The word “social media” refers to a variety of applications, systems and forums that help users to interact, share-content, collaborate and participate in social networking. Directors, entrepreneurs, investors, shareholders and companies in general are interested in marketing and its different forms.
According to the 2011 social media report (NMincite, 2011), “60 percent of people who use at least three digital research means for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site”(para.1). This report and others prove that social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other new social media sites have a long lasting impact. These sites greatly influence the way consumers purchase goods and services. These reports show that online selling points and social media have great influence on how businesses are conducted. Today, numerous social media companies have found systems and tools to encourage business owners to use social media marketing.
In today's digital world, social networking sites have become a means for entrepreneurs and companies to market themselves. The means and tools of communicating with customers and potential investors have changed greatly since the emergence of social media. This research touches upon the gaps in knowledge about the effect of social media marketing. Social media marketing helps close the gap between big brands and small businesses. The benefits of social media marketing are long term.
It is old news that traditional marketing methods such as newsletters, flyers and billboards are not as effective as social media marketing and can no longer sustain a business. Social media marketing targets the bulk of the population unlike traditional marketing methods which just targets the aging population. Businesses have become aware of the importance of social networking in marketing.
Entrepreneurs and employees of organisations face challenges during the operations of a business or company. Recent studies show that for businesses to grow, the internet should be used to commercialize products and create awareness. This is because the world is a digital village or market. This has resulted in the use of social media as a marketing tool.
Day by day, the number of entrepreneurs keep increasing, more companies are formed but the problem is that of awareness. People are not aware or well-informed about the companies being set up and this leads to decrease in sales or collapse of these companies. Entrepreneurs need to see and understand that the world has evolved and to increase your market share you have to meet your consumers at the point of their needs. Entrepreneurs need to reach people through social media because social media is a platform used by billions all over the world.
Marketing has developed through time. Traditional marketing methods are not as effective as social media marketing. There is a need to educate entrepreneurs on the benefits of social media marketing and its effect on their businesses or companies.
Rising entrepreneurs should follow the footsteps of top entrepreneurs in the world today. Most of these entrepreneurs succeeded by using social media as a marketing tool. For instance when we use various applications some advertisements of companies pop up and this enables users to be aware of the company.
This research will help sensitize entrepreneurs on this aspect of marketing and help to make a positive difference.
The long term goal of this research is to create awareness on the importance of social media marketing in this age and time. The objective of this research paper is to investigate the evolution of social media as a marketing tool and its impact on entrepreneurs and employees.
This research paper has the following sub-objectives:
1. To fully explain the term “social media”
2. To discuss the evolution of social media
3. To discuss the evolution of social media as a marketing tool
4. To discuss trends in social media marketing.
5. To provide better understanding of social media marketing.
6. To discuss the effect or benefits of social media marketing on entrepreneurship.
Evolution in this context refers to the development of social media and its usefulness as a marketing tool. Although, social media marketing is a well-researched topic, most researches do not delve into details about the evolution of social media as a marketing tool. Studies never really explain its effect on entrepreneurs and companies.
This research is to study trends in social media marketing and its benefit to businesses.
The result of this research will be important to rising entrepreneurs, well established entrepreneurs and various businesses.
PRELIMINARY LITERATURE REVIEW
The report “Social Media as a Marketing Tool for Entrepreneurs” written by Patrick R. Geho and Jennifer Dangelo discussed and examined trends in social media marketing and its benefit to entrepreneurs. It examines the resources available to entrepreneurs to make it possible for entrepreneurs to maximize the benefits of social media marketing. The report does not consider how social marketing has evolved over time and how to manage the problems that may come with social media marketing. It compares the number of people that used social media in 1995 to those that used it in 2012 to show that there was a large increase in the number of social media users. The statistics used for this is not current and does not truly reflect the increase in social media users as of now.
The research by Maria Fernanda Arreola titled “the emergence of the social media entrepreneur” discusses the existence of the social media entrepreneur in relation to other types of entrepreneur. It explains social media entrepreneur as a new form of entrepreneurial emergence. This research explains that Social Media Entrepreneurship compensates for a lack of social capital through Social Media. It further explains that social media creates an avenue for sellers to widen their market by increasing awareness of their goods and services through social media. It explains that businesses need to use social media marketing in line with their business plan.
This research will discuss the evolution of social media marketing, the problems associated with social media marketing and how to deal with those problems. It will also explain how businesses and entrepreneurs can maximize the benefits of social media marketing.
This research will first review scholarly articles on the evolution of social media marketing, the advantages of social media marketing and its effect on entrepreneurs and companies. This will help provide an insight on the topic.
Case studies on companies that moved from traditional marketing methods to social marketing and the effect of the transition on their business will be examined. The case study will allow investigation in detail and will also provide qualitative information on the research topic.
Interviews will be conducted. Companies and entrepreneurs using social media marketing will be interviewed to get the story behind their experience and to get quality information on the topic. This is because interviews give room to ask more detailed questions which provides better understanding and gives insight.
Questionnaires will be given out to test the assumption that social media marketing is more effective than print or traditional form of marketing.it is an effective way of weighing the opinions of different individuals.
Previous researches and studies conducted on this topic will be used to identify gaps in knowledge and suggest ways to fill gaps in existing knowledge.
The study will be conducted between September 2017 and January 2018.
Participants filling the questionnaires will be doing so on their own volition. No person will be forced to participate in this process.
During the course of this study, research participants will not be subjected to any harm whatsoever. Importance will be placed on anonymity of participants. Prior to the research, full consent will be obtained from participants before proceeding to carry out research.
All communications in relation with the research will be done with honesty and transparency. The dignity of the human person will be respected during the course of this research.
During the course of interviewing participants, usage of offensive or discriminatory language will be avoided. All participants will be approached in an ethical manner and without disrespect of the human person.
Works of other authors used in the course of this research will be properly acknowledged. Plagiarism will be avoided.
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