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77 Seiten, Note: 2.87
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 Statement of Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 Research question
1.5 Statement of the Hypothesis
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.7 Scope of the study
1.8 Definition of terms
1.9 The structure and organization of study
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW.
2.1 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
2.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.3 LIETRATURE ON THE SUBJECT MATTER
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.0 AREA OF STUDY
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN AND SOURCE OF DATA
3.2 STUDY POPULATION AND DETERMINATION OF SAMPLE SIZE
3.4 PROCEDURE FOR DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS
3.5 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER FOUR PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA
4.1 DATA PRESENTATION
4.2 FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
4.3 DISCUSSION OF THE FINDINGS
CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.0 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
5.3 PROPOSAL FOR FURTHER STUDIES
APPENDIX I – LETTER OF INTRODUCTION
APPENDIX II: QUESTIONNAIRE
This research work is dedicated to Almighty Allah for given me the good health and providing me with the financial support to successfully complete the programme. I appreciated the spiritual, inspirational and encouragement of my dear family in the course of writing this project.
My profound thanks goes to Almighty God, the most merciful and beneficial, for given me the strength, endurance, foresight, and thoughtfulness to embarked on this project and complete it to the satisfaction of The University of Business and International Studies.
I am grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Emmanuel Orakwue, for his positive criticism, thoughts engagement, patience, diligent and enriching inputs, which made the research project a reality. I also wish to acknowledge the motivation and support I got from Mr. Chukwuemeka Uwanaka, and my dear family members who inspired me to be steadfast and remain focus in the execution of this research. I wish to specially acknowledge the contribution of my wife and colleagues who gave me total support towards my pursuit of obtaining an Executive Masters of Business Administration. Lastly, I wish to acknowledge the support of individuals that made this project a reality.
Today, social media is widely used by businesses to simplify their operations. Before now business operations have been complex and expensive to maintain. SMEs are faced with the challenges of collaborating, attracting customers, communicate brand effectively, and simplify the delivery process of their businesses. In Nigeria, business owners and marketers have identified the importance of technology to improve business performance. As a result, many SMEs leverage social media to enhance their business success. This research study examined adopting the potentials of social media for performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Abuja, Nigeria particularly attracting customers and building a product delivery system.
The sample size for this study was 165 Small Medium Scale Enterprises in Abuja, Nigeria, who were active on social media networks and are willing to participate in the qualitative part of the research investigation. The qualitative approached was used to gather information from the company through a face-to-face interview of SME’s actively engaged in social media activities for business promotion. The study further used the chi-square analysis to interpret the data collected and test the hypothesis by conducting a survey questionnaire design and direct interview of the SME’s. This method focuses on collecting valuable information from the social media activities of the respondents. The thesis adopted an inductive approach to explore previous research phenomena’s from a new and action-oriented based perspective and the hypothesis was based on the literature review.
The research shows that social media has significantly contributed to the performance of SMEs. Majority of enterprises benefitted from the characteristics of social media. These include increase in global visibility, cost effectiveness, increase in collaboration, good customer service, providing update on company products and services, increase in loyal customers, prompt feedbacks on enquiries and complains, etcetera.
Table 4.1.1 Response rate
Table 4.1.2 Types of Business
Table 4.1.3 Academic Qualification
Table 4.1.5 Duration Enterprise was established-
Table 4.1.6 Number of Employee
Figure 1 Position in the Organization
Figure 2 Age Group
Figure 3 Level of Education
Figure 4 Social Media Usage by Sector
Figure 5 Social Media impact on business performance
With the increasingly access to Internet across Nigeria, and relatively low prices of smartphones, social media networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., have become a tool for users to build communities, foster relationships and enhance business growth.
Today, Social media is a top agenda among SMEs. Many firms have developed an integrated Social Media strategies to increase the performance of their business. Few companies have gone further to recruit consultant in order to optimally benefit from the opportunities, the platform has to offer. Social media tools are gaining popularity and increasingly in use among different sizes of businesses including start-ups, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and multinational corporations., (Lee et al, 2008).
Despite the advancement in the usage of the tools, little is being known by practitioners on the impact of social media networks on business performance, (Denyer et al, 2011). SMEs have limited understanding on the use of social media.
Hence, the research study aim to identify ways social media can leverage on the potentials of social media for the performance of their business.
Government and development experts have fully recognised the role of Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) to the economic development of a nation. Balassa, B (1972), asserted that the Asian economies like China and India have leverage on the potentials of SMEs for their economic expansion resulting in creation of employment, poverty alleviation, and expansion of tax system. In recognition of the contribution of SMEs to national development, Kadiri, I. B (2012), stated that SMEs, both formal and informal employed over sixty percent (60%) of the labour force in Nigeria. He further stated that over seventy percent (70%) of the SMEs in the country largely depended on manual or little or no automation in their operations. Also, (SMEDAN & NBS Survey, 2013) revealed that there are 37 million SMEs in Nigeria, which employed 84.01% of the labour force, contributing 84.47% to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and 7.27% to national export of the economy. Therefore, developing a viable SMEs is critical to the growth strategy and promotion of business culture among citizen of a country.
Despite the contributions of SMEs to the economy, majority of them are lacking several performance indicators that may help them reach their full potentials and compete globally. These performance indicators include increase in profit, high return on investment, improved sales turnover, and high number of customers, quality design and improvement of products as well as timely delivery of products. Bonga, W. G, (2010), opined that many countries lag behind in providing support for the existence of this sector. The sector is faced with hindering factors that makes it uncompetitive. In Nigeria, SMEs are faced with the problem that include high operating cost, poor infrastructure facilities, inadequate access to funds, bureaucratic bottlenecks, and lack of access to market, substandard products and multiple regulatory charges (Udechukwu, F.N. 2003). Churchill, et al (1983), categorized the lifecycle of a business to include existence, survival, success rate, take off and resources maturity. They further stated that the existence stage is the most critical for business survival. This is the stage where the business need to acquire customers and provide effective delivery of the products and services offered. Many SMEs fail at this stage because they find it difficult to gain customers and lack the capacity to become a viable business. Similarly, (Mason, et al, 2009), claimed that more than half of small businesses fold up in the first five years owing to poor management and lack of funding.
However, scholars and practitioners’ have identify social media as a viable tools that may be used to address these challenges faced by SMEs particularly at their early stage in terms of attracting customers and increasing the chances of recruiting logistics firm for easy product delivery (Churchill, et al, 1983).
The emergence of social media has no doubt changed the way businesses are conducted in modern day environment. Social media is part of Web. 2.0 which brought about innovation and problem solving features for SMEs performance. Butler and Matook (2014), defined social media as a collections of technologies and applications that allow individuals to communicate, exchange information, and share digital artefacts (e.g. photos and videos) with one another, often in the context of larger groups, communities, or networks. Examples are wikis, blogs, online social networks, virtual worlds, and community and crowdsourcing platforms. Also, (Kaplan, et al., 2010), asserted that social media can be categorised into six major parts and they are collaborative projects, blogs, user generated content, social networking sites virtual games world and virtual worlds. These classifications offer businesses the opportunities to exploit the benefit of applying these tools with minimal costs. The significance of social media to business existence cannot be overemphasised. It is a tool that can be used to acquire customers and assist in product or services delivery. For example, (Riemer, et al, 2010), posited that the new trend in the way businesses use Facebook include cost and time savings, promotion of their products, connecting to themselves and build a career advancement. These features of social media can serve as a tool for survival of small businesses in Nigeria.
Therefore, this research intend to investigate how Small and Medium Scale Enterprises can leverage the potentials of social media to identify the opportunities of increasing market shares through customer acquisitions in order to facilitate product delivery within Abuja.
The use of social media to leverage on the survival of SMEs in Nigeria is under-research. SMEs have underperformed towards contribution to the economic growth and development in the country. This situation has become a source of worry for the government, institutions, and the organized private sectors. The government through the annual budget has made allocation and several intervention policies towards promoting SMEs. Also, international agencies and developmental agencies have initiated and provided programmes to SMEs through incentives and other business support to achieve their potentials. Despite all the efforts from all stakeholders, SMEs are still faced with challenges relating to favourable business performance due to low level of patronage and inability to efficiently deliver the products and services offered. Technology has brought new dimension to the way businesses are conducted in the 21st century. Social media is a vital part of this new technology.
Practitioners and scholars argued that small businesses can leverage on the social media tools to improve their existence by increasing the capacity of their business to grow and contribute significantly to the economic development when the right technology is employed. The social media is built around a cardinal point of social contacts, reduce business operations cost, interactive customer relations system, innovation and favourable pricing as well as making organization recruitment process easy and attracting highly skill staff. Many of all these important features are available to use at little or no cost. This point to the view of (Kucuk, K, 2007), when he referred to social media as a network of virtual communities that transformed consumers, societies, and corporations with easy access of information, increase social networking and flexible communication abilities.
Therefore, this research seeks to leverage on the potentials of social media to address the problem faced by SMEs in their early stage particularly attracting customers and facilitating smooth delivery of products and services using selected businesses located in Abuja as case study.
This study seeks to identify the potentials of social media in the overall development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
It also aims at finding an effective ways, SMEs can leverage on the potentials of social media features in order to address the problem of business survival.
In addition, the study attempt to achieve the following objectives at the end of the study
1. To assess the features of social media networks that can enhance the performance of SMEs.
2. To determine whether or not SMEs in Abuja make use of social media for the growth of their businesses.
3. To ascertain SMEs depth/frequencies of application of social media for customers acquisition and product delivery.
4. To evaluate the problem encountered by SMEs in the use of social media for development of their businesses.
5. To suggest a more appropriate and efficient method, SMEs can benefit in the usage of social media.
It is obvious that business in Nigeria particularly the SMEs are facing several challenges affecting their performances. Social media is a simple yet unique tool that can be used to address some of these problems. To tackle these issues, the following questions need to be addressed.
1. What are the potentials of social media that SMEs can leverage on to increase their market shares?
2. How do SMEs use the features of social media to recruit the services of logistics agencies, suppliers and distributors?
3. In what ways are the understudy companies applying social media for the growth of their business?
4. How often do companies use social media and what are their impact on customer acquisition and products delivery?
5. What are the problems encounter in the application of social media on business performance?
6. What are the best ways to leverage on the potentials of social media for the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises?
For the purpose of this research, the hypotheses, to be tested are:
H0 –Leveraging on the potentials of social media has no relationship on the performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
H1 –Leveraging on the potentials of social media has positive impact on business performance of SMEs.
H2– There is a relationship between the application of social media and the growth of SMEs businesses.
H3– There is no relationship between the application of social media and the growth of SMEs businesses.
The study is important because SMEs play crucial role in the development of a nation. Aremu and Adeyemi, (2011), stated that the performance of SMEs are key indication to measure the level of industrialization, modernization, urbanization, employment generation, distribution of wealth and per capital income as well as quality of life in a country. Obitayo, K.M, (2001), opined that the lack of conducive and enabling macroeconomic policy are among the critical factors that drawback the survival, development and growth of SMEs in Nigeria. These has affected in becoming a major local and global player. The emergence of new technologies in which social media is part of, has given the SMEs an important tools to recreate their business goals.
Therefore, this study will help to find out the potentials of social media that can help small and medium enterprises to enhance performance and remain in business for long time. The outcome of the study will be useful to individuals, business owners and policy makers in providing adequate information regarding challenges faced by SMEs particularly the issue of customer acquisition and product delivery. It will further provide useful information to stakeholders on the best approach to adopt when addressing the use of social media with respect to small businesses in Nigeria. The result of this study can also provide useful guide to entrepreneurs and existing business owner who choose self-employment as a career, and for the promotion of their SMEs.
In addition, the study will also form a body of knowledge with respect to how small and medium enterprises can leverage on the potentials of social media for enhancing customers’ acquisition and effective delivery of products and services.
The scope of the study focuses on SMEs leveraging on the potential of social media for their business success. It contributed to the argument on whether the potentials of social media can be an effective tool for survival of businesses and how well has it impacted the SMEs. The firms selected are Kemas Innovative Global Ltd, Lubaba Natures, ISabi Packaging, Osas Agroprocessing Ltd, Global Feed Mill, Dee Smoothies Ltd, Sandos Bake Shop and several other businesses using social media for promotion of their business in Abuja.
This study does not cover large industries and companies that have department responsible for social media activities, due to time constraint. Although there might not be significant different in the way social media are being adopted by large firm compared to small businesses.
SMEs:According to SMEIS (2002), they define SMEs as any enterprises with maximum asset base of less than or equal to two hundred million (N200, 000, 000) excluding working capital and whose staff strength is not less than ten (10) and not over three hundred (300).
Social media:This can be defined as an online applications and platforms which allow users to interact, collaborate and share content (Palmer et al, 2009). This user can be individual, institutions and government.
Business Performance:This can be referred to as the accomplishment of a business including profits, return on investments, increase in market shares, etc.
Survival:This relate to the success and continuity of business operations for over a long time.
Customer acquisition:These are techniques to attract new customers using social media.
Logistics:This is the process of transporting the products to the end-users.
Product Delivery:These are the ways business owners deliver their products or services to their customers by initiating the process through social media.
Potentials:This refers to taking advantages of the opportunities presented by social media features.
Promotion:This refer to communicating with customers using advertisement, sales promotion, public relations, exhibitions and direct mail (Baker, 2003). In order words, it is an activities relating to creating awareness about company product and services.
Food Processing:This is transformation of raw materials or semi-materials into finished products and can be consume at that form.
Customer Loyalty:This is when a customer ensures that purchases a company product or services continuously.
Customer satisfaction:This is the act of making customers happy with products and services provided by a particular business.
Competitive market environment:This means a market where there are more than one business operating in the sector. Free entry and exit of business is allowed and the forces of demand and supply determines the price.
Decision Making:This is the act of making the best choice out of alternative available options.
Social Media Strategy:These are the different ways or approaches businesses use social media.
Social Media Networks: They are different social media platforms used to interact, socialize and collaborate e.g. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc.
Start-up Businesses:These are businesses in their early stage usually within zero to five (5) years.
This research will be organized into five (5) chapters, with each chapter focusing on different aspects of investigation.
Chapter one would be the introductory chapter, which would comprised of the general overview such as the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives, significance of the study, hypothesis, definition of key terms and the structure of the study.
Chapter two presents the literature review on the subject matter, including the conceptual and the theoretical framework as well as the summary of previous literature in the field.
Chapter three explains the methodology adopted in the study in order to answer the research questions and set the hypothesis.
Chapter Four provides details of the necessary information used in the study and the relevant analysis together with the findings arising from the results accordingly. Finally, Chapter Five is the summary, conclusions and the recommendations provided on the way forward for SMEs leveraging on social media for acceleration and growth.
Aremu, M.A., & Adeyemi, S.L., (2011), “Small and Medium Scale Enterprise as a Strategy for Employment Generation in Nigeria”, Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 4. No. 1, Development International Resources.
Baker, M (2003), The Marketing Book Fifth Edition, London: Butterworth Heinemann.
Ballasa, B (1972), The process of industrial development and alternative development strategies, Princeton Essays in international finance, no 141 Dec, Princeton: Princeton University Department.
Bonga, W.G (2010), Economic Development through Promotion of SME. Financial Gazette, Wednesday, 24 February.
Butler and Matook (2014) Social Media and Relationship Magazine. Version 1 – January 2014.
Churchill, et al, (1983), The Five Stages of Small Business Growth, USA, HBR Publishing.
Denyer, et al, (2011), Social, open, participative? Exploring personal experiences and organisational effects of Enterprises 2.0 use, Long Range Planning, 44 (5/6), 375 – 396.
Kadiri, I.B (2012), “Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and Employment Generation in Nigeria: the Role of Finance”, Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review; Vol. 1, No. 9.
Kaplan et al (2010) Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.’Business Horizons, 53 pp. 59 – 68.
Kucuk, K (2007), An Analysis of Consumer Power on the Internet, Technovation, 27 (1-2), pp.47 – 56.
Lee, et al, (2008): Web2.0 opportunities for small businesses. Service Business, 2 (4), pp. 335 – 345.
Obitayo, K.M (2001): Creating an Enabling Environment for Small Scale Industries. Bullion Publication of Central Bank of Nigeria, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 116 - 127
Palmer, et al, (2009), “An experiential, social network-based approach to direct marketing. An International Journal on Direct Marketing, 3(3), pp. 162 – 176.
Mason, et al. (2009), “Research on Small Businesses”, http://www.moyak.com/papers/smallbusiness-statitistics.html Accessed August 2009.
Riemer, et al, (2010), “Social Software: Agents for change or platforms for social reproduction? A case study on enterprise micro blogging”, 21st Australasian Conference on Information Systems, Brisbane.
Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme, SMEIS (2002). Prospects of Nigerian SMEs Under the Small and Medium Industries Equity investment scheme. Available at http://www.nigeriabusinessinfo.com/news.htm. Retrieved on 30 March 2014.
Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). National survey on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise, 2013.
Udechukwu, F.N (2003), Survey of Small and Medium Scale Industries and their potentials in Nigeria. CBN Seminar on Small and Medium Industries, Equity Investments Scheme; Publication of CBN Training Centre, Lagos.
This chapter focuses on the review of the literature as presented by various authors and scholars based on the objectives of this study. The chapter further explore the literature review and empirical evidence on the potentials of social media on performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Abuja, Nigeria.
The definition by (Laine and Frahwirth, 2010), have been selected to explain the concept of social media. Their definition have been widely cited in most articles reviewed. They refer to social media “as a tool or communication platform that avail people the opportunities to relate, make new friends, exchange information and generating content”. Social media is a new media that encourages social interactions among users. To support this claim, (Mayfield, A, 2000), asserted that social media “is an online platform that promote users participation, conversation, community, interactivity, collaboration, and information sharing”. In the same context, (Ahmad, et al, 2012) defined social media “as a collection of internet based applications that gives users the power to generate content”. They classified social media to include podcasts, web logs, news portal, forums, facebook, twitter, etc that create public communication system. Their study further discovered that social media makes communication easier among users. Also, (Constantinides & Fountain, 2008) based their definition by categorizing various social media tools including: Blogs, an enterprises journals with combined features of audio and videos used online e.g. google blogger; Social networks, an online applications that allow users to build personal website that is accessible to other users with capacity to exchange content e.g. Facebook; Content communities, a system that allow websites organization and sharing of content; forums; they are sites that gives users access to exchange ideas based on special interest e.g Nairaland.com; Content aggregators are websites that allow users the capacity to fully customized the information they wish to access e.g. Wikipedia. Kaplan and Haenlein, (2010), stated that social media build on the foundation of Web 2.0 and User Generated Content. Web 2.0 described the way software developers interact with end users. They are the foundation and ideology behind the evolution of social media. User Generated Content are the different ways people use this application. The user can initiate communication and the business can respond immediately. Weinberg & Pehlivan, (2011), elaborated on social media mix. They suggested that there are decisions SMEs owners have to take based on choice of social media, content strategies and overall goals of the social media implementation. For example, (Falkow, 2011), argued that each social media has its unique advantages. Instagram or Pinterest, good for promoting pictures, twitter for instant message of one hundred and fourty (140) characters. These features have changed the way businesses are conducted in today’s business environment. The world as experienced drastic change in information revolution. Sin, et al., (2012), listed the examples of popular social media to include Blogs, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. Derham et al., (2011), noted that social media is important because of low cost of operation, easy access of participation and low technology-based skill needed to use it. According to (Hennig-Thurau, et al, 2004), social media has changed the way marketers and consumers now interact. This technology has reduced the power of the middlemen thereby given sellers and customers direct access to communicate with each other. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010), classified social media into six (6), namely Collaborative projects (e.g Wikipedia); Content Communities (e.g. Youtube); Blogs and microblog (e.g. Twitter); Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook); Virtual social world (e.g. second life); Virtual game world (e.g World of war craft). Fischer & Reuber, (2011), further categorized social media “as an applications that include Facebook with capacity for social bookmarking; Youtube for video sharing; Flickr for images sharing; blogs for forum and Twitter for microblogging”. Their approach is to easily expand on the views of Kaplan and Haenlein. To further understand the emergence of social media applications, (Curtis, 2011), provided historic brief on the social media applications when he stated that “LinkedIn was created in 2003, followed by mySPace and Facebook in 2004, YouTube in 2005, and Twitter in 2006”. In less than few years the users on these platforms have grown extensively making them an attraction for business to promote their brands. A study conducted by (Jones and Fox, 2009), revealed that one-third of Americans young adults used internet to send electronic messages and over one-third of the users engaged in social media activities. Also, (Asuni and Farris, 2011) survey showed that there are over three (3) million Facebook users and over 60, 000 people on Twitter in Nigeria. They further revealed that most of the social media users in Nigeria access the application using their computers and mobile devices (phones and tablets). Scholars in the field of social media have predicted that majority of the phones purchase in the future will be mainly for accessing social media applications rather than making phone calls (Baekdal, 2008). Several reports have been conducted to explore the importance of social media to business. For example, in 2011, the Social Media Industry Report studied three thousand three hundred and fourty two (3342) businesses. Over ninety percent (90%) agreed that social media is crucial to the development of their businesses. It has helped them to do business in an exceptional and unique way. In addition, the study revealed that marketers agreed that social media gives their business over eighty-eight percent (88%) exposure. Further, study showed that new business using social media is likely to acquire at least fifty-six percent (56%) of the market shares; access to more leads, increased sales and they are likely to experience reduction in marketing and operating costs, (Mershon, 2011). Similarly, ( Jaoker, et al, 2009), stated that social media has brought new solution in such a way that customers are more accessible to business. Social media helps businesses to create awareness by exposing their brands to customers. Hutter, (2013), asserted that more engagement on social media helped business to build a stronger brand awareness. This platform can be accessed by domestic and international customers. Consistent promotion through social media has positive impact on business. Businesses should create brand awareness on social media platforms as this always have positive impact on sales. Customers are likely to buy products that are visible to them when surfing the internet. Stelzner (2012), asserted that the major benefits of social media to business is increased exposure. He further demonstrated the benefits of social media to business in a tabular form as shown below.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Despite all these benefits, there are still problems encountered by Small and Medium Scale Enterprises when apply social media to their businesses. Kaplan & Haenlein (2012), identified the challenges of small business integrating social media into their process to include the development of required technology infrastructure, level of investment to yield returns can sometimes be long-run, business without structured approach might find it difficult to optimize the benefit of the platforms as such marketers need to adopt social media based on the impact on the business operations. This will help SMEs to focus and ensure a result based approach to the use of social media on their business. Similarly, (Ashford, 2013), stated that sharing information with online users and connecting with global audience can present the challenges of disseminating sensitive information. He further argued that negative information can spread quickly on social media and they can cause damage to the reputation of a company. This can affect the operations of the business drastically if not properly managed.
The popular saying that customer is king emphasis the important role customer play in the existence of a business. Without customers, business cannot survive. A business with sizeable number of customers is guaranteed of operating for a long time and experience success. Social media presents the opportunities for business to obtain customers for their businesses. Cleland, (2000), asserted that internet is changing the way businesses acquired customers, build online relations, improve services and enhance brands, and therefore, trigger the way in increasing brand-building strategies and making accessible to customers much easier. Eric, (2008), postulated that every brand on social media is presented with the same features and benefits including ability to create fan page, share online resources, add multimedia and do much more. Irrespective of the size of the business, social media is available for all to use. The determination and strategy adopted in achieving result is what makes the difference. A business can attract customers by creating fan page, community forum, and encourage them to reviews products. This can be done through engaging the customers. Wang and Fesenmaier, (2004), explained that social media is an effective tool for customer relationship management with the features of providing in-dept, focused, and users generated content which is the foundation upon which social interaction and online relationship are built. Many social media networks built in features that gives users the opportunities to post contents and this content are avenue for business to attract customers through their preferences and contributions to conversations. For example, a company with social media fan page can attract more customers by conducting a background check of prospective customers by inviting them to like company social media page. These engagement might resulted into businesses building a strong and sizeable number of customers. The internet is a huge marketplace for businesses for customers. For example, The Social Media Industry Reports, revealed that Facebook have over one billion in 2012.
Similarly, the DigitXplus publications put the total number of internet users worldwide to be 3.2 billion in 2014 and Nigeria occupies number nine worldwide with 63 million unique internet users (DigitXplus, 2014). Also, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said the number of internet users in Nigeria increased from 90 million in April to 91 million in May, (NCC, 2017). Similarly, the Statista Group research revealed that Nigeria internet users are on the upward trend risen from 57.7 million in 2014 to 76.2 million 2016. They further stated that Facebook attracted the largest internet users in Nigeria with 16million users. As of January 2016, Facebook’s active users is put at 1.55 billion, representing 22 per cent of the entire world’s population. Other services offered by Facebook's have 900 million active users (WhatsApp), 800 million users (Facebook Messenger) and 400 million users (Instagram), globally, (Statista, 2016).
These available data give companies the opportunities to explore the potentials of social media in order to attract customers and build relationship with distributors for effective delivery of products and services rendered. Companies are likely to be more visible if the technology is rightly used for efficient results. As such marketers and business owners need to equip themselves with the necessary skills to tap into this goldmine market.
The second key element in business existence is a coordinated approach to delivery of products and services rendered. It is how long it takes a customer to wait before receiving a products. Businesses cannot be said to survive if the product rendered never reach the end users on time. Product delivery or logistics is a commercial activities of transporting or moving product and services rendered to the customers. In order to operate a successful business that ensure easy delivery of products, a good supply network is needed to be considered. A good supply network helps the business link the buyers and the sellers for easy transactions. Johnston & Clark (2005), stated that the key point in service delivery is the combination of satisfaction and experienced received by the customers. They further stated that this satisfaction and experience by customers can bring about customer loyalty for the business. Resulting in long-term revenue for the SMEs, the intention to buy more products, customers spending more money on the products and willingness of the customers to pay premium on the products and services rendered. The essence of logistics or product delivery is to ensure that products offered get to the customers in time. This can be achieved through customer service delivery, partnership with stakeholders like suppliers, distributors and stores.
Many SMEs find it difficult to foot the bills associated with logistics and delivery expenses, therefore, standing on the shoulders of established logistics company can serve as a relief in rendering these services. Most the delivery companies provide these services at a low costs to the SMEs. In achieving this, social media is a tool that facilitates the identification of stakeholders in the distribution company.
These effort can be achieved through collaboration which gives the business owner and marketers the best way to deliver superior products that meet customers’ needs. For example, God Is Good (GIG) Limited, a logistics company attracted SMEs that are interested in outsourcing their e-Commerce to the third party. As such, the SMEs eliminate the burden of warehousing and transportation of products across to their customers. Also, the Nigeria Postal Services provide unique delivery services to their clients by taking off the stress of delivery across the nation and international markets. Most of these services can be done online through several social media tools and platforms.
This research adopted the Honeycomb Framework otherwise called functional building block of social media developed by Kietzman in 2011. The framework identified seven functional blocks that Small and Medium Enterprises can leverage on social media networks for survival of their businesses. These include identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationship, reputation and groups.
The identity block helps explore the general information of the social media users. Bartel, et al, (2001), emphasised that the identity blocks gives the company the opportunity to communicate directly with the right customers, to achieve this, the company needs to maintain a strong organizational identities. Similarly, the identity block of the framework explained the extent to which users expose their information online. These can relate to information about user age, gender, professional, location, educational background and other information that describe the user. Kaplan & Haenlein, (2010), stated that the essence of social media is to encourage user to generate content. As such, the users provide the content on the platform. The taste and feelings differs among users. The identity of these users can be ascertained through their preference which can be determined by their online activities. Also, through their comments, users’ identification can be discovered. Hence, Small business needs to be viable online customers and promote activities that attract customers to their social media page. Activities like online games challenges, customer care services, prompt feedback and weekly product gifts are good ways of building reputable online identity.
The major challenges of identity block is the cyber-theft. There are online users who specialized on engaging in criminal activities online. To support this fact, Facebook Inclination (2012), claimed that out of the 1 billion active users on their platforms, 83 million users are fake. For example, some users use their real names for social media account while others prefer to use fictitious names. This set of users are mostly responsible for the information theft and engaged in all forms of internet fraud. In order to curb this nefarious activities, social media networking sites continue to update their privacy guidelines and rules.
The conversation element of the block means that the extent to which we interact with other users. Many social media are designed to fulfil this aim. People and groups interact on social media for several reasons. For instant, Tweeter, SnapChat, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. It is clear that social media is a reliable and effective communication tools that resolved the problem of timely communications and as such eliminate rumours, negative talks and encouraged customers to speak in favour of the organization. Beirut, (2009), asserted that most online users believed they can only be heard on this platform. He suggested that they can make the difference using the social media. For example, SMEs can create a social media page with the aim of communicating with their customers and passing important information about companies’ products, services and operations at large. Also, religious leaders communicate with their congregations using social media. Some social media sites are structured in a particular way. For example, Twitter is structure in a way that users can only summarize their thoughts in one hundred and forty words, i.e. one hundred and forty (140) words equals a tweet; on Facebook, one can expressed their thoughts without limitation, Instagram is built on promoting pictures, Snapchat is aim at promoting livestream. The social media to be adopted by SMEs should be determined by the goals and objectives the firms intend to achieve.
This implies the extent to which social media users exchange, distribute and receive contents among themselves. Many social media platforms give users the opportunities to share texts, videos, pictures, audios, links, and locations. There are specific contents that can be shared depending on which social media platform the user is using. For example, Celebrities shared their pictures on Instagram, other users shared news and update with their twitter account, most professionals used LinkedIn to communicate with other professionals. This list is long and differs among social media networks.
The honeycomb framework gives firms two opportunities in the application of sharing block of the mode. One is the need for businesses to evaluate what objects their users have in common and established the degree to which this object is posted. The shared object has the potentials to go viral and viewed globally. This feature is unique to business, as the object posted can be shared by online customers of the firm.
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