The Effects Of Social Media On Small Business
Social media is a new phenomenon that has changed how the business environment operates. Businesses are able to gain access to resources that were otherwise not available to them. It has also helped businesses to increase their worthiness, cultivate strategic partnerships and increase their contact with customers and suppliers. It is therefore become important for business owners and marketers to understand how social media work as a communication and marketing tool and how they can significantly grow their businesses. The study investigate the effects of social media on small business in Ogun State. This was done by determining the major activities underlying the entrepreneurial development in Nigeria, the contribution of social media to business progress and effects of adopting social media platform on small business. The study adopted a survey research design. 200 Questionnaires were administered to the business owners in two local government within the states out of which 193 were retrieved. Both descriptive statistics (mean, frequency and percentage) and inferential statistics (regression) 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. Among the result reveals from the study are: 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. The study recommends that to better increase business results, small business owners must understands their digital needs or take help from expertise to save time and help achieve success online all start within a small budget also Presence on Facebook, and other social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp etc., is highly recommended to small business to reduce their overall cost of operations. It was concluded that the use of the social media contributes to the growth of small businesses.
1.1 Background to the Study
Entrepreneurial development all over the world and especially in Nigeria is a must to national economic growth and development. Apart from being the best approach to further diversify the nation’s economy from her mono-economy status, it is also crucial to poverty eradication and employment generation. In fact, it has been affirmed to be the bed rock of nation’s industrialization and the beginning of new era (Ogundele, 2007; Akinbola, Ogunnaike and Tijani, 2013). Entrepreneurship itself has a long history and can be dated back as far as 17th and early 18th centuries with the popular work of Richard Cantillon and Adam Smith but was largely ignored theoretically until the late 19th and early 20th centuries and empirically until a profound resurgence in business and economics in the last 40 years (Ebbena and Johnson, 2006; Shane, 2003).
In modern society, businesses have taken different forms in terms of ownership, available resources, management and control and all these have informed the definition of a small scale business. Meanwhile, the experience of many developing economies like Nigeria has shown that small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) can meaningfully contribute to the attainment of the national economic objectives (Abu & Ezike, 2012). Small scale businesses in particular have the potentials to achieve development objectives such as output expansion, employment generation, income redistribution, and indigenous entrepreneurship promotion and technological advancement among others (Abu & Ezike, 2012; Ogujiuba, Ohuche, & Adenuga, 2004).
In corollary, the contemporary organizations, small or big, now operate in the external environment characterized by intense global competition, technological innovation and change. This setting has the need for businesses to take initiatives, embrace risk, stimulate innovation and cope with level of uncertainty associated with external business factors such as technological innovation and change (Emangholizadeh, Borghei & Matein, 2011). Hence, this has led to the emergence of new media of marketing communications (Kotler & Keller, 2012) beyond the expectations of average entrepreneurs including the small business owners in recent times. The current trend toward social media as a new form of marketing communications with consumers is part of the change.
It is therefore not an understatement that the idea behind social media is far from groundbreaking (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). In fact, it is a new form of marketing communications that have revolutionalised the modern business communications and marketing practices across the globe (Kotler, 2012). The concept of social media has indeed generated confusion among scholars and practitioners (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010) but one can trace its evolutionary development from the origin till date to be able to appreciate its relevance to the small scale businesses. According to Kaplan & Haenlein (2010), social media has really passed through different stages of development before the popularity accrued to it today.
In their own account, social media started in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis from Duke University as the ‘Usenet’ representing a worldwide discussion system that allowed Internet users to post public messages. It became popular about 37 year ago, when Bruce and Susan Abelson founded ‘Open Diary,’ an early social networking site responsible for bringing together online diary writers into one community (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). This led to the creation of ‘weblog’ which also truncated as ‘blog’’ a year later when one blogger jokingly transformed the noun ‘weblog’ into the sentence ‘we blog’. With the increasing high-speed Internet access, social networking sites such as MySpace (in 2003) and Facebook (in 2004) were created and consequently, the term ‘Social Media’ was coined and became popular as it is used by all today. It has witnessed the most recent addition, with the advent of the so-called ‘virtual worlds,’ a computer-based simulated environments inhabited by three dimensional avatars (Kaplan
& Haenlein, 2010). The new dimensions have added LinkedIn and several other social platforms like Twitter, Whatsapp and the rest.
Among the observed challenges include finding alternative replacement for physical distribution of goods and contacts with consumers via virtual interactions and even intimacy through social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn or Whatsapp (Jones, Borgman & Ulusoy, 2015). Besides, social media has created a lot of countless opportunities for small businesses as they spend less on marketing communications and do not need to bother themselves on the required financial resources to reach out to their numerous customers using other traditional marketing communications tools (Jones, Borgman & Ulusoy, 2015). From the foregoing, it is clear that social media has brought some challenges and opportunities to small scale businesses today (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Moreover, small scale businesses must learn to use social media to their best advantage simply because of its far-reaching impact. Consequently, the concern of this study was to examine the effects of social media on different aspects of business operations of those businesses categorized as the small scale businesses, using selected small scale businesses in Ogun State, Nigeria as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The fact that small and medium scale enterprises operating in Nigeria side by side with large scale industries portend certain advantages from its small size. Nevertheless, the growth of small businesses or SME sub-sectors generally has been adversely affected by several factors as a whole but the case of small scale enterprises is aggravated and far more sharply because of their precarious defense mechanisms. One of the significant problems facing the small scale businesses is lack of marketing abilities and necessary skills to deploy modern technologies to reach out to its wide range of customers.
Besides, the complexity of the modern market conditions and poor locations of their sale outlets further restrict their ability to analyze and cope with the changing trends in the marketplace. Some small scale firms do not even have the financial muscle to compete favourably. These include what it takes to install new technologies, hiring and offering the same wage rate compared with large scale firms to attract best skilled workers to help them deal with the emerging issues arising from the technological change and adoption of new innovations such as social media platform to reach out and compete better.
Poor adoption rate of technological innovations may have contributed to their lack of access to sources of funding. The situation facing most SMEs in Nigeria gets worse by the inadequacy of infrastructural facilities thereby hampering industrial growth of SMEs in Nigeria. Could new technologies mean some progress for the SME sub-sectors in Nigeria? Do they stand to benefit a lot if they embrace the technological change brought by the social media networking sites? What impact would the adoption of popular social media platforms have on the general business operations of the small scale businesses and their owners? Obvious gap exists in providing answers to these puzzles and many more in the existing literature on the effects of social median on small scale businesses in Nigeia. This further stresses the need for this study as an attempt to examine the effects of social media on small scale businesses in Nigeria, using some selected small scale businesses in Ogun State as a case study.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the effects of social media on small scale businesses in Ogun State, Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study therefore include to:
- Examine activities underlying the entrepreneurial development in Nigeria with special reference to the business activities of small scale businesses in Ogun State in the last two decades;
- 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 platforms on business activities of the selected small scale firms.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions were attempted in view of the stated objectives of the study:
- What are the major activities underlying the entrepreneurial development in Nigeria in the last two decades?
- To what extent has the social media contributed to the business progress in Nigeria and beyond?
- Does the adoption of social media platforms have any significant effects on business activities of the selected small scale firms?
1.5 Relevant Research Hypotheses
The study also tested the following hypotheses:
- Ho: Social media has no significant role to play in the business progress in Nigeria and beyond.
Hi: Social media has significant role to play in the business progress in Nigeria and beyond.
- Ho: There are no significant effects of the adoption of social media platforms on business activities of the selected small scale firms.
Hi: There are no significant effects of the adoption of social media platforms on business activities of small scale firms.
1.6 Operationalization of Research Variables
The variables of the study are operationalized thus:
Y = f(X)
Where Y = social media
X = small scale business
X = (x 1 = innovativeness, x2 = risk taking, x3 = business )
By simple equation we have
Y = f(x 1)………..1 Y = f(x 2)………..2 Y = f(x 3)………..3
The regression equation is given as:
Y = α0 + β1×1 + µ………1 Y = α0 + β2×2 + µ………1
Y = α0 + β3×3 + µ………1
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study would be highly valuable to different stakeholders in the campaigns towards speedy entrepreneurship development in Ogun State and across Nigeria. First, it would be an eye opener to the Ogun State stakeholders and SME- sub-sector, especially in the area of business process improvement, office and marketing practices . Second, it would also improve their adoption rate of embracing the social media platforms in moving their businesses forward from the present state.
Third, the results emanating from this study would be a revelation to online- business operators and service providers and business students generally as it would also expose them to the vantage positions brought by the introduction and adoption of social media in the business world. Moreover, the results from this study will also help IT professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners to facilitate the required learning opportunities in the area of social media toward onward development of their entrepreneurial skills and improvement in their business performance in future.
Lastly, the study will be incomplete without mentioning its invaluable contribution to knowledge base and existing literature as well as the research libraries across the country on the subject matter as it will satisfy the knowledge quest and the need of any interested readers, lecturers and future researchers in the area of provision of some useful insight to them for any future studies in the similar area.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This scope of the study is restricted to two Local government areas in Ogun State, Nigeria owing to certain restrictions such as limited time frame and insufficient funding to carry out this study.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Some icons or figures used to represent particular persons in a video game, Internet forum or social media networks.
Refers to any form of interactive economic activities that lead to exchange of value through want satisfying goods or services.
Capital and Finance:
Capital is the money used in starting up a business or other materials set aside for production of wealth while finance refers to monetary resources or available funds or sources of funds to a business firm.
Summary of the Study, Conclusion and Recommendation
This chapter summarizes the findings into the effects of social media on small scale businesses using Ogun State, Nigeria as a case study.
5.1 Summary of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the effects of social media on small scale businesses in Ogun State, Nigeria. It examined activities underlying the entrepreneurial development in Nigeria with special reference to the business activities of small scale businesses in Ogun State 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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Frequently Asked Questions
How does social media affect businesses?
Social media can improve your business by providing customer insight into what products or services they are looking for and what items work and don’t work. You can use this marketing channel to post different promotions and to see which ones convert better than others.
Why social media will fundamentally change business?
Social media will have a particularly disruptive effect on business because it provides an alternative mechanism for realizing these key functions of the firm — knowledge integration and transaction cost reduction. As a result, successful companies may look entirely different because of social media.
Can social media really help my business?
Yes, it helps a lot. Social Media Marketing is something that helps you stay connected with the audience which actually loves to go with the trend. It actually let your brand to be presented in a more effective way in comparison with the rest of the mediums.
How social media in the workplace can benefit a business?
There are many benefits to using social media in the workplace. A few include improved communication within the company, promotion of the company brand, recruiting talent, and better customer service (which leads to increased customer loyalty). Of course, the benefits only come with proper management and communication with employees.