I declare that the content of this dissertation is my original work and has not been presented to any other institution for an award of a qualification.
I also maintain that whenever any secondary material was consulted, relevant guidelines for quotations and citations have been followed.
Most SMEs use social media today. Social media marketing refers to the online use of networks and social media tools like Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook to get to consumers. Since there are many consumers who use social media, SMEs are getting incorporated in social media to reach consumers, to strengthen their relationship with customers and to achieve organization success. The paper describe social media and SMEs concepts and discuss the manner in which social media affects the success of SMEs. SMEs need to have their sites in the social media for marketing purpose and maintain the sites frequently. The empirical analysis examine the techniques used by SMEs on social media channels and the effect of social media marketing on success of SMEs. Finally, there are general conclusions for SMEs use of Social Media in Marketing.
The current corporate age is characterized by mechanisms that guarantee cost reduction and an increase in profit margin. Every organization is struggling to ensure that a sustainable culture is created for the businesses to remain relevant in the industry. The need for quality service has driven organizations to increase the expenditure on customer satisfaction measures. Stiff competition has also contributed to the necessity of a strategic approach to organizational factors and activities. The variations in the external and internal conditions have been associated with the need for informed studies that will assist in mitigating the corporate shortcomings. Areas of corporate concern have been the cost of marketing, customer satisfaction, customer retention, incorporation of technology, and corporate social responsibility. The size of the business defines the magnitude of the effects of the concerns. However, the effect of the cost of brand and service promotion has been the drawback of SMEs performance. However, the use of social media marketing not only eliminates the barriers of the traditional methods of marketing but also reduces the cost of product promotion for small businesses (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). This paper is a proposal for an intended study on the effects of social media marketing on the success of SMEs.
Background of the Study
Social media describes the platforms available on the internet where the users are allowed to engage and share information, interact, and learn from the avenues set forth by the applications portfolio. Users are authorized to create accounts and share information regarding their interests and ideas. The platforms can be accessed for free, and, therefore, many users subscribe for these accounts to interact with the global village (Dahlberg, 2015). The activities in the social media range from subjects related to political affiliations, business, and social affairs and the reasons for preference of the media to use is a choice of the individuals subscribing for accounts (Evans & Bratton, 2012). The use of Facebook, Twitter, and Google Search among others has enabled millions of people to access information, meet new people, learn about the activities taking place in different locations, and enhance the performance of their professional engagements. It is essential to acknowledge that the corporate sector is changing the methods of reaching out to potential customers from the traditional techniques to the use of social media.
The cost of marketing has been increasing due to stiff competition and the need for quality consumer satisfaction. The process of acquiring the customers is complex and fruitful strategies are those based on investigative studies on market trends. The use of social media by business enterprises has enabled the organizations to reach more customers and interact with positive changes. The users on the internet are increasing on a daily basis, and the customers can engage with the business representative. Through social media, the problems of the clients can be addressed through the blog spots, pages, and handles. The companies can also employ the social media avenues to inform the customers concerning the necessary information that is required at particular times (Smith, Zook, & Taylor, 2011). The cost of managing social platform is cheap as compared to other communication methods when businesses are engaging with customers (Tuten, 2008). The desire of organizations in the corporate sector is to be in a position to generate profit. The process of profit margin expansion depends on the magnitude of the costs and expenditure in comparison to the cumulative income in a specified period. However, the businesses are bound to maintain quality service, excellent customer experience, and diverse market coverage.
The purpose of the exposition is to investigate how the success of SMEs is influenced by the use of social media marketing. The following objectives will guide the study.
To analyze the extent to which the SMEs have employed social media marketing
Compare the cost of the traditional marketing and social media marketing avenues
Compare the effectiveness of the traditional marketing and social media marketing avenues
Research Questions and HypothesesThe following research questions and hypotheses will guide the study.
Q1: What is the relationship between the cost of social media marketing methods and the success of the SMEs?
H0.1: There is a significant relationship between the cost of social media marketing methods and the success of the SMEs
H1.1: There is no significant relationship between the cost of social media marketing methods and the success of the SMEs
The study involved a succinct analysis of the effects of social media marketing on the success of SMEs. The study sought to expound on the available knowledge on an understanding of the effects of social media marketing on the success of SMEs. Therefore, an active approach was essential to enable the researcher to achieve the desired objectives (Kothari, 2009; Kumar, 2014). The approach of this study was both qualitative and quantitative. The first part of the study involved the use of secondary sources to determine the available knowledge and research previously conducted by scholars relating to the effects of social media marketing on the success of SMEs. A mixed methodology is important in determining phenomena relating to a specific sample that could be extended to a larger population with similar characteristics based on research validity and reliability (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). The study depended on secondary and primary sources of data. Several scholars have examined different factors concerning the effects that social media has on SMEs. The results of such evidence-based investigation played a crucial role in setting a baseline for the study objectives and research questions. The information of the study obtained and established by the use of contents and sources from scientific journals and books like PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar, etc. were respectively used. Its authors and origin have been credited to every sentence that has been mentioned and listed in the reference page.
The collected data was prepared for analysis. The preparation involved the sorting of the data according to the origin and content. The research plan provided the essential guidelines for arranging the data for easy analysis. The process of sorting the data allowed for the elimination of errors during the process of analysis. A keen classification of data allows easy comparison process as well as high chances of the results reflecting the objectives (Silverman, 2015). The researcher carried out the study within the stipulated scope; therefore, it was necessary for the data to be grouped according to the variable of the exposition.
The process of studying the effects of social media marketing on the success of SMEs involved the need for a reliable analysis that will reveal the exact scenario at the time of the research process. The results showed a higher degree of the validity because the approach is appropriate because the study seeks to analyze the perceptions of the topic based on the views (Maxwell, 2012). Thus, the likelihood of the research validity and reliability is enhanced through the mixed method of research. The results of the exposition could be used to analyze the existing situation, implement intervention mechanisms, monitor, and evaluate the outcomes relating to effects of social media marketing on the success of SMEs.
Results and DiscussionThe use of social media in marketing focus on consumers and not on products (Gilmore, Audrey, David, and Grant, 2001). Many social media channels are used in marketing. Therefore, marketers in SMEs use different channels of social media to realize their organizational success. Below is a figure showing the social media channels used by SMEs in marketing.
The study shows that the marketing practices that are carried out by SMEs are is dissimilar from the marketing practices in large organizations. SMEs marketing strategies have been seen to be reactive, spontaneous, unstructured and informal because SMEs marketing is utilized for small family needs and there is no planning (Gilmore, Audrey, David, and Grant, 2001). For SMEs, the plan is just survival (Gilmore, Audrey, David, and Grant, 2001). The SMEs owner managers are the individuals influencing the success of their business. Thus, SMEs marketing strategies are not influential and well developed as small firms.
Presently, SMEs have adopted the use of social media in their marketing strategies since it represents a solution that is cost effective. Social media as a marketing weapon is used for free and only involve employee communication, general marketing market research, and reputation management (Michaelidou, et al, 2011). Thus, social networks lead to SMEs success because they increase brand and product awareness, the success of new products that are launched, customer loyalty and web traffic. The literature described that 60% of SMEs use social media as their marketing strategies leading to increasing marketing effectiveness which in turn leads to SMEs success (Michaelidou, et al, 2011). The increased use of social media and network as a marketing strategy has led to many benefits leading to SMEs success.
The figure shows the benefits of social media marketing in SMEs success.
SMEs can, therefore, focus and utilize social media marketing for their success through achieving their goals. SMEs have to arm and equip themselves with online tools of communication that are effective to give them a similar influence level that most big cooperations have (Michaelidou, et al, 2011). Thus, SMEs use of social media is a big change in marketing. Since Most SMBs describe that social media is beneficial for their business, it means that it is beneficial too for SMEs. Marketing using social media is significant for SMEs success.
ConclusionThe goal of the exposition investigates how the success of SMEs is influenced by the use...
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