Research Proposal on the use of Social Media in Small and Medium Enterprises

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Title: Research Proposal on the use of Social Media in Small and Medium Enterprises

This paper proposes a situational analysis of the application of social media as a business strategy for firms and organizations. Social media has been credited with surpassing traditional marketing strategies, hence making it the best business strategy for organizations. Accordingly, this study is aimed at investigating the significance of applying social media as a business strategy, specifically for small businesses an firms.

Background

E-business is the most recent trend in business, and most organizations have been forced to take their businesses online so as to increase their market share, as well as, the sale of their goods and services (Hall and Rosenberg 5). With e-business, organizations are forced to undergo various changes with regards to marketing of their products online. Because e-business has forced companies to eliminate direct contact with customers, organizations have to device new ways of reaching out to their customers. Essentially, business organizations have adopted social media as a marketing tool and strategy for the promotion of sales and increasing income for the business organization (Anderson 2).

Purpose and Objectives

The overall goal of this study is to examine the application of social media as a business strategy in organizations and firms. However, this goal has been broken down into the following sub-objectives

To examine how social media improves customer relationship management.

To investigate how social media encourages demand of products and services.

To examine how social media allows the monitoring of competitor activities.

To identify the various ways in which social media can be used for the creation of a strong brand.

Theoretical Framework

Since the introduction of social media in the business industry, business organizations have been forced to consider the possibility of taking it up as a business strategy for their organizations. Companies that have been able to, successfully, implement social media as a business strategy have testified to the improvement of business operations hence profitability. However, the actual success of applying social media as a business strategy has been the center of debate in both academic circles and the business environment. Researchers cannot determine whether social media is responsible for company success on its own, or it is the combination of social media with other business strategies. This research study is, therefore, aimed at finding out the degree to which social media can ensure organizational success and competitive advantage in their respective business environment.

Research Methodology

Various types of research will be conducted to complete the research study.

Research studies to be carried out will include both qualitative and quantitative research studies on the application of social media as a business strategy.

Specifically, the research carried out will incorporate internet research, library research, interviews, as well as, industry surveys. These research studies will help readers understand the degree to which social media has been utilized in the industry, as well as, the implications of its application to business organizations.

Five organizations that have successfully applied social media as their business strategy will be selected for this study.

Another five organizations that have not taken up social media in their business strategies will also be identified to provide a comparison of the impact of social media to the organizations.

A situational analysis of the application of social media in these organizations with, therefore, be carried out to determine the degree of application and lack of application of social media as a business strategy for the organizations.

The analysis will be carried out though observation, as well as, interviews with the members of staff in the chosen organizations.

In addition to organizational interviews, a survey will be carried out on a randomly selected sample population, to identify their thoughts and perceptions regarding social media.

Significance of The Research

Examining the application of social media as a business strategy in the organization will assist small businesses in comprehending the importance of social media for their businesses. Specifically, this study will assist business organizations in discovering the various ways through which they can link their customer relationship management strategies to the organization’s marketing strategies. Businesses will also gain awareness on how to use social media to stimulate demand, as well as, monitor competitor activities for the benefit of organizations. Conclusively, this study is significant because it will encourage awareness on how social media can be used to build brands.

Reference List

Anderson, Eric. Social Media Marketing: Game Theory and the Emergence of Collaboration.

New York: Springer, 2010.

Hall, Starr and Rosenberg, Chadd. Get Connected: The Social Networking Toolkit for Business.

New York: Entrepreneur Press, 2009. Print.

Kaplan, Andreas M. and Haenlein, Michael. Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and

Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons 53.1 (2010): 59–68.

Pickren, Marc. “Social Media Marketing vs Traditional Marketing”. Marc 2 Market, 22 February

2010. Web. 16 November 2011.

Qualman, Erik. Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business.

New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print.

Timetable

The research study will be conducted in a period of five months. The month of December will not be included in the study as it is a month of festivities. The table below illustrates the timetable for the research study.

Task November

2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012

Literature review / planning / research proposal            

Literature review extended and deepened            

Locating and collating primary participating companies in the study            

Interviews, field work and further visual analysis (conclusion)            

Production of the first draft            

Production of final draft            

Budget

The following table presents the budget for the research study. Please note that the transportation, accommodation and food allowance for the research assistants is inclusive of the amount paid per hour.

Personnel Title Duties Hours Wage@$5/hour Total

Research Assistants (5) Planning and Proposal Writing 8 $40.00 $640.00 pp.

X 5 assistants

Preparation for on-site research 12 $60.00 On-Site Research 48 $ 240.00 Transcription 36 $180.00 Literature review 12 $60.00 Analysis 12 $60.00 Total = $3200

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