information regarding the quality, size, price, and fashionable emerging products in the market without having to incur transport costs for window-shopping. This aspect gives consumers the opportunity to compare products using different online and offline stores to evaluate which companies have better affordable prices (Watts 2014, par. 2).

The fact consumers can access different products through their mobile phones on social sites, which are difficult to trace in physical stores, make online shopping the best shopping option. For instance, business organizations keep frequent updates to their online stores with fashionable and new products on social media. The context of online shopping favors modern customers’ busy schedules, which entails multitasking.

In addition, in terms of payments, Indonesians mainly use BCA and Bank Mandiri for banking and online shopping. The consumers learn the methods of payment through business advertisements and promotions, usually through social media and company websites. The most used method of payment is the ATM card with Internet banking services following closely. The main reason why consumers prefer the use of ATM to online banking is cost avoidance. According to the Muslim law on money and banking, interests and charges are not allowed in transactions (Institute of Islamic Banking n.d, para. 5). Therefore, using the ATM would not cost transaction fees to Muslim consumers. However, many Indonesian online shoppers do not prefer the use of credit cards due to the high fraud cases associated with it.

For the shipping of goods and commodities, consumers heavily rely on online shopping through product outsourcing. The shipping costs are much cheaper as compared to the consumers traveling outside Indonesia, hence saving transport and expense costs. The most preferred national shipping organizations in Indonesia are TIKI and JNE, which deliver customer goods within 3-7 days (Boellstorff 2013, p.12). Due to the shipping costs being high for one commodity shipping, consumers embrace multiple purchases of different items. Evidently, some online shopping organizations do not charge for the shipping costs like Zalora.com.

Moreover, Blackberry in Indonesia does not charge any shipping costs on its customers, hence dominating the Indonesian smartphone market. However, online shopping outside Indonesia takes up to two weeks, even though this aspect does not bother the consumers.

Businesses use social media in advertising and promotions of their products. The increase of Internet shopping has been incorporated in mass media, websites, and televisions, thus convincing consumers about different products. In most cases, the adverts involve peer-to-peer advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the dominant platforms. This aspect helps businesses to play an influential role through friends in online shopping, whereby the friends act as the customers and sellers simultaneously. A number of consumers know about many organizational products through the Internet, with Facebook being the common informative platform.

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Regularly, friends post sponsored advertisements or information regarding certain products on social media timelines. The posts would give information on where the product can be purchased from coupled with the costs and its benefits over the others. The online shopping has widely been used by businesses to market their products in Indonesia. The most trusted online stores in Indonesia are tokobagus.com, Rakuten Belanja online, blibli.com, and Berniaga.com.

Many consumers term online shopping as easy, interesting because images seem attractive, and cost-effective. Cheap and online products are rare to find in physical stores. Moreover, businesses benefit from the customers’ impulse buying that is highly common in online shopping. For instance, an advertisement by the BlackBerry Group would capture peoples’ attention, hence higher purchases. Most importantly, businesses in Indonesia use dominant marketers in online shopping to market and promote their products. In a bid to remain highly competitive, business organizations emphasize on consumer preferences through a thorough study on consumer behavior (Drury 2008, p. 275).

Thereafter, business organizations focus on consumer influence as their marketing tools and communication strategy for their products through websites and dominant social sites. The main factor that promotes online shopping in Indonesia is the view that 90% of the total population owns a phone with access to the Internet.

Negative effects of social media on business in Indonesia

Even though social media benefits the Indonesian business sector, it poses some challenges. The negative effects of social media include

Frauds in payments and late delivery

Online marketing has been associated with fraud involving the modes of payment and delivery. In Indonesia, many consumers have experienced fraud by paying for products, which are not delivered as agreed. Such cases have been reported in some online shops, which are just new in the market. Therefore, some consumers are afraid of online shopping, which has posed fears to potential users. Furthermore, the time-consuming protocols involved in the outsourcing of commodities and specifically shipping discourage many consumers. Due to the late delivery of products after making an order, consumers find it difficult to shop online for urgently needed products. This aspect poses a great challenge to the Indonesian business sector.

Unrealistic images with preference fears

In online business promotions, advertisements, and marketing, usually product images are highly used. The portrayed images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms are sometimes exaggerated. This aspect culminates in the customers’ dissatisfaction upon seeing the product. In some cases, clothes and shoes purchased by women do not match their color preferences and choice. The consumers claim that the portrayed colors on the company websites and social networks are not what they get upon delivery. Moreover, women in Indonesia complain about the sizes of the shoes purchased online. The complainants vary from unfit sizes, colors, and the materials used on the products.

Increased consumer power

Due to the public perceptions and perspectives of certain organizational products, negative comments, and dissatisfaction claims can harm a company’s reputation and products. On Facebook and other social networking sites, consumers express their feelings and tastes on certain company products. Therefore, any slight mistake in the company’s products may lead to low consumer purchases due to the negative public influences. Online consumers express dissatisfied feelings and thoughts that ultimately affect the company sales, through diverted consumer tastes on the products. The company’s strength to contain the negative publicity may be ineffective. Therefore, the business organization in Indonesia should be careful when handling their publicity.

Negative information

Social media encourages individual conversations, whereby many people are involved. Therefore, it is difficult for organizations to track negative feelings, statements, and comments about a brand. Companies have the burden to track all statements and respond quickly and responsibly. However, the statements may be ineffective if the products’ publicity has already been damaged across social media.

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Release of confidential information accidentally

Insiders can have access to crucial information on a given organization, and this exposes a company to the potential exposure of the same to third parties, and this practice can cause harm. In social media, any information released can hardly be retrieved or contained. This assertion holds because such information spreads very fast across many Internet platforms, which are accessible to a large number of potential consumers. In Indonesia, many businesses suffer employee wrath that exposes their hard feelings to certain organizations. The possession of mobile phones by a large number of individuals acts as their fighting tool to organizations on dissatisfactions.

The general change of Indonesians lifestyle by social media

Social networking has greatly influenced the Indonesians’ culture and traditions. For instance, through social networking, peer influences on the controversial same-sex marriage debate have emerged (Lindsay 2011, pp. 179-181). This move has contributed to a high rise of gays and lesbians in Indonesia through social media influences, which is against the dominant Muslim religion in the country (Chalmers 2006, p.102).

In addition, social sites promote prostitution through peer influence on social media, whereby the young generation posts nude photos on social media. Furthermore, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter bring a false sense of relationships and connections (Ly 2014, par. 7).

Through social media, new people meet and establish false relationships that are difficult to distinguish from the real ones. However, the majority of the young generation focus on meaningless relationships that weaken and consume important time. Posts pertaining to marriage issues, financial crisis, and even romantic affairs are often posted on social sites. Sometimes, this aspect may lead to low self-esteem in public, career destruction, and ignominy. In Indonesia, posts pertaining to different business organizational leaders are frequently posted, which may affect the companies’ images.

Moreover, many businesses in Indonesia mainly use social network programs to hire new employees, marketing, and promotions, which may bring distraction to employees in the workplace due to influential posts on social media. Decreased productivity may be experienced in an organization due to the employees’ addiction to social media. Therefore, uncontrolled irresponsible social media usage can cause more harm than benefits even though the benefits are clearly outstanding. In addition, social media, coupled with other media outlets, have fostered democracy in the country (Tornquist 2002, p. 561).

Social media influence development in Indonesia

Indonesia is among countries with the largest number of Facebook users in the world. Worldwide Twitter usage is ranked at number three in Indonesia. The main factor that has led to these distinguishable social media usage is the Indonesians’ obsession with BlackBerry usage. Social media has greatly influenced the development of infrastructure in Indonesia. For instance, the Indonesian government funded the Wasantara Net Project, which aimed at connecting all the islands in Indonesia through the Internet (Logan 2011, par. 8).

Moreover, the country has a mutual understanding of relationships with foreign investors through social sites platforms. This aspect has led to infrastructural developments from foreign exchange, which is earned through foreign investments. Through the marketing of products on social sites and platforms, Indonesians acquire a high preference for their goods worldwide. Ultimately, the Gross Domestic Product of Indonesia remains high from increased business growth. The current economic growth percentage of Indonesia is comparable to that of China and Japan.

In addition, social media has promoted hospitality and tourism in Indonesia. Tourism is one of the growing industries in the country (Oberman et al. 2012, p. 22). This scenario played out due to the strong international relationship of Indonesian society to the rest of the world. The Indonesian tourism sector has embraced technological developments, which makes the country one of the most tourists’ attraction sites in the world. Furthermore, the Indonesian government uses social media mostly to warn the citizens of food shortage, public awareness on governmental issues, and development issues for the participation of the citizens.

Conclusion

Social media ranks amongst the most preferred platforms for advertisements, promotions, and public awareness in Indonesia. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other websites, organizations benefit, individuals interact, and strong and mutual business relationships are established. However, the use of social media should be controlled under strict observance to protect children from negative peer pressure in social sites. Nevertheless, the benefits of social media in any society are outstanding.

Reference List

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Barker, J 2005, ‘Engineers and Political Dreams: Indonesia in the Satellite Age’, Current Anthropology vol.46, no.5, pp.703–727. Web.

Boellstorff, T 2013, Landscaping Mobile Social Media and Payments in IndonesiaWeb.

Chalmers, I 2006, Indonesia: An introduction to contemporary traditions, Oxford University Press, Melbourne. Web.

Drury, G 2008, ‘Social media: should marketers engage and how can it be done effectively’, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, vol.9, no. 3, pp. 274-277. Web.

Institute of Islamic Banking: Islamic Banking n.d. Web.

Lindsay, J 2011, ‘Media and Morality: Pornography post Soeharto’, in K Sen & D Hill (eds), Politics and the Media in Twenty-First Century Indonesia: Decade of Democracy, Routledge, London, pp. 172-195. Web.

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Oberman, R, Dobbs, R, Budiman, A, Thompson, F & Rosse, M 2012, The archipelago economy: Unleashing Indonesia’s potential. Web.

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Tornquist, O 2002, ‘What’s wrong with Indonesia’s democratization’, Asian Journal of Social Science, vol.30, no.3, pp: 547-569. Web.

US Commercial Service: Doing Business in Indonesia: 2012 Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies 2012. Web.

Watts, J 2014, Just Looking: Indonesia Still Not Down With Online Shopping. Web.

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