Social networks can be defined as relationships created between people in the course of undertaking their daily activities. Social networks are established through continuous and long relations between people and this results to mutual benefits between the parties involved in the relations. Social networks are very important in the modern business world especially in this era of technological advancement and digital communication networks. Many businesses are shifting their attention and focus from official networks to social networks since they help to add more value to an organization. The social networks are established through social interaction between people related to an organization. Social networks help in establishing business relation between the people involved. Many organizations have embraced social networks as a means of interacting with their customers in order to obtain feedback and to allow employees to air their compliments and complaints. Social networks use a variety of platforms especially social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Whatsapp and snapchat. The use of social media networking in organizations or in business has many advantages to the organization. One of the advantages of social media marketing is that it is cheap means of marketing the business of an organization. The social media networks helps in providing a forum of interaction between the customers and organizations. This helps both the organization and the customers in making their feelings known concerning the products offered and the products consumed. Social networks help in building customer loyalty and in improving value of products and services offered by companies. However, there are also many disadvantages of social networks. Social networks in business may result to employees becoming very casual and in the process forget their role and duty of acting professionally in all their undertakings.
A lot of research has been done on the importance of social networks in business. Many researchers have written about the subject in both peer reviewed journal articles and books. Different researchers have different views on the role of social networks in an organization context with some researchers believing that social networks will be the major drivers of organization success in the next half century. Social networks in the recent past have been facilitated by advancement of communication technology to the extent that world has become a global village. This has made it relatively easy for organizations to relate with not only with customers but also to one another using these social networks. According to, Silvius, G. (2016) social networks in an organization, help to create an atmosphere of trust and honest between and among employees and the senior management in a company. He argues that this is achieved when organizations use social networks in their interactions with one another. Since organizations are made up of people, they have to be social institutions and therefore social networks must exist in them. When social networking Is healthy in an organization, employees are able to interact freely with one another and this helps in creating an harmonious relationship which is good for performance. According to Silvius, G. (2016), social networking also creates a bond between the employees of an organization and the senior management hence creating a healthy working relationship that encourages productivity and effective communication between the various levels in an organization. An example is when the junior members of staff are able to freely interact with the managing director of the organization through the organizations Facebook page. Opgenhaffen& Haenens (2015) also support this idea. Through his research, he also found out that more than 78% of organizations that encourage social networking in their internal environment are able to achieve high levels of employee performance and the employee turnover rate in these organizations is low. He argues that social networks help in improving the morale of workers by creating an environment of unity where employees feel accepted and important in an organization. This goes a long way in contributing positively to performance in an organization.
According to Bradley & McDonald,(2011), social networking contributes to brand recognition for an organization. Brand recognition refers to the acceptability of a companies` brand among its customers depending on the value the organization offers its consumers. The author also, argues that by use of social networking, an organization is able to expand its publicity and its more recognizable among existing customers and potential customers. This in turn contributes positively to the growth in the value of an organizations brand. An example of ways in which social networking can contribute to increased brand recognition is that a Tweet for example can reach a customer who had never before heard of the company or its products. The person who has been reached or communicate through the tweet may become customer of the company later. Li, (2013) is also of the view of social networking contributing to brand recognition. He argues that companies that have a global presence and have valuable brands have embraced use of social networks in their business activities. He describes that partly, the brand recognition of these companies has been contributed by their strong social networks that help them to interact freely with their customers and which helps the organization to communicate new products and services to customers easily. The issues of brand recognition does not depend much on social networking since there are many organizations that have very strong and popular brands and at the same time, they don’t have any presence on social media. Therefore brand recognition by an organization can be achieved by providing high quality goods and services and maximizing customer satisfaction.
According to Lee (2014), social networking which helps in improving and creating brand loyalty. He argues based on report published by Texas Tech University which explains that brands that engage in social media channels have customers who are more loyal compared to companies who are not involved in social media. This Is attributed to the fact that the modern day consumer prefers companies that operate traditionally with the aim of maximizing profit. The view if Lee (2014) is supported by Harris, H. (2011) who also argues that a strategic social media plan can help to influence customers to to consume products of the company. Continued interactions between the customer and the organization will result into repeated buying to the point where customers cannot buy from rival companies and therefore resulting to unrivaled customer loyalty. Solomon, (2013), however argues that social networking alone cannot bring about customer loyalty and therefore it has to be backed up by a variety of other factors.
Social networking is also an invaluable product promotion tool. According to Solomon,(2011), organizations are able to promote new and existing products and services at very low cost. The social media network creates a wide customer base which which therefore acts a s very good platform for an organization to market itself. The cost of social media marketing is very low since the only expenses involve setting and maintaining the social media account. Solomon (2011) argues that the social networking by organizations will therefore help the organizations to save on the costs of advertising and other forms of marketing. Social networking also helps organizations to send a tailor made message to its customers since the company is sure that the people in the platform are either interested in the products of the company or they are already consumers of the company’s products. According to Mathos, Norman & Kanter, (2012), social networking is also very good for marketing since it helps an organization to transmit messages to many people at the same time. He argues that social networking also facilitates target marketing for organization.
According to xxx, social networking is also important for business organizations since it helps an organization to get feedback from its customers. Feedback in an organization refers to the reaction of customers after they have consumed a companies`s products or service. The feedback from customers helps organizations in decision making. Landers & Schmidt,(2016) argues that organizations can use customer feedback obtained using social media to make various decisions . some of these decisions include improvement of products offered and services offered to consumers. Customer feedback can also act as morale boasting technique since good reactions from customers will mean that employees are encouraged to work more to make customers happier. Landers & Schmidt,(2016) also supports the view of xxx on the roe of social networking in obtaining customer feedback. He argues that social networking is one of the most effective methods of obtaining feedback from customers since its fast and also convenient for customers to use. He reasons that organizations should therefore put a lot of emphasis on social networking for obtaining customer feedback because organizations are becoming more sensitive of customer need and therefore they need to conduct surveys on customer needs and therefore they are able to serve customers better.
Despite the many advantages of social networking for organizations, there are also many shortcomings that come with social networking. Writers have different and similar views on the disadvantages of social networking. One of the fiercest critics of social networking is(Goel& In Singhal, 2016) . He argues that social marketing is not good for organizations and should be avoided by all means necessary. One of the disadvantages of social networking according to (Goel& In Singhal, 2016) is that it results to waste of time. Since time is a very important factor in production and in maximizing productivity, waste of time by the management and other members of staff while networking results to decline in productivity in an organization since employees are not able to fully concentrate on their core functions. (Goel& In Singhal (2016)also argues that managers spend a lot of time in social networking and may therefore fail to put in place strategies that help the organization to move forward towards achieving its objectives. Another author who support the argument of Goel& In Singhal (2016), is Househ, Borycki, & Kushniruk, (2014), he views social networking ad being destructive to the organizational plan of achieving its objectives. Therefore, organizations should not put emphasis on social networking because, they may create publicity for the company but that does not necessarily mean sales or customer base will increase. He argues that the time spent by the management of the company and other employees is very valuable and should be used to produce extra units of products or service which adds value directly to the organization. Househ, Borycki, & Kushniruk, (2014)also says that organizations should use other forms of marketing because, social media marketing mainly composes people who are already customers of the company and therefore the method cannot be relied upon to reach new customers.
(Asencio & Sun,2015) also argues that social networking is intrusive. He explains that social networking by an organization intrudes on the privacy of some individuals who do not like publicity or social platforms. Information from Web Pro News indicates that 80% of people who use social networks feel uneasy at sharing their information or thoughts on social media and they feel that social media is very insecure. This stems from the practice of companies shaping their social media advertisements based on private information collected from social media sites. Li, (2013) argues that this practice has led many social media users to be wary of information posted on social media. Research also indicates that social media users are mostly irritated by messages by organizations trying to market their products since they are not interested in that.
Jjj argues that another disadvantage of social networking is that there is lack of feedback control. This is usually very damaging especially in cases where an advert brings about negative reactions. The negative reactions from social media may influence the other customers negatively and this may be very fatal for an organization since it may result to loss of customers and therefore loss of profits. Since an organization does not have direct control on what customers post on the social media accounts, it becomes difficult for the company to control this information and therefore social networking may result to negative implications for an organization. The lack of feedback control concept has been a very big concern for managers, however, organizations have some degree of control in use of social media because, they can use the same social media platform to sell the organization in a positive way and to fight off bad publicity from rivals.
Another disadvantage of social networking according to Looy (2015) is that it is free to join but it is difficult to target customers and to reach new customers. Therefore, organizations still have to pay for advertising in the social media like through Facebook and other social media sites and through E-commerce in order to achieve their marketing objective. He argues that social networking cannot therefore be depended upon by organizations for purposes of marketing since its limited in scope and also in usage. This view is not cumbersome because, the use of social media in marketing by organizations does not mean that organizations have to neglect other methods of product promotion and therefore, the views of zzz do not reflect the real situation on the ground.
From the review of past literature on the subject, gaps can be identified in research. Identification of gaps in research helps in identification of shortcomings in past research so that further research can be done to fill the gaps. One of the gaps identified in this research is that substantial research has not be done on the impact of social media on the marketing and strategic planning by organizations. This forms the basis of research project.
After the literature review on the advantages and disadvantages of social networking, a gap was identified in research. The gap in this case is that sufficient research has not been done on the impact of social media on the marketing and strategic planning of an organization. This research topic helps the researcher to seek further information on the impact of social networks specifically on marketing as well as how social media impacts on strategies of an organization. Social media usage in organizations has been increasing in the recent past and it is still gaining popularity among many organizations as an important tool in marketing as well as in developing strategies by management of an organization. This aim of this research is to establish the impact that social media has had on marketing by organizations as well as on developing strategies by the management.
Establishing the impact that use of social media by organizations has had on marketing and strategies of an organization
This study will be conducted on organizations that have strong social networks. These organizations have a deeply entrenched social media network that helps the organization to communicate effectively with its consumers and that helps the organization to effectively market itself and its products and services. The research will mainly depend on secondary sources of data. This is because, most of the organizations under consideration are global and therefore, it presents a very big challenge to collect primary data from these organizations given the geographical nature of the organizations. The study has limited resources and therefore, it is not possible to collect raw data from the organizations and their management given the huge costs associated with collecting that kind of data. This study will be consulted using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Quantitative research method will be used in most instances in this research. This is because, most of the data that will be collected on the research topic is quantifiable, and hence making it easy for us to use quantitative research technique. The variables in this study can be measured and value assigned to most variables e.g., the reduction in marketing expense as a result of use of social media can be measured in monetary terms. Another example of a variable that can be measured directly is the increase in customer base due to the use of social media in marketing of products. An organization can easily determine this change by counting the increase in number of unit sales. However, some variables cannot be easily measured because they involve an individual`s thoughts or opinion and therefore, qualitative research method has to be used in such a case. Qualitative research methods involve definition of variables that cannot be directly assigned value. A range is developed to help in measuring these variables for purposes of comparison and evaluation. An example of where qualitative research method will be used in this study is determining the impact of social media on the strategies of an organization. Strategies are difficult to measure since their results cannot be directly traced in the organization and therefore estimation is done.
The main sources of data for this study includes books, peer reviewed journals, magazines, organization websites, thesis and dissertation as well as newspapers and business articles. This information will be thorough analyzed and summarized to highlight the main points by different writers and how each of the sources views the subject. The research will depend on financial reports of various organizations under review and analyzed the financial performance of these organization compared to the social media presence and popularity of the companies in various social media platforms. The study will compare the financial performance using ratios before the companies started using social media and the current performance of the organization when they are using social media. Since, there are other factors that may have contributed to either a positive or negative shift in these results, research will be done to establish other factors that may have affected performance and then a provision will be done to isolate these factors and arrive at a more results that indicate how the use of social media has affected sales of the company. The study will seek to determine how the strategies of an organization have been influenced by use of social media in the company. Strategies are very important especially at this moment when there is intense competition in each and every industry. The fast rate of change of technology has also made it very necessary for organizations to keep on strategizing so as to maintain or improve their position in the market. Therefore the study will be aiming at establishing how using social media has shaped the strategies of the organization. These strategies may involve the cost leadership strategy, differentiation, diversification, or even defensive strategies like divestment or liquidation. Additionally, this study will be seeking to establish whether the use of social media has given the organization a competitive advantage over its competitors in the marketing and how this competitive advantage has influenced performance of the entire organization. In the course of the research, several challenges are expected. Some of the expected challenges during research are the lack of enough secondary sources since the subject of the research is a current affair and therefore many researchers have not written about the subject. Time will also be a major constraint in this study since it is very limited and a lot of time will be required to collect and interpret this data.
This study will use a combination of data analysis and interpretation techniques in order to interpret data collected from the research. Data analysis techniques are methods used in encoding the raw data collected from a study. Analysis of this data using these different techniques helps in putting all information available into context in order to make sense of the information collected and draw conclusions from this information. One of the data collection procedures that will be used in this research is the coding technique. Here data collected on the research field is summarized and the researcher develops a unique set of codes which are assigned to a particular group of data. In this stage, data collected is reduced to manageable sizes and then its grouped depending on the characteristics of the data and the objective of the researcher. Quantitative data will be analyzed using the following techniques depending on the objective of the researcher; time series, ranking by categories, part to whole categorical division, deviation, frequency distribution correlation, and nominal comparison. After collecting and analyzing data, the information obtained from the study will be interpreted and put into the context of our study so as to fulfill the research objective.
Research needs to be conducted on the impact of social media on marketing and strategies of an organization. This research will help in establishing ways in which use of social media by organizations has influenced marketing of an organizations products goods and services. This research also aims at establishing the exact impact that use of social media will have on the sales volumes of an organization after isolating all other factors that may influence increase or decrease in sales volumes. This study will use a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. However quantitative research will be more prevalent since most of the variables being tested in this study are measurable and quantifiable. Qualitative research techniques will be used in instances where research variables have descriptive characteristics like views, opinions or feelings of an individual person are being measured. This study will use secondary sources of data such as peer reviewed journals, theses and dissertations and books. The data analysis and interpretation techniques to be used in this study include coding of data and concept mapping.
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