Utilization Of Social Media As A Marketing Strategy In Entrepreneurial Business

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Utilization Of Social Media As A Marketing Strategy In Entrepreneurial Business


Abstract


This study focused on the Utilization Of Social Media As A Marketing Strategy In Entrepreneurial Business in Port Harcourt, River State as case study.

The study underscored the importance of social media viz-a- viz the dynamism occurring in the advertising world. With the popularity of these social media and their inclusion as part of the advertising budget of some business organisations, the problem of this research was stated guided by five research questions. For clarity of purpose, advertisers (entrepreneurs, business organisations and corporate organisations) and consumers (individuals, students, applicants, civil servants and other users) in Port Harcourt metropolis were used as study units for the research and relevant literatures on social media and advertising were reviewed.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are staff and business owners in Port Harcourt.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The new media have introduced new dimensions to human communication. One of such dimensions is the introduction of the social media. Social media are media for social interaction. They are sites that are based on user participation that allow individuals or groups to generate content and engage in conversations and exchange of contents (Wikipedia). Social media are also online media that promote participation, openness, conversation, community, connectedness, interactivity, collaboration and information sharing (Mayfield, 2008: 1; Shepherd, 2009:1; Rodman, 2010: 278 and Stagno, 2010: 1)).

Social media build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, which allows for collaboration and the creation and exchange of user-generated content (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010a: 61). Arens, Weigold and Arens (2011: 552) remark that “these sites are called social, primarily, for their ability to connect like-individuals in a manner that have never been seen before”. Social media allow people to exchange personal comments, political views, business ideas and commercial messages using various online platforms such as blogs, microblogs and social networks.

The increasing rate of growth of these social media has made it impossible for them to be ignored by individuals and business organizations (Omeruo 2010:12).

Giving credence to the above, Osae-Brown & Emelike (2011:12) notes that social media are changing the way some business people communicate with their customers; the same way that consumers are using the social media to take charge of their shopping experience and connect with others. They explain that these social media have become an instantaneous marketing tool used by ambitious marketers to create awareness for their products and services and build strong online presence and community.

Dominick (2009:32) explains that advertisers particularly showcase their products/services on social networks and use networks such as blogads to target specific blogs whose readers would be likely customers. Some advertisers also have links or hyperlinks below their adverts to connect their customers to their websites, social networking homepages or blogs.

Social media are “undoubtedly shaping and redefining the nature of communication among people all over the world” (Nnanne 2011:5) especially, the way advertisers communicate, interact and engage with customers and the way customers also engage with business organizations/entrepreneurs they do business with . The attraction to social media by business organizations/entrepreneurs is that barriers are broken as they can relate to customers on a one-on-one basis. Prior to now advertisers hardly hear what consumers are saying about their products unless they embark on research but “social media, blogs and micro blogs have made it possible for consumers to express their opinions and experiences about a pr oduct” (Arens,Weigold and Arens, 2011:552). These possibilities stem from social media highly interactive nature.

Sometimes, friends would have to draw the attention of their friends to some services or products they have seen or used on social platforms. The degree of trust a person has for his friend might determine if he would trust an advertisement referred to him by his friend or not. Moriarty, Mitchell & Wells (2009:343) made this clearer when they said that “your relationships with friends will affect how you respond to adverts in social media”.

The above assertion explains the genuine building of social authority which is a key component in successful social media advertising. Social authority implies that business organizations have to make people believe that they are credible, take good care of their reputation, and value their existing customers because these people are sources of information for their potential customers as they do not only use their products/services but interact with their friends about such products on social platforms.

The rapid rise of social media has brought with it a large amount of business models which are more easy to implement, run, and profit-oriented. With these rapid changes in business environment and processes, it has become paramount for traditional media to “move along with time” by changing their advertising platforms in order to remain relevant and competitive in this modern time (Zuwarimwe and Kristen, 2010). The 21st century has seen a shift in the way businesses market their products and services. Smith and Taylor (2013) reveal that businesses are presently experiencing several new unanticipated events and the development of the social media as a communication channel is almost certainly one of the most influential factors. The social media 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 entrepreneurs to rethink how they are communicating with their customers. According to (CP Africa, 2013) Nigeria has overtaken other African countries to become the largest user of social media networking sites. The social media is playing a significant role in the success of e-commerce in Nigeria since it came into existence in the country in 2005. The power of the social media in the 21st century in transforming the business system cannot be over emphasised. This has prompted governments and business organizations in developing countries including Nigeria to step up their effort in the adoption of social media technology for effective communication (Nwabueze and Ugwonno, 2010). Entrepreneurs have been widely acknowledged as being the most viable vehicle for sustaining industrial development because they possess the capacity to promote an indigenous enterprise culture (Ugwushi, 2009). In most developing economies, entrepreneurship is being used as a strategy for employment generation, food security, poverty alleviation, rapid industrialization, and reversing rural urban migration.

This is why the development of entrepreneurial businesses has attracted the attention of governments, academics, researchers and policy makers around the world in finding ways tofacilitate the development of entrepreneurial training and among other initiatives, through the effective adoption and utilization of e-commerce.

Nowadays entrepreneurial businesses are increasingly using and adopting e-commerce due to the advent of Personal Computer, cost-effectiveness and cheaper information communication technology (ICT). ICT can improve business competitiveness with internet providing numerous opportunities for SMEs to compete equally with large corporations (Alberto and Fernando, 2007). E-commerce has a positive impact on business operations. It conveys a wide range of benefits, and companies that are left behind in adopting this new system cannot compete favourably in the global marketplace (Noor, 2009). Small businesses in particular can now overcome some of their major disadvantages, such as size, limited financial, technological and human resources, and limited exposure to the global marketplace, by adopting Internet technologies (Cooper and Burgess, 1998; Maswera, Dawson and Edwards, 2008; Olatokun and Bankole, 2011).

Despite the fact that many small businesses are turning more and more to global markets (Stockdale and Standing, 2004), studies have found that small businesses in both developed and developing countries are slow in adopting e-commerce than their larger counterparts and, indeed, invest less in e-commerce technologies per employee than larger firms (Buckley and Montes, 2002; Apulu and Ige, 2011; Iddris, 2012; Irefin et al, 2012).

Entrepreneurs use social media for creativity, open communication and sharing of knowledge among users. Social media allows businesses to gain access to resources that might otherwise not be available to them. It can also aid the development of a firm’s worthiness, increase the customer and supplier contacts, and bring to light where resources and funding are available, promote innovation and help in the cultivation of strategic partnerships (Anderson, 2014).

Entrepreneurs rarely possess all the skills and knowledge needed to expand their enterprise, and finding people with the necessary skills, and getting them to contribute, is a vital aspect of their networking (Simon, 2012). 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, improved customer service, improved products and services and adoption of favourable pricing practices. As of January 2015, there were more than 900 million active facebook users, with over 350 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, business adverts, are shared on this social network (Digital Buzz, 2015).

As marketing activities are aimed at making the goods reach the final consumers, suppliers, industries, groups or individuals for effective utilization and satisfaction of their wants and needs. Production is not complete until the goods reaches the final consumers. The quest for faster ways and means of entrepreneurs sending their message on the availability of goods, prices, location has led to the use of social media where everyone is present (Ascent, 2013) Marketing is a crucial activity for that aid survival and success of a going business concern Businesses in the 21st century today, have more marketing opportunities than compared to those days (Bresciani & Eppler, 2010). Social media aid business to connect with customers with the motive to build relationships and help to take advantage and understand better the needs of customer. Therefore, businesses strife to ensure that their messages reach as many audience and customers as possible. To do this effectively, a business must ensure that they have presence via social media network (Halligan, Shah, & Scott, 2009). Social media bring about numerous opportunities for businesses to market to consumers and aid to build rapport and provide more profitable interrelationships.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Today businesses literally fight for consumers’ attention. Competition has forced both marketers and companies to seek new unconventional ways to get their message across to their audience. The increasing noise and the frequent promotion commercialized society have also made consumers jaded when it comes to advertising. One can sense a greater scepticism and disbelieve from consumers’ side against the companies and their products and services. This has led to consumers now more than ever trust their friends, neighbours, and colleagues instead of traditional advertising messages that are sent out as to which products or services to be consumed (Marjamäki & Svensson, 2008).

Social media allow firms to engage in timely and direct end-consumer contact at fairly low cost and higher levels of efficiency than can be achieved with more traditional communication tools. This makes social media not only relevant for large multinational firms, but also for small and medium sized companies, and even non profit and governmental agencies. (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). One may be wondering what the advantage of having a presence on a social networking site like Facebook when the business already has a regular website. The answer is reach. You want your message and story to reach as many people as possible. To maximize your reach, you need to have a presence where people are hanging out and increasingly they are hanging out on social networking sites. (Halligan & Shah, 2010, p. 89).

A unique role of social media is that customers can use it to communicate to one another. This has resulted in that a person has the tools to tell 10 million people if they are dissatisfied or satisfied. In a sense, this role of social media – enabling customers to talk to one another is an extension of traditional word-of-mouth communication. The question for managers becomes how this power can be harnessed for the benefit of the organization. While companies cannot directly control consumer-to-consumer messages, the do have the ability to influence the conversations that consumers have with one another (Mangold & Fauld, 2009). In order to stand out from all the media clutter and find their niche, companies and marketers must segment the market by defining customers with similar values. Segmenting the market appropriately allows marketers to reach people who can ignite and fuse interest among others (Wright, 2010)

The social media strategy should therefore fit with the established brand identity. But it is important to not blindly apply the same strategies for social media as for offline broadcast becausethat has shown to be one of the worst mistakes. Entrepreneurs play a crucial role in economic development and survival, and are strong drivers of new innovation which is an impetus to job creation and economic rejuvenation. Beaver (2002) acknowledged that entrepreneurial businesses are important and have gained growing recognition due to their contribution to economic vitality, employment generation, innovation and business development. Due to the fact that social media usage in marketing of product has being viewed by some marketers to be more effective than the traditional method of marketing the study therefore, focus on the utilization of social media as a marketing strategy in entrepreneurial business in Port Harcourt.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of this study include:

  1. To determine if Port Harcourt residents use social media sites.
  2. To ascertain the level of awareness of the use of social media in advertising by those who use them.
  3. To find out if Port Harcourt users patronize goods and services advertised on social media.
  4. To determine whether the use of social media in advertising has been successful for business organizations/entrepreneurs using them in Port Harcourt.
  5. To find out the factors that hamper effective application of social media in advertising.

1.4 Research Questions

This study raised the following research questions:

  1. Do Port Harcourt residents use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter?
  2. To what extent are users aware of the use of social media in advertising?
  3. Do users patronize goods/services advertised on social media?
  4. Has the use of social media in advertising been successful for business organizations/entrepreneurs using them in Port Harcourt?
  5. What are the factors that hamper effective application of social media in advertising?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • Ho: Social media as a marketing strategy in entrepreneurial business is not effective
  • Hi: Social media as a marketing strategy in entrepreneurial business is effective

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is important because it revealed the success or failure of social media advertising and thus, will help both government and private business executives to decide if social media advertising should be part of their advertising budget or not.

This study will enlighten intending advertisers on how to package their social media advertising campaign since it will reveal the extent of awareness of the use of social media in advertising. The factors that hamper effective application of social media in advertising as this study will show will act as precautionary measures for intending users particularly advertisers.

This study will equally serve as a platform for further enquiries in related subject matters and as a resource material for researchers who intend to carry out studies in this and other related areas.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The study will analyze the Utilization Of Social Media As A Marketing Strategy In Entrepreneurial Businessin Port Harcourt, River State. The study is limited to some selected Businessin Port Harcourt, River State. Hence, the respondents for this study will be obtained from and among Businessin Port Harcourt, River State.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study


1.9 Definition of Terms

For a proper understanding of this work, the key terms used are defined based on their conceptual relevance to this study.

i. Social Media

This refers to online social interaction sites in which messages are developed by the users and also shared by those users between or among themselves. For example Facebook.

ii. User-Generated Content

These are information contents that are primarily written, published or shared via social networks by their users.

iii. Social Media Advertising

This refers to a special area of advertising that uses Internet’s social platforms (social networking sites) to deliver commercial messages to potential consumer.

iv. Social Platforms

This includes social websites or networking sites.

v. Vehicle

This refers to a single component of a mass medium. In this study, Facebook and Twitter act as our media vehicles.

vi. Assessment

This means the action of assessing; to estimate the nature, quality or value of something.

v. Blogs

Blog is short for web blog. They are online personal journals in which people write about their interest for instance, business, politics, sports, music, movies reflections, comments etc. Readers can post and engage in conversation with the blog author and often, links to other blogs provided by the writer.


1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the Utilization Of Social Media As A Marketing Strategy In Entrepreneurial Business in Port Harcourt, River State as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the Utilization Of Social Media As A Marketing Strategy In Entrepreneurial Business in Port Harcourt, River State as case study.

The study underscored the importance of social media viz-a- viz the dynamism occurring in the advertising world. With the popularity of these social media and their inclusion as part of the advertising budget of some business organisations, the problem of this research was stated guided by five research questions. For clarity of purpose, advertisers (entrepreneurs, business organisations and corporate organisations) and consumers (individuals, students, applicants, civil servants and other users) in Port Harcourt metropolis were used as study units for the research and relevant literatures on social media and advertising were reviewed.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are staff and business owners in Port Harcourt.


5.3 Conclusions

With respect to the analysis and the findings of this study, the following conclusions emerged;

From this study, it is clear that social media advertising is a relatively new field and just at the evolving stage in Nigeria. There is evidence however, that an increasing number of commercial organisations in Port Harcourt are registering their presence on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Those already exploring these platforms as advertising vehicles are reaching a huge commercial advantage as they are not only vehicles to use in reaching millions of users at the click of the mouse but also encourage instantaneous feedback which is very important in making important marketing decision.

Business organisations exploring social media create presence for themselves on these sites and their customers can speak to them and they speak back thus, bringing their brand closer to the consumer. Although while more of the organisations have registered their presence on Facebook and Twitter, very few of them place adverts on these media but leverage on their social presence to keep their fans/followers informed about their products and services and also attract more fans/followers.

It is no longer a question of whether a business organisation/entrepreneur should have a marketing presence on social media but a dedicated Facebook and Twitter presence is expedient for them to leverage on the advantages these social media provide for both ordinary users and those using them for marketing purposes.


5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings the researcher recommends that;

  1. Advertisingon body care products should be tailored to better suit Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp among other popular social media platform so as to reach majority of the targets market.
  2. Advertisers of body care products should consider being very truthful in their adverts so as to eradicate all traces or hints of deception, which would then grant them credibility in the eyes of their target markets which in this case are university students.
  3. Since many consumers are very much attracted by videos in social media adverts, advertisers should tailor their cosmetic adverts to include more videos than pictures and text to ensure more reach and attraction.

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