Social Media Entrepreneurship As A Tool For National Development

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Social Media Entrepreneurship As A Tool For National Development


Abstract


This study was carried out to investigate social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development with a particular focus to selected businesses in Lagos State, Nigeria. To achieve this objective, three research questions and one research hypothesis were formulated to guide this study. The data was collected from primary sources. The primary data were collected with the help of a well-structured questionnaire of two sections administered to the staff of selected businesses in Lagos State, Nigeria. The collected data were analyzed with tables and simple percentages to analyze the research questions while Chi-square statistical tool was used to test research hypothesis. The study revealed that social media entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for national development. The study concluded with some recommendations media initiatives in the country should enlighten small business owners and marketers in Nigeria on the usefulness of social media in entrepreneurship development.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has the potential to be one of the prime drivers of development on the continent. Nevertheless, the country’s development is constrained by the weak environment for broad-based economic growth. Achieving sustainable long-term change requires a significant strengthening of policy formulation and implementation processes. At its core, this involves the supply of, and demand for, improvements in the business environment. Social media entrepreneurship is a new phenomenon that has changed how the business environment operates. Businesses are able to gain access to resources and online exposure 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 has become important for business owners and marketers to register their presence on the social media which also work as a communication and marketing tool which significantly grow their businesses. The entrepreneurs on social media have the ability of sharing their business ideas and encounters. This assists in creativity, open communication and sharing of knowledge among users. Facebook, Skype and discussion forums are examples of social media tools where large numbers of entrepreneurs participate (Tapscott and Williams, 2008). The sky is the limit with social media. Owing to of the flexibility of social networking tools, businesses can realize different benefits.

These according to Simon (2012) are greater access to different audiences, increased patronage, improved customer service, improved products and services, job creation and adoption of favorable pricing practices. The 21st century has seen a shift in the way businesses operates. Smith and Taylor (2004) reveal that companies are presently experiencing several new unanticipated events and the development of the Internet as a communication channel is almost certainly one of the most influential factors. The internet has brought about several new elements – it has made consumers more accessible, it has emerged with a completely new set of communication tools that make the process of exchanging information much easier and faster, and it has compelled companies to rethink how they are communicating with their customers (Jaokar, Jacobs, Moore and Ahvenainen, 2009).Entrepreneurs, marketers and consumers are witness the appearance of virtual social media. As of January 2012, there were more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 250 million of them logging in everyday. In addition, the average Facebook user has 130 friends and likes 80 pages but this figure is expected to expand with time. Additionally, over 3.5 billion pieces of contents such as blog posts, web links and news stories are shared on this social network (Digital Buzz, 2012).

The Internet and the online social networks allow individuals to connect with one another. It is important for entrepreneurs and marketer to grasp how the Internet functions and the expectations of its users. Mangold and Faulds (2009) recognize that social media allows an enterprise to connect with both existing and potential customers as the number of businesses that fully operates online only continues to increase all over the world. This has greatly reduced unemployment thereby contributing to economic growth all over the world. Social networking has led to the introduction of social media entrepreneurship and presented new ways of communicating to expanse audiences on various Internet platforms. Different kinds of organizations render various services through the social media all over the world e.g. health, news, sports, education etc. (Kotler and Armstrong, 2011).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

There are many reasons why individuals become entrepreneurs; it could be to earn money, to make a difference to community / environment or simply passionate about it or to fulfill a lifelong dream. Whatever the reason maybe, it is not a joke or a simple task in just becoming an entrepreneur or to start a business, the individual needs lots of resources such as capital, labor, technology/ technical know-how, and many other things. Location of this business and visibility and increased patronage is another factor to consider. Entrepreneurs extensively use the social networks to obtain access to a large population of people all over the world through the internet and also use contacts in decision making and sharing ideas. Social media Entrepreneurs operates their business online, this has greatly reduced unemployment all over the world (Greve and Salaff 2003). However, the researcher is examining social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of this study:

  1. To examine social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development.
  2. To examine the advantage so social media entrepreneurship.
  3. To identify the factors militating against social media entrepreneurship.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Can social media entrepreneurship be used as a tool for national development?
  2. What is the advantage so social media entrepreneurship?
  3. What are the factors militating against social media entrepreneurship?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

HO: Social media entrepreneurship cannot be used as a tool for national development.

HA: Social media entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for national development.


1.6 Significance of the Study

The following are the significance of this study:

  1. The results of this study will throw light on approaches to social media entrepreneurship and how it can be used as a tool for national development.
  2. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.

1.7 Scope / Limitations of the Study

This study on the social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development will cover the activities of the entrepreneurs on the social media and the profitability with a view of determining its effect on national development.

Limitation Of Study
Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the summary, conclusion and recommendations for further studies.


5.1 Summary

This study was carried out to investigate social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development with a particular focus to selected businesses in Lagos State, Nigeria. To achieve this objective, three research questions and one research hypothesis were formulated to guide this study. A structured questionnaire was use as the main instrument to gather data from 120 selected businesses in Lagos State, Nigeria. Out of this number, 95 (79.2%) copies of questionnaire were appropriately completed and returned for data analysis while 25(20.8%) copies of questionnaire not completed and returned.

The data collected from the respondents were analyzed using simple percentage and tables to analyze the research questions while Chi-square (X2) statistical tool were used to test the hypothesis. The findings revealed that social media entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for national development.


5.3 Conclusion

Based on the findings of this study, and subsequent recommendations, it is concluded that entrepreneurs in Nigeria used social media as a strategy to enhance competitive advantage. It was noted that entrepreneurs used social media with most of them using Facebook and Twitter and formulate and implement their social media strategies. Line managers were charged with responsibility to ensure the social media strategies were implemented. Further, because staff members are moderately involved in the formulation of the social media strategy, they are more aware of it and thus contribute to the success of the same. Social media strategies have influenced customer service, corporate image, sales and have led to a reduction is advertising expenses.

Furthermore, social media strategy has enhanced competitive advantage among insurance companies in Nigeria because the firms have experienced an expansion in customer base and sales, an improved corporate image and better customer service all of which form the intangible assets of the firm. From the findings, organisations that use social media seem to have a competitive edge over their competitors who may not be online. Social media enable business ventures to communicate with their customers mutually. The authors argue that social media networks can assist small business to manage relationships with customers through robust marketing, innovative communication and supply channels, improved selling of custom-made products, technical support and online interactive community. With social media such as Facebook and Whatsapp, Small and Medium scale Enterprise (SMEs) can gain access to resources that were otherwise not available to them, increase their scope and worthiness, cultivate strategic partnerships and increase their contact with customers and suppliers


5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following recommendations:

  1. Media initiatives in the country should enlighten small business owners and marketers in Nigeria on the usefulness of social media in entrepreneurship development.
  2. The management of the company must ensure that all units and departments support the strategy and should involve the staff members at both formulation and implementation phases.
  3. Companies should expand their social media usage to include blogs as these can be used as an avenue to educate their clients better since social media platforms like Whatzapp Facebook tend to be geared towards shorter messages and as such may fall short where greater content is necessary.

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