Table of Contents
Abstract ………………………………….. 2
Introduction ……………….……………... 2
Theoretical framework ………….…….…. 2
Literature review ………………………… 4
The research paper studied the social media impact on local businesses. The paper shows the existing attitude of local businesses owners in social media. In addition to the benefits of social media in the local businesses. Moreover, the impact of social media in the business income.
Social media has become important in people's lives. They became a big part of their day. Social media has influenced all aspects of life - social, educational, commercial, etc. This research raises the question: How do local businesses in Sharjah use social media to promote their products and services? It focuses on the commercial aspect. The paper focuses on local business owners' usage of social media. In addition to the benefits of social media to the businesses and the effect of social media on business income. The results will be presented at the end of the research.
The theory used in this paper is The Diffusion of Innovation theory. This theory refers to the adoption of a new idea, product, and inventions. The theory divided the adopters into five categories: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards. These five categories illustrated in bell-shaped curve “Figure1”. Each category has a percentage of people. Innovators are 2.5%. Early adopters are 13.5%. Early majority is 34%. The Late majority has the same percent 34%. Finally, Laggards are 16%. (Diffusion of innovations, 2018)
Diffusion is a social process that occurs among people in response to learning about an innovation such as a new evidence-based approach for extending or improving health care (Cox, 2018). The Theory has five components. The first one is Innovation. Innovation is any new idea emerged. In this paper, the innovation part is related to social media. The second element is Adopters which is the individuals or organizations. Communication Channels is the third component. It is the communication patterns among people and organizations. The fourth part is Time. New innovations require a long time to be adopted by community members. Social System is the last element of the theory. It is the effect of individuals, organizations, government, and mass media (Diffusion of innovations, 2018). Local businesses in this paper can be referred to the social system part.
There are five stages of the adoption process. The first one is Knowledge. In this stage, there is a lack of information about the innovation. The second stage is Persuasion. The individual is interested in the new innovation. Next stage is Decision. The individual decide whether to adopt or reject the innovation. The fourth stage is Implementation. The individual is seeking further information about the innovation. The last stage is Confirmation. Individual continue using the innovation. (Diffusion of innovations, 2018)
This theory is very important for the studies of the new ways of communication emerged recently.
The methodology used in this research is a qualitative method: in-depth interview. Interviews were conducted with four local businesses owners. Mariam Alnaqbi: flowers shop owner. Abdulla Ali: trophy shop owner. Mohamad Alnaqbi: mobile phone shop owner. Amira Almansoori: training center owner. Each interview takes about 15-20 minutes. Two of the interviews done by phone and two of them were face-to-face interviews. The interviewees own different business, but they all actively use social media. The businesses are licensed in Sharjah and all of them have their own shop in addition to the social media accounts.
The interviewees have been asked three main questions, in addition to detailed questions. The first main question is measuring the attitude of local businesses owners among social media. How does the business owner use social media to spread his business?. According to the interviews data, all interviewees said that they created accounts in social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. “Being part of the social media become an essential step of any business marketing strategy by step the foot to introduce on a large social platform via creating account in Instagram, snapchat, and Facebook.” (Almansoori, 2018)
All of the respondents spread the accounts to their existing customers and by posters in their shops. One of the respondents hires a social media manager to follow up their accounts. The interviewees use social media to display their products and services online. In addition to online selling of products and booking of services. One of the interviewees cooperates with other local businesses accounts and social media influencers to promote his business. Half of businesses owners used the new features of social media such as “live” on Instagram. One of them uses this feature to conduct an online auction.
The second main question they have been asked is to measure the benefits of social media on these businesses. How social media benefit the business?. All interviewees agreed that social media benefit their business by expanding the base of customers. It helps them attract customers from all over the UAE. “the biggest advantage of social media is increase Leads or developing highly qualified leads.” (Almansoori, 2018)
Social media also leads the business owners to sell the products online which save their time and increase the sales. “There is speed in the completion of the sale and purchase process by conducting the process online.” (Ali, 2018)
Social media benefit half of the interviewees in advertising to their new products and services constantly. In addition to saving the costs of trade license, shop rental, and the costs of the shop employees. “It has become possible to save the fees of the commercial license, shop rent, decoration, employment, and others.” (Alnaqbi, 2018)
The third question is about the business income. It measures the methods that help in raise the business fund. How can social media help the increasing of business income? All of the interviewees said that business income increased after using social media. It causes sales increasing because of the increasing of the followers. One interviewee said that social media helped him to fast increasing of income by doing online sales promotions. He also said that social media facilitated dealing with large companies which avoid them buying a large number of goods that could cause the loss of the shop if not sold. Another respondent used social media for public relations purposes, in addition to keep their eye on the competitors. So they can attract more customers with interest in the content. This process causes an increase of sales.
Social media has made a difference in business, especially local ones. Affected the income and the number of customers and the spread of these businesses. In addition, it has become a major part of these businesses so that we see that for every business there is a page on social networking sites. Currently, social media has become a major means of promoting products and services provided by business owners. The theory that the research is based on "the diffusion of innovations" can be linked to the results by showing that social media is adopted by local business owners.
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