Role of Social Media Marketing as a Platform for Startups and Small Scale Business
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to investigate the Role of social media marketing as a platform for startups and small scale business in Abuja, Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study therefore include to:
- Examine activities underlying the start up and business development in Nigeria with special reference to the business activities of small scale businesses in Abuja;
- Appraise the role of social media, as an environmental variable, in modern business enterprises, especially its contributions to their business progress in times;
- Evaluate the effects of the adoption of social media marketing platforms on business activities of the selected small scale firms.
Our focus in this chapter is to critically examine relevant literature that would assist in explaining the research problem and furthermore recognize the efforts of scholars who had previously contributed immensely to similar research. The chapter intends to deepen the understanding of the study and close the perceived gaps.
Precisely, the chapter will be considered in two sub-headings:
- Conceptual Framework
- Theoretical Framework and
- Empirical Studies
CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK
Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networksUsers typically access social media services via web-based technologies on desktop computers, and laptops, or download services that offer social media functionality to their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablet computers). When engaging with these services, users can create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities and organizations can share, cocreate, discuss, and modify user-generated content or pre-made content posted online. They introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between businesses, organizations, communities and individuals. Social media changes the way individuals and large organizations communicate. These changes are the focus of the emerging field of technoself studies. Social media differ from paper-based media (e.g., magazines and newspapers) or traditional electronic media such as TV broadcasting in many ways, including quality, reach, frequency, interactivity, usability, immediacy, and permanence. Social media operate in a dialogic transmission system (many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media which operates under a monologic transmission model (one source to many receivers), such as a paper newspaper which is delivered to many subscribers or a radio station which broadcasts the same programs to an entire city. Some of the most popular social media websites are Baidu Tieba, Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger), Gab, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Viber, VK, WeChat, Weibo, What sApp, Wikia, and YouTube.
EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media have evolved through Web 2.0, a term coined to describe a new wave of Internet innovation that enables users to publish and exchange content online Kaplan and Haenlein (cited in Eun 2011:6). Social media encompass a wide range of electronic forums, including blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook), creative work-sharing sites (e.g., YouTube), business networking sites (e.g., LinkedIn), collaborative websites (e.g., Wikipedia), and virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life). Among these social media, social networks and microblogs are the most popular, accounting for 22.7% of all time spent online in the United States ACNielsen (cited in Eun 2011: 6). According to Dominick (2009:283) Web 2.0 is the idea of a second generation Internet that is highly participatory, allowing users to improve it as they use it. Social media contents are primarily written and published by their users and not owners or employees of the site. For instance, most adverts, videos and pictures on Facebook and Twitter are uploaded by visitors of the sites. Jenkins et. al (cited in Stagno: 2) observe that Web 2.0 has been growing tremendously as it facilitates the production and dissemination of information, allows for the involvements in participatory culture to share individual expressions or creations and bring people with similar interests and goals to connect with each other on blogs, social networking sites and others. Few years ago, websites were quite static and passive. There was no much interaction going on as they were mostly corporate websites. The only way an individual could participate online was to send an email or form to the owners or web master of the website and hope that they would get back to him. This type of arrangement was called Web 1.0, referred to as “first generation Web where users generally consumed content. The audience went to web pages and looked at content provided by the website owner” Dominick (2009:283). But today, users have become producers which mean that they simultaneously consume and produce information (Bruns, cited in Stagno 2010:1). Igbinidu (2011:26) explains that the first exploitation of the potential of the social media especially to spread a candidates message, gain support and get the public engaged was through the 2008 presidential campaign by the then Senator Barack Obama who eventually became American president. The Obama campaign reached five million people on 15 different social media platforms. As at November 2008, Obama had approximately 2.3 million Facebook supporters; 115,000 Twitter followers and 50 million viewers of his YouTube videos. Facebook is a social network for connecting people with those around themfriends, family, coworkers, or simply others with similar interests. Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 alongside his roommates and fellow computer science classmates Eduardo Saverin, Austin Maskovitz and Chris Hughes at Harvard University in the U.S (Locke cited in Nnaane 2011:15). Initially, Facebook membership was restricted to Harvard students but later extended to other colleges in Boston and Stanford University all in the U.S. “Since 2006, Facebook has expanded beyond Harvard to other 24 schools, corporations, businesses and any user across the world” (Dunay & Krueger 2010:27).
AREA OF STUDY
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitute of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried out to examine the Role of social media marketing as a platform for startups and small scale business in Abuja using selected business organizations in two (2) area councils in Abuja. Ten (10) small businesses were purposively selected from each local government thus staffs of the selected business forms the the population of the study.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of Two Hundred (200) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which were returned and validated. For this study a total of 193 was validated for the analysis.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
This chapter summarizes the findings into the role of social media marketing as a platform for startups and small scale business using Abuja, Nigeria as a case study.
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the Role of social media marketing as a platform for startups and small scale business in Abuja, Nigeria. It examined activities underlying the entrepreneurial development in Nigeria with special reference to the business activities of small scale businesses in Abuja in the last two decades. It appraised the role of social media, as an environmental variable, in modern business enterprises, especially its contributions to their business progress in times. It evaluated the effects of the adoption of social media platforms on business activities of the selected small scale firms. The study adopted a survey research design. 200 Questionnaires were administered to the business owners and their staffs in two local government within the states out of which 193 were retrieved. Both descriptive statistics (mean, frequency and percentage) and Chi-Square were used to analyze the quantitative data that was collected with the aid SPSS. The results of the study have been presented in tables and figures for easy interpretation.
Social media marketing is important because it aligns with the way consumers make purchasing decisions. Study indicates that increasing numbers of consumers are using internet services and research to carry out preliminary product and price research before making final decisions. Social media marketing enables to build relations with customers and prospects through regular, low-cost personalized communication, reflecting the move away from mass marketing. Marketing products through social media costs less than marketing them through a physical retail outlet. Social media marketing enables to personalize offers to customers by building a profile of their purchasing history and preferences. Most entrepreneurs use social media marketing to build communities around there businesses.Findings from the study: there is a positive and significant effects of the adoption of social media platforms on business activities of the selected small business, Social media has open up more business opportunities and reduce the overall coast of business operations.
From the findings of this work, the following recommendations were made:
That more Nigerian organisations should embrace social media advertising since it has the potential of reaching their target market. They should see the platforms as good avenues to market their products, counter negative perception about their products/services and attend to their customers and potential customers online. While incorporating social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) as part of their marketing strategies, there is need for organisations to develop engagement strategies and learn how to operate through these new channels. Intending advertisers should formulate their social media strategies; appoint social media 87 managers to manage their customers online before carrying out a social media campaign and invest the quality time required in social media advertising to be more successful. Opening a Facebook and Twitter account that is not interactive is apparently not the best. Those business organization who are yet to register their presence on Facebook and Twitter because they are skeptical about the medium should embrace change bearing in mind that every innovation has its own peculiar challenges, thus social media have come to stay.
Advertisers already utilizing social media who are not engaging their customers in conversations or responding to complaints should change their attitude because the essence of social media advertising is for both advertisers and consumers to relate on a on a one- on- one basis about their products or services.
Quickly responding to criticisms and concerns voiced on Facebook and Twitter can impress other Facebook and Twitter users and make them more disposed to follow a brand or see what other communication options are available to them.
Business organisations should not only register their presence on Facebook and Twitter and depend on their updates, notes, wall posts to keep their fans or followers informed about what they do, but they should actually place adverts and pay the owners of the sites bearing in mind that their adverts would get to their target market based on their location, age, interest and activities online, while information or tweets posted on their wall are limited to only their network of friends (fans or followers) unless it is so interesting that people will be willing to share them with others. The reason for this is to enable business organisations maximise both paid search and the viral spread of their message.
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