Perception Of Students Towards Social Media As A Marketing Tools
The main aim of this study was to investigate the perception of UNILAG students towards social media as marketing tools: An appraisal of Facebook. It was established that companies are promoting their products and services on social media especially facebook while many students patronise the products/services. Respondents admitted that very often they clicked like, share, comment and view advert on social media to the extent of navigating the sponsors webpage. The challenges facing social media users in patronizing goods and services online were attributed to fear of been duped, poor browsing data and service to stay long on a social media and blogs. Survey research design was adopted using questionnaire for data gathering.
Two hundred (200) respondents were drawn among the students using non-probability sampling method (purposive sampling technique) to pick the respondents. However, out of 200 copies of the administered questionnaires one hundred and eighty nine (189) copies were retried upon which the analysis was based. Frequency and percentage with tables was used in data analysed. It was recommended that companies and individuals should watch over some sites that may be using their name or related to dupe people online. All effort should be developed to ensure that fraud is minimized to the barest minimum, so that people especially, the internet users can have a rest of mind to shop online and receive their products and services.
This chapter introduces the subject of the study which is the social media and also outlines the motivation of the study including aims and objective of the study. This is also followed by definition of research problems and limitation of the research.
1.1 Background of the Study
Social media is a phenomenon that has drawn a lot of attention both to companies and individuals interacting on the networking landscape. However, when it comes to giving a clear definition of what social media really is, the understanding of the term is very minimal. Managers and academic researchers seem to differ on how social media differ from interchangeable related concept web 2.0 and User Generated Content (Kaplan and Haenlein: 2009).
Looking way back into the history of the internet where social media might have evolved from, a clear understanding of related concepts can be derived. In 1979, Truscott and Ellis from Duke University created the Usenet, a worldwide discussion system that allowed users to post public messages. Usenet is a hybrid between email and web forums and the discussions therein are threaded with modern news reader software (http://nzblord.com/usenet/).User Generated Content entered usage in 2005; it covers a variety of media information available. It includes all digital media technologies such as, digital video, blogging, podcasting, forums, review-sites, social networking, mobile phone photography and wikis. Hence User Generated Content is a sum of all ways in which people make use of social media (Kaplan and Haenlein 2009).
Web 2.0 is a term that was coined by Tim O‟Reilly in 2004, however since its inception; it has remained difficult to define. Nonetheless web 2.0 is all about information sharing and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Coherently, Alexander and Levine (2008) identified two essential features that are instrumental in distinguishing web 2.0 projects from the rest of the web: micro content and social media. The micro content feature enables authors to create small pieces of content, with each piece conveying a primary idea or concept. The pieces are smaller than websites and are meant to be reused in multiple ways and places. Examples of such pieces can be found in YouTube comments, Picasa images, blog posts and wiki edits which are only few thousand bytes.
In addition to the above description of what web 2.0 is about, an assertion has been made that software developers and end-users started to utilize World Wide Web in order to continuously modify contents and applications in a participatory and collaborative fashion. As a matter of fact, web 2.0 is considered to be platform for the evolution of Social media. In view of this, Kaplan and Haenlein (2009) define Social media as a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content.
The intertwining of the descriptions of the concepts will continually create uproar as to who can best define the terms satisfactorily; consequently the subject on social media will therefore remain synonymous among many social network users and managers. It is fair to believe that this is a metamorphosis of the networking community that first evolved in late 1970s. Due to the rising technological advancements the changes seem to take different forms and names but the main features are quite similar. It is a perspective that is also supported by Marshall McLuhan, that social media is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame”.
(http://thinkexist.com/quotation/it_is_the_framework_which_changes_with_each _new/152871.html). McLuhan was a philosopher, whose work is viewed as the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as advertising and television industries.
Over the years marketers have researched on how best customers/prospective customer relationship with the producer (company) can be enhanced. The debate was first initiated by Grönroos (1994) with the declaration of paradigm shift from marketing mix to relationship marketing concluding that marketing is a multifaceted social process and therefore the traditional 4Ps has become absolute and irrelevant because of the evolving trends in business, such as strategic partnerships, alliances and networks (Grönroos 1994). The interesting dimension in the debate was introduced by Morgan and Hunt (1994) who suggested that a successful relationship between business and its customers requires commitment and trust (Morgan and Hunt 1994). The interactions between the business and the customer ought to be an ongoing process, on continuous discrete basis with a view of seeing a customer as a relationship partner (Grönroos 2005: 21).
The rational for this study was motivated by a personal interest in the social media and also the desire to investigate the impact and the relationship between social media and brand awareness from a business perspective. A quick review of the literature reveals that though social media and advertising (Palmer & Lewis: 2007, Tuten 2008, Webber 2007) has been researched, but not the impacts of social media on brand awareness from a business perspective. However, the work of Harris and Rae‟s (2011) titled, “building a personal brand through social networking” is the closest study that looked at the social media networks and marketing. Nevertheless, Harris and Rae‟s work purely focused on building personal image (brand) using social networks. Dutta (2010) also looked at the impact of social media from a personal view in his Harvard business review article. And therefore, since there is little knowledge concerning the impact of social media on awareness from a business level, this study is to investigate the impacts of the social media phenomenon on brand awareness and its implementation challenges. Recently; we have seen the impact of Facebook and the rise of its market value in terms of brand equity. According to an analyst, the rise of Facebook‟s market value to $3.71bn was a result of the social media popularity that has made the company users and advertising revenue increase (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16789785).
During 2008 US Presidential elections, President Obama used social media effectively during campaigns and later became a brand name online. The study is therefore designed to explore the impact of the social media on marketing as marketing activity and also determine whether the traditional advertising media such as radio and print have died and are no longer effective as a result of the social media.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
the study research problem can be conceived as Can social networks be used by companies to create brand awareness and what are the challenges facing companies that still use the student perception on the traditional advertising channels only? Social networks refer to the connection, relationship and interactions that happen within the social media platforms. On a marketing perspective, these are interactions between the marketers and those interacting within the constructs.
1.3 Research Question
To study the above, the research question is therefore broken down into the following;
- What are student perception on the student perception on the role of social media and its impacts on marketing
- What are student perception on the challenges facing companies using social media today and how they can be managed or minimized.
- Are traditional advertising channels for marketing still relevant today in the era of social media
- Are social media networks are the best tools for marketing.
1.3 The aims and Objective of the Study
The essence of this study is to research how a student perception towards social media as a marketing tool. The specific objectives are thus;
- To assess the student perception on the role of social media and its impacts on marketing
- To determine the student perception on the challenges facing companies using social media today and how they can be managed or minimized.
- To Outline the student perception on the traditional advertising channels for marketing and determine whether they are still relevant today in the era of social media
- To determine whether social media networks are the best tools for marketing.
H1: Social Media Marketing has significant impact on Consumer buying behaviour.
H2: Promotional Marketing has positive impact on Consumer buying behaviour.
H3: Traditional marketing channels Marketing has positive impact on Consumer buying behaviour.
1.6 Scope of Study
The main aim of this study was to investigate the perception of UNILAG students towards social media as marketing tools: An appraisal of Facebook. It was established that companies are promoting their products and services on social media especially facebook while many students patronise the products/services. The study used UNILAG student as case study
Conclusion and Recommendation
Even though they are becoming popular and effective marketing tools, Social network sites can pose a threat as well as an opportunity to companies as they can rapidly spread the views of dissatisfied customers‟ comments. Social networks and the Web offer small and large companies new and unique opportunities to engage with their customer and learn about customers‟ needs in real time like never before. Evidence presented suggests that the peer group online social network effect can potentially influence purchase decisions because of its viral nature.
Social media alone cannot be effective without augmenting it with other traditional media channels like radio, newspaper, or TV even though it is widely reported that the effectiveness of traditional media and their use is sharply falling. In general it is worth having a social media strategy in place to manage the enormous challenges that social media brings.
The findings of the empirical framework coincided with the theoretical framework based on the research problems. The study shows how social media has become an important tool for marketing and marketing. In fact it is foreseen that in the near future there will be a paradigm shift from traditional advertising to social media platforms. The study also identified some challenges the students in UNILAG has faced using social media.
Since this is a very important and new phenomenon it is recommended that a further research to study this phenomenon would be appropriate. From a students perspective there is a huge potential in the social media and with the resources that Itronic have got they should consider expanding their social media strategies to include online surveys and Blogs for product reviews, for example writing opinionated content on the blogs would enable the students to initiate conversation which will enhance the level at which people would want to engage with the brands. Itronic should measure its social media marketing metrics, for example if they want to measure awareness, they would need to monitor growth, likes, subscribers and brand awareness. As for loyalty the thing to look at would be engagement, influence and referrals.
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