Effectiveness of Social Media Networks as a Strategic Tool for Organizational Marketing Management
|Icha Oyza1 and Agwu Edwin2,3*|
|Corresponding Author:Agwu M. Edwin, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Marketing, School of Business, Covenant University, Ogun State, Nigeria and Adjunct Lecturer, External dissertation supervisor for Global MBA students at Manchester Business School, UK, Tel: 002348136765276; E-mail: email@example.com|
|Received October 03, 2015; Accepted November 30, 2015; Published December 03, 2015|
|Citation: Icha Oyza, Agwu M. Edwin (2015) Effectiveness of Social Media Networks as a Strategic Tool for Organizational Marketing Management. J Internet Bank Commer S2:006.|
|Copyright: © 2015 Icha Oyza, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.|
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Social media gained rapid prominence within few years of its existence. It is generally the medium to socialize and many are awed by the transformation of communications processes especially among generations Y midwifed by the media platforms. Social media has now crept into the boardrooms of business organizations and just like the internet; it has transformed the selling and buying processes. Though social media is a recent phenomenon, it has proven to be just as effective as or even more effective than traditional marketing. Several organizations now struggle to have a presence in the web in order to interface with customers far and near. Furthermore, the use of social media by some organizations starts with simple marketing and the creation of awareness about their products and services. However, these have advanced to public communications and interactions with customers and other stakeholders. Despite these huge advantages, it is fraught with challenges. This paper discusses the benefits and limitations of social media as a strategic tool for organizational marketing management. It also reviewed the benefits and challenges of this massive conundrum which has taken business management by storm and concludes with vital recommendations for organizational managers.
|Social media; Organizations; Marketing management; Stakeholders; Strategic tool|
|Social media was coined from the two operating words – social and media. Social, in this context, simply means the interaction between individuals of common interest, a group, or even a community. And media as the name implies, is the medium, channel, or platform on which allows for creation and exchange of user-generated contents. Social media is less than two decades in existence but have gained widespread acceptance. In 2003, Linkedin was launched and this was followed by Myspace and Facebook in the year 2004. Due to the characteristics if Facebook, it received a wider acceptance in social circles more than others. Youtube was launched in 2005 followed by Twitter, followed by others such as Blogging, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Podcasting, Snapchat, etc. All these have gained more than one billion users wordwide in just over ten years of existence. As the name implies, social media networks meant as sites where individuals could socialize, meet old and new friends and interact with each other. Just as the internet was applied into business organizations from the military, so also the commercial value of social media networks became apparent and gained the attention of business managers and became the best friends of marketers in virtually all organizations with presence on the internet . Relationship building and interactions are the major reasons for the adoption of social media networks by individuals, however, organizations leverage the ubiquitous usage of these sites and views them as platforms on which to interact directly with existing and new customers for their goods and services. This is a clear paradigm shift from the traditional methods of interacting with customers as more than one customer can be reached easily and cheaply as well with just a click of the button. Personal interaction with customers instills smooth feeling of loyalty and questions are answered with ease . This paper sets out to unravel the effectiveness of social media networks adopted by various business organizations can serve as a strategic tool for organizational marketing management. The remainder of the paper is as follow: the next section reviews the related literature and this is followed by discussion, conclusion and recommendation. It is believed that this study will assist organizational marketing managers and management on the suitable platform for exposing their products and services.|
Review of Related Literature
|Social media networks are platforms or sites that facilitate the building of social relationships among people of different races and provide opportunities for them to share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections, . Social network services consist of a representation of each user’s social connections, and a variety of additional services. Social media is the medium to socialize as well as market and today, the plethora of social media networks are among the finest opportunities available to organizational marketers in their bids to connect with existing and prospective customers. The social media network community services are groups centered and considered as a social network service. Social networks are contents created online by people using highly scalable and accessible communication technologies. It represents how people discover, read and share news, information and contents. Social network applications provide users with new forms of empowerment and means of information sharing. Customers are able to communicate online exchanging information, comments and product reviews beyond the marketer’s control .|
|Social media marketers make use of social media sites to raise visibility on the internet and to promote products and services. Social media sites are useful for building social (and business) networks, and for exchanging ideas and knowledge. Social media sites are becoming the go-to place for consumers who want to learn more about a business. That’s because these sites allow businesses to offer the most up-to-date information about anything from products, services, or upcoming events. Also, much of organizational activities and profiles on social media sites can be made public meaning they can be indexed by search engines — one more way to make sure your business or organization comes up as the answer when someone is searching for a local solution to a problem. The publicity emanating from social media marketing is such that can be trusted by consumers because the source is within the peer group either through a comment on ‘Facebook’ or a ‘retweet’ on twitter about a particular organization or product . In today’s globalized world, communication is available and constant and Just-in- Time, real time basis, everyone is updated on what is happening around the globe depending on which river of information you wish to drink from. Traditionally, the Word of Mouth (WOM) approach has been an important marketing strategy adopted by various organizations for decades but the Electronic Word of Mouth (EWOM) and Consumer’s Online Brand Related Activities (COBRAs) reaches a wider horizon because it is based on the internet and therefore can be assessed by anybody around the world with internet access or a device [4,5].|
Benefits of social media marketing
|Stelzner  in his 2014 report published by Social Media Examiners stressed that the top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic. The report further revealed that a significant 92% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Increasing traffic was the second major benefit, with 80% reporting positive results. These days, almost everyone and every organization have a presence on the social media, particularly the popular ones such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest. As at March 2015, there were 1.415 billion active users on Facebook, and 288 million monthly active users on Twitter. With the explosive youth population in Nigeria, you can imagine what chunk of those statistics we boast as a nation. However, most corporate presence and iconic presence (prominent individuals) on the social media are mere presence with no marked focus, strategy, or intent to engage the teeming online public/market . This conundrum is largely to due to not knowing what it takes to maintain a vibrant online-cumsocial media presence. Bacon  pointed out that there are 4 basics to maintaining a successful online and social media presence. They are:|
|Contents: Content is the backbone of social media. Unless you publish fresh, relevant information on a regular basis for your audience to consume, your online and social media platforms will not command traffic. Social media accounts that don’t churn out fresh contents are considered dead.|
|Engagement: the second nitty-gritty for running a successful online/social media campaign is audience engagement. Organizations and individuals who engage their online audience are generally seen as friendly and responsive plus many other positive perceptions, all of which translate into sales, patronage, goodwill, brand affiliation, loyalty and an army of brand ambassadors who will go to any length to promote/defend your name, brand, product, service or cause.|
|Skills: There are potpourri related skills required to drive a vibrant social media presence ranging from graphics, research, designs, backend management, analytics, optimization, monitoring, etc. Not knowing which to deploy, when and how to deploy it or utilizing them wrongly is a sure road to virtual comatose or disaster.|
|Consistency: Knowing what to do to have a winning social media presence and how to do it does not guarantee success unless such knowledge is backed by painstaking efforts and commitment to doing it day in, day out. Lack of consistence accounts mostly for the online failure of multinationals, institutions and public figures, who have all it takes as well as the budget to be vibrant and visible online, but whose activities there are a whimper .|
|Colliander et al.  stressed that most marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans (72%) and gain marketplace intelligence (71%). Changes since 2013 study: Marketers reported increased benefits across all categories since 2013. The largest increases were developing loyal fans, which increased to 72% from 65% in 2013, followed by increased sales, which jumped to 50% from 43% in 2013. Some questions that naturally emerge from the above chart might include, “Can I achieve more benefits by investing more time in social media?”, “Are marketers who have been using social media for years gaining even better results?” and “Is there a difference between B2B and B2C?” The following, according to Drury  and Dean  addresses these questions.|
|• Improved sales: It takes time to develop relationships that lead to sales. However, a large percentage of marketers who take the time find great results. For example, more than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least three years report it has helped them improve sales. More than half who spend 6 or more hours per week find the same results and 74% of those who spend 40+ hours earn new business through their efforts. Conversely, 50% of all marketers taking this survey report social media have not helped them improve sales. This may be because they lack the needed tools to track sales |
|• Increased exposure: With as little as 6 hours per week, Dean  stressed that the vast majority of marketers indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses. Nearly all marketers who have been employing social media marketing for one year or longer report it generates exposure for their businesses|
|• Grew business partnerships: The more time marketers invest in social media networking, the more they gain business partnerships. More than half of marketers who’ve invested at least 1 year in social media marketing report that new partnerships were gained. More than half of those investing as little as 6 hours per week in social media were able to build new partnerships. Marketers selling to other businesses were more likely to achieve this benefit than those selling to consumers |
|• Generated leads: By spending as little as 6 hours per week, 66%+ of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media. More than half of marketers with at least one year of social media experience were generating leads with social platforms|
|• Reduced marketing expenses: Nearly half of those who spend at least 6 hours per week on social media efforts saw a benefit of reduced marketing expenses. At least 57% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees agreed social media reduced marketing expenses, while only 40% of businesses with 1000 or more employees agreed |
|• Improved search rankings: Improved search engine rankings were most prevalent among those who’ve been using social media for one year or longer, with 58%+ reporting a rise. At least 60% of those investing a minimum of 6 hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings|
|• Increased traffic: A significant number of participants found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing. And those who’ve used social media for one year or more reported substantially better results reported benefits) compared with those with less experience|
|• Provided marketplace insight: Kietzmann  stressed that of those with at least one year of experience, 69% or more found social platforms provided marketplace insight; At least 74% of those spending at least six hours per week were more likely to gain marketplace insight|
|• Developed loyal fans: B2C marketers were much more likely to develop a loyal fan base through social media than B2B marketers. Of those who have been using social media for at least 1 year, 69% found it useful for building a loyal fan base. Time invested makes a difference. Of those spending at least 6 hours a week, 78% found benefit compared to 56% of those spending 5 hours or fewer per week |
Negative effect of social media marketing
|Although the negative effects of social media marketing could affect the brand of the organization and affect the overall performance of the organization. It is a new era in marketing where there is a shift in power from the producer to the consumer, consumers can now literally voice out their concerns either negatively or positively while at the same time making it known to millions of potential customers, making consumers the driving force of organizations, Marketers are now faced with the challenge to rethink the way they communicate with potential consumers . Individuals feel free on the internet, it allows them the chance to express themselves and mostly without consequences making it one of the factors that render social media marketing unpredictable and uncontrollable because you can’t stop people from expressing their thoughts. Social networking websites allow individuals to interact with one another and build relationships. When companies join the social channels, consumers can interact with them and they can communicate with consumers directly, that interaction feels more personal to users than traditional methods of strictly outbound marketing and advertising, this personal interaction can instill a feeling of loyalty into followers and potential customers . Also, by choosing whom to follow on these sites, products can reach a very narrow target audience. According to Richard [12-14] organizational performance comprises the actual output or results of an organization as measured against its intended outputs or goals and objectives . A performance measure is a defined method for observing an attribute of organizational performance . This method specifies what, when, and how data will be collected about a specific attribute of performance selected for the purpose of evaluating performance. In order to interpret performance data comparison would have to be made between observed performance at an earlier time (before social media marketing) with a performance criterion such as a goal, target, standard or a prior performance period (after social media marketing). Social media hasn’t only had an impact on organisations but on marketing itself, the era of catchy punch lines and striking images is no longer the be all and end all; it is about a continual dialogue, building trust and interacting with the right audience in the right way, as fast as possible, marketers are now in the front of the line facing consumers and controlling the brand .|
Social Media Networks
|Social network sites are defined as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system [17,18].|
Major social media networks
|Facebook: It is one of the largest social media networks and it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, this network was originally meant to be only available to Harvard university students . Facebook is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. The network is translated into 37 languages it has features, which include;|
|1. Marketplace - allows members to post, read and respond to classified ads|
|2. Groups - allows members who have common interests to find each other and interact|
|3. Event - allows members to publicize an event, invite guests and track who plans to attend|
|4. Pages - allows members to create and promote a public page built around a specific topic|
|5. Presence technology - allows members to see which contacts are online and chat |
|These are the following statistics of Facebook:|
|1. 864 million daily active users on average for September 2014|
|2. 703 million mobile daily active users on average for September 2014|
|3. 1.35 billion Monthly active users as of September 30, 2014|
|4. 1.12 billion Mobile monthly active users as of September 30, 2014|
|5. Approximately 82.2% of the daily active users are outside the US and Canada|
|Facebook has also been involved with organizations and their brand campaigns. In April 2011, Facebook launched a new portal for marketers and creative agencies to help them develop brand promotions on Facebook. Hardly any organization now doesn’t have a Facebook account; it has been recognized as both a social and business front for individuals and their businesses which is one of its unique features, it is also recognized as a portal for political access.|
|Word of mouth has been one of the most important and efficient marketing strategy, organizations rely heavily on word of mouth. Facebook helps businesses amplify their word-of-mouth marketing in the places where their customers are spending more of their time, online and on mobile devices .|
|Here is new data that illustrates the scale at which people are connecting with small businesses in U.S.A on Facebook.|
|a) There are more than 2 billion connections between local businesses and people|
|b) In an average week, there are over 645 million views of, and 13 million comments on, local business Facebook Pages|
|c) Approximately 70% of monthly active users in the U.S and Canada are connected to a local business on Facebook|
|These numbers illustrate the extensive reach for small businesses on Facebook according to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey of more than 28,000 internet respondents in 56 countries which was performed in April 2012.|
|Twitter: It was created by Dorsey, Williams, Stone and Glass and was launched in March 2006 . It is an online social networking and micro blogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called “tweets” where registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Its mission is ‘To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers’. It was ranked among the ten most visited website and as of June 2014 has over 500 million users with 271 million monthly active users 500 million Tweets are sent per day 77% of accounts are outside the U.S and supports 35 plus languages according to Twitter’s home page [4,21].|
|Twitter gives its users the opportunity to either ‘retweet’ ‘favorite’ or ‘reply’ any initial tweet and the occasional ‘trending topic’ which will enable an organization know what the consumers are buying at that particular period. It allows for direct communication between an individual and any organization. Organizations have the chance to purchase ads on twitter, buying twitter ads is very different from newspaper ads. In newspaper you are buying a square on a piece of paper which may or may not be read or entertained by thousands of readers but when you purchase a twitter ad you are actually buying space on an individual’s (which you can choose) timeline. In April 2013, Twitter made this feature even more unique by allowing advertisers to send ads only to people who mention specific keywords that may relate to their product or organization in their timelines. This feature has enabled organizations to not only handpick their target individuals but to also have an idea on the amount of prospects available. The creation of the ‘hash tag’ this enables your attendees to tweet about the event putting the hash tag sign in the tweet, anybody who views the hash tag will be able to review other’s view with the same hash tag.|
|Youtube: It is a free video sharing site and social network. Anybody can watch and share videos on YouTube (the content ranges from music videos to how-to demos to amateur filmmaking) but to access additional features a person must register for an account, according to a segment published in 2006 by BBC news YouTube is now a subsidiary for Google after being purchased for $1.65 billion. It was founded by Hurley, Chen and Karim. According to an article written by Woda in 2014 the attributes of YouTube are stated below:|
|a) Third most visited site on the internet (behind Google and Facebook)|
|b) 2,000,000,000 Video views per day, worldwide|
|c) 829,440 Videos are uploaded each day|
|d) The average internet user spends 900 seconds on You Tube per day|
|Communication through YouTube was enabled through the comment section which appears under every video. Businesses place ads and can actually see what consumers think of the advertisement itself, this is really new for marketers, normally when an advertisement is sent out a marketer or the business has no idea how it is perceived by the consumer the main aim at that point was just to create awareness . This new method of communication has left organizations venerable to backlash or criticism from consumers who may feel some adverts are inappropriate or offensive to a particular gender, race or social status. Organizations have to undergo deep screening for their adverts before they are allowed to air in order to prevent criticism from consumers. YouTube users can communicate with each other in several ways, they can:|
|1) Post comments on a video and respond to others’ comments|
|2) Record a video response to something they watched|
|3) Share videos via email, embedding the video on their blog, or using Twitter or Facebook|
|4) Post comments directly to a person’s channel|
|5) Privately message the owner of a channel|
|Brands such as Sony are building their reputations on YouTube, serving as a platform for the era of online video domination. There is a variety of methods brands can use to promote their messages. There are pre-roll ads, which run before videos and may be able to skip so the advertiser only pays when someone watches at least 30 seconds of the ad. Brands can also buy display advertising on the site and ads which appear at the bottom of the screen during video .|
Social media networks impact on organizations
|In this modern day the internet is singlehandedly the fastest way to gain consumer attention and at a wide reach, one of the ways in which organizations have found to connect with their consumers is through the social media. Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest represent a huge opportunity for businesses to grab the attention of customers while simultaneously building a brand image. Businesses have been well educated of ways in which they can use social media sites as a stepping stone to create brand awareness or campaign to the consumers.|
|Word of mouth: Social media platforms provide the perfect opportunity to take advantage of word of mouth and to see it spread. Social media is growing at its fastest rate in developing countries. People are connected on a global scale and casually participate in each other’s lives through online observation. “Liking” a brand on Facebook can spread virally very quickly throughout the various social media channels. Kietzmann  stressed that consumers feel more comfortable regarding opinions of their peers than paid advertisement by businesses. Videos can also act as reference for review of products and services through YouTube, which in many cases is then shared and disseminated via various other social media websites these reviews can act as bases for consumer buying decisions. As a result, companies can and do provide products to popular YouTube users to review for their subscribers as well as create their own branded YouTube channels with branded videos about their products .|
|Communicating with customers: Social media is not without its demerits  but organizations can use it as an advantage by communicating with the dis-satisfied consumers directly thereby taking full advantage of the social media and can promise to change or improve the product they are offering. Organizations have even taken this opportunity to ask its consumers opinions about upcoming events concerning their brands especially consumer based organizations.|
|Considerations and influence: Social media has had a huge influence on business, marketing and on how organizations engage with their target market. The use of social media to share and engage with others continues to grow, so it would be wise for any business to develop and implement a sustainable social media strategy in order to successfully take advantage of this rapidly changing environment. Another influence of the social media is the invention of ‘Trending Topics’, A trend on Twitter refers to a hash tag-driven topic that is immediately popular at a particular time, Trends are determined by an algorithm that monitors hot subjects based on who you follow and where you’re located [3,18]. These ‘trends’ assist organizations in knowing what are acceptable and what is not at a particular time in the market.|
|Social bakers: Social Bakers is a social media analytics and publishing company that provides social media management services and deep data analytics for thousands of brands that market on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and VK. It gives organizations the opportunity to monitor and optimize the effectiveness of their social media campaigns, benchmark against competitors and industry standards, and track the right social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in order to improve their marketing success and efficiency. The site provides data on fastest growing presence on social media according to industry i.e., celebrity, brands, entertainment.|
Social Media Marketing
|Social media marketing is a recent phenomenon that began with social media dominating online communication. Social media marketing is a form of internet marketing that implements various social media networks in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals. Social media marketing primarily covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing purposes. Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks, resulting electronic word of mouth (EWoM) . When the underlying message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself, this form. Marketing techniques adopted by social media marketing include Targeting, Consumer’s online brand related activities (COBRAs), electronic word of mouth (EWOM), and these techniques are used to successfully advertise online. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter provide advertisers with information about the likes and dislikes of their consumers which is crucial, as it provides the businesses with a “target audience”. Consumer’s online brand related activities (COBRAs) are another method used by advertisers to promote their products. An activity such as uploading a picture of a product purchased on Facebook is an example of a COBRA. Another technique for social media marketing is the electronic word of mouth (EWOM). Electronic recommendations and appraisals are a convenient manner to have a product promoted via “consumer-toconsumer interactions. An example would be a review of a company online. A good service would result in a positive review which gets the company free advertising via social media, however a poor service will result in a negative consumer review which can potentially ruin the company’s reputation of marketing results in earned media rather than paid media.|
Social media marketing versus online marketing
|Online marketing which is also referred to as internet marketing is the process of promoting a brand, service or product on the internet combining the technical and creative aspects of the World Wide Web; it includes website development, blog marketing, email marketing and article marketing. Social media marketing and online marketing are often used interchangeably, however they are not the same, social media marketing is a component of online marketing . Online marketing has become a useful tool to entrepreneurs or small business owners as well as corporations. Whereas social media marketing is conducted through social networks i.e., Facebook, Twitter; Social media marketing helps in creating business and consumer relationships through interaction with other members of these social networks. YouTube is popular for video marketing, which is also considered as part of social media marketing since it is becoming a social networking site. YouTube is an excellent tool to market your products and services to your target audience.|
Challenges with social media marketing
|According to a global survey stated in an article by Bennett in 2014 which was conducted in October 2014 by Hootsuite and Harris Poll which included professional marketers, the major challenges of social media marketing involved; Assessing the effectiveness of social media activities received 67%, designing an overall social media strategy 62%, taking data gathered from social media and turning it into something actionable 61%, educating staff on how to use social media 59%, making sense of all the data gathered via social media 56%, aligning social media strategies throughout different departments within the company 55%, creating ‘buy in’ among executives at the company about the importance of social media 44%, knowing when to take action about data obtained through social media 42%, keeping social media accounts safe from security breaches 27%, difficulty controlling brand 23%, other 1%, none of the above 5% [8,18].|
|A brand is a sign, symbol, logo, term that a producer or group of producers put on their product or group of products in order to ensure differentiation from other competitive products in the market. Branding is a process that is used by the businesses to utilize marketing strategies to enhance their product or service image so that it is more readily recollected by the customer . Branding can as act as a promotional strategy to produce consumer patronage and loyalty and also influencing their buying patterns, For a brand to achieve the following, the elements will come into play, the brand elements include; Brand name, Logo, URL, Character, Slogan, Jingle, Packaging and the criteria’s for these elements to work are; Memorability, Meaning fullness, Likability, Transferability, Adaptability and Protect ability . In order for a brand to be established for the long run, there are constants that must be followed:|
|A brand must be simple: Popular brands today have simple and easy to remember logos, the reason backing this concept it that consumers like to associate themselves with simple things and forget the complex things.|
|A brand should be different: A brand should have its own level of uniqueness in order for it to be able to stand out from similar products or competition in the market, the individuality of the brand make it easy for consumers to seek out the product to use again.|
|A brand should be safe: Research should be carried out by the marketers when seeking a logo or a symbol for the brand in order to choose appropriately without offending a particular culture. This is used mainly for international organizations .|
|A company’s brand is its definition in the world the name that identifies it to itself and the market place. A strong brand is a promise or bond with customers and in return for their loyalty, customers expect the firm to satisfy their needs better than any other competitors. Brands will always be important given their fundamental purpose to identify and differentiate products and services. Good brand makes people’s lives a little easier and better by allowing them to identify goods according to the quality of the product associated with the brand and making shopping very efficient. People are loyal to brands that satisfy their expectations and deliver on its brand promise. The predictably good performance of a strong brand is something that consumer will always value. Building a corporate brand requires a lot of planning and patience because your future profit and increase in market share depend on it. Brand equity refers to the intangible value that occurs to a company as a result of its successful efforts to establish a strong brand, it exist as a function of consumer choice in the market place.|
Consumer purchase intention
|According to Ajzen  “intentions are assumed to capture the motivational factors that influence a behavior, they are indications of how hard people are willing to try, of how much of an effort they are planning to exert, in order to perform the behavior”. Purchase intention can be defined as the decision to act or physiological action that shows an individual’s behavior according to the product .|
|Competitive differentiation is a tactic used by organizations to help set their products or services apart from that of the competitors. Differentiation can be achieved through packaging, marketing campaigns and after-market product support. Startup companies often develop products or services in niche markets in order to competitively differentiate themselves around a specific consumer need. A positioning statement can provide a basis for competitive differentiation, defining specific advantages a particular offering provides .|
|Specific activities designed to promote a product, service or business. A marketing campaign is a coordinated series of steps that can include promotion of a product through different mediums (television, radio, print, online) using a variety of different types of advertisements. The campaign doesn’t have to rely solely on advertising, and can also include demonstrations, word of mouth and other interactive techniques.|
|According to Richard [12-14] organizational performance encompasses three specific areas of firm outcomes: (i) financial performance which includes; profits, return on assets, return on investment, etc., (ii) product market performance which includes; sales, market share, etc., (iii) shareholder return which includes; total shareholder return, economic value added, etc.|
The balance scorecard
|Firstly it is important to note that the balance scorecard apart from being a means of measurement for organizations, it also acts a means of management which monitors the performance of all or part of an organization, towards strategic or operational goals. It was originated by a Robert Kaplan and David Norton in the 1990’s, It is a strategic planning and management system which is used to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organization performance against strategic goals and it is used extensively by nonprofit organizations, government and private organization . It uses financial and non-financial performance measures to highlight areas where the organization is failing to do what is required or was expected. In order for it to be useful it has to have the right measures and targets. Balanced scorecard has also been selected by the editors of Harvard Business Review as one of the most influential business ideas of the past seventy five years. The balance scorecard is a hybrid approach that considers both financial and non-financial measures. According to Kaplan and Norton the balanced scorecard suggests that organizations be viewed from four perspectives, and to develop metrics, collect data and analyze it relative to each of these four perspectives:|
|The learning and growth perspective: This perspective includes employee training and corporate cultural attitudes related to both individual and corporate self-improvement. People being the only repertory of knowledge are the main resource. Kaplan and Norton emphasize that ‘learning’ is more than ‘training’, in the continuous rapid technological change; it is becoming necessary for knowledge workers to be in constant learning mode.|
|The business process perspective: This perspective refers to internal business processes. Due to the perspective based metrics, managers know how well their business is running and if customers are getting maximum satisfaction from their goods and services.|
|The customer perspective: There is increasing realization by organizations concerning the importance of consumer satisfaction; if consumers are not satisfied there can move to the competition who will eventually attend to their needs. If an organization performs poorly in this area it is an indicator of future decline no matter the financial status.|
|The financial perspective: One of the highest priorities is the timely and accurate funding of financial data and manages are tasked to do what is necessary to provide it. Kaplan and Norton do not disregard the traditional need for financial data. There is hope that processing can become centralized and automated which follows after the implementation of a corporate database, but the point is that the current emphasis on financials leads to the “unbalanced” situation with regard to other perspectives .|
Strategic performance measurement system
|Strategic performance measurement system can take many forms but its distinctive feature is that they are designed specially to provide information on both financial and non-financial measures which covers different perspectives which when combined provides a way of translating to strategy into performance measures . Examples include performance pyramids and hierarchies. It is the integrative nature of SPMS that provides the organization with potential information to enhance organization’s strategic competitiveness. In addition, evidence shows that non-financial performance indicators can be best combined with financial performance indicators to come up with the best organizational performance measurements model in a competitive environment in which organizations operate .|
|Strategic performance measurement systems have three characteristics in common:|
|• Financial measures of performance are relevant to senior managers as short-term feedback on the results of their past initiatives aimed at increasing shareholder value, revenue growth, asset utilization, and cash flows |
|• They supplement financial measures with nonfinancial measures that indicate operational achievements likely to drive future financial performance|
|• They are designed to fulfill multiple purposes, from simple cost determination to complex value creation, with an emphasis on strategy execution|
|Recent research on the performance effects of SPMS has established that characteristics and outcomes of the SPMS do not directly influence business performance; rather, through a complex set of cause-andeffect relationships, performance gains at different aspects of the business lead to improved overall performance .|
The production of welfare framework (pow)
|This framework is measured using three indicators: The first indicator is the outcome of the project i.e., performance should be assessed in terms of what changes brought through its project. The second indicator focuses on invested financial, material and human resources to pursue organizational objective for measurement against what has been achieved. The third is the perception success and achievement of the organization and people within the organization and perceived success of the organization by stakeholders. This framework has two categories as presented by Kendall and Knapp:|
|• Meso context refers to the internal environment i.e., culture, internal affairs etc|
|• Macro context refers to the external environment i.e., social, economic, political, legal and technological environments. Organizations have no control over this context|
|The POW framework also presents eight performance measurement indicators which are financial issues, effectiveness, choice/pluralism, efficiency, equity, participation, advocacy and innovation, it should also be noted that this framework is usually executed by nonprofit making organizations [32,33].|
Theories Underpinning Social Media
|Media and modernity theory: The first theory is Media and modernity theory by Thompson in 1995. This theory states that the development of communication media from its early days of print to recent days of electronic communication was due to the rise of modern societies. It takes into consideration technological advancements, changes in income and culture of people from the primitive to the modernity stage as well as education and social economic variables. The theory further argues that in order to fully understand the nature of modern societies we must first look into communication media and their impact. Thompson gave an instance of print media and how it started to spread during the early days of its development due to factors such as urbanization, industrial development, technological advancement, and increased number of elites by 1500s . The focal contention is that the way of social media is an impression of modernizing advancement methodologies or stages that a general public would have arrived at. In perspective of this hypothesis, social networking is an aftereffect of modernizing ICT that impacts association and individual correspondence, it is a consequence of the relationship between innovative headway and changing worldwide society of correspondence and relating past national state limits. The theory is subject to criticism based on the fact that in reality there are circumstances under which the advancement of media cannot be controlled by level of innovation alone but instead exchange of numerous variables, for example, innovative exchange starting with one nation then onto the next, steady government arrangements on media and worldwide financial exchanges.|
Resource mobilization theory of social media
|Another social media theory is the “Resource Mobilization Theory of Social Media” by Wiest et al. . The theory borrows from the work of scholars on resource mobilization theory such as Jenkins  which states that resources (time, money, organizational skills, and certain social or political opportunities) are very central toward success in any social movements. It is argued that these scarce resources can be mobilized through social media, something which would not have otherwise happened. An example is the Arab spring social movement in Egypt and Tunisia where social media was used to mobilize people for demonstrations or to seek political support from individuals or organizations, social media proved resourceful in mobilizing people and getting them to participate in anti-government movements in Egypt . Other examples of social media use among “resource poor” actors include HIV/AIDS activism and the activities of some Muslim feminists. The HIV/AIDS media activism grew significantly between the late 1980s and early 1990s and was initiated mostly by collectives of HIV/AIDS victims with the aim of publicizing AIDS health and treatment options HIV/AIDS and also the cultural and political activities of people with HIV/AIDS . These groups lacked the power and resources to efficiently spread their messages to a mass audience through traditional means but the Internet has now enabled mobilization of people with HIV/AIDS in developing countries as well as AIDS dissidents. At its inception, resource mobilization theory was unlike earlier theories of collective action in its treatment of social movements as normal, rational, institutionally rooted activities that are structured and patterned, thus allowing for analysis in terms of organizational dynamics .|
|Murphy argued that in organization principle; three elementary theoretical strategies to measuring organizational effectiveness have progressed:|
|• The objective-based mostly method: which suggests that a business can be evaluated by the ambitions that it sets for itself although organizations have various and sometimes contradictory goals, producing cross-firm comparisons tough|
|• The systems technique: this method partially compensates for the weakness of the goal-based method by thinking about the simultaneous achievement of several, generic functionality aspects|
|• The several constituency strategies: this strategy factors in these differences in perspectives and examines the extent to which the agenda of various stakeholders teams are satisfied.|
|Research of social media is still at its infant stage due to the fact that it is a recent phenomenon but there is an amount of interest amongst practitioners and researchers in studying the issues related to social media and social media marketing. Hensel et al.  suggested that in order to positively increase advertising and improve marketing that all possible avenues must be considered, also stating that there are benefits, drawback and challenges that are associated with any social media strategy and they must all be dealt with before a specific strategy is chosen. These strategies should be used to track the organization’s presence on social media in order to monitor the activities associated with their brand and. They also stated that social media has made it possible for one individual to communicate with hundreds or even thousands of other individuals and therefore amplifying word of mouth. Colliander et al.  compared the effects of brand publicity in social media advertising (blog) and traditional media (magazines, newspapers). There was a demonstration regarding the greater publicity effectiveness of social media and underlying factors behind it and also the effects of perceived writer – brand relationship, effects of writer credibility and publicity effectiveness, purchase intentions and social interactions are the variables taken into consideration when comparing social media advertising to traditional media. It was established that social media (blogs) generated higher brand attitudes and purchase intentions due to the social interaction between the readers and the blogger, the readers socialize with the blogger and also with each other, sharing experiences they have had with a particular product or service. Kunz et al.  conducted an experiment to further understand the use of social media. Top 18 retailers and five of the social media sites were taken, the number of subscribers belonging to each retailer was monitored for a number of weeks; there was a significant change in sales during that period. It was discovered that consumers enjoyed the control that came along with social media and they enjoy being part of the community than the target of an organization. Based upon the usage rate and statistics, retailers are quickly incorporating the use of social networking sites into their marketing communication strategy. Retailers now encourage consumers to visit their profile pages and to also take advantage of the promo’s and it is also used to boost seasonal sales.|
Conclusion and Recommendation
|The objectives of this study was to determine if social media marketing affected organizational brand, if it influenced consumer behavior, if it could be used as a competitive tool and also if it can increase organization efficiency. These hypotheses were tested and three out of four tested positive. It shows social media marketing is effective even if it is relatively new to the marketing world, it is just as useful and effective if not more than other traditional forms of marketing. Managers have to understand that there has been a shift of power from the producers to the consumers; social media provides a platform for consumers to speak their thoughts regarding a new ad, product or even service. Organizations have to take advantage of the two way communication to respond and communicate with consumers to find out how a particular brand is perceived or if they are enjoying the use of a product taking full advantage to electronic word of mouth. The researcher concluded by stating that the business world is developing rapidly and that with the constant communication that has been made available marketers have been given the chance to handpick potential consumers and at the same time getting the loyalty from present consumers. Marketers have also been given the opportunity to better understand their consumers directly from the thoughts and views expressed by them; if marketers can fully understand the way to manipulate the use of social media then the power could be taken back from the consumers.|
|Based on the findings established during the course of this study, the following is recommended to managers of various organizations.|
|• Social media marketing is a recent phenomenon but it has proven to be very effective and should be considered a major player in creating awareness. Managers should use this platform to their advantage by encouraging employees and not just the marketing department to participate in social media marketing which in turn will cover more ground|
|• Although they all have the same advantages and functions, a manager would still have to choose a suitable social media platform to advertise products. Some products are better advertised through demonstration which can be done through videos placed on YouTube.|
|The marketing department has to figure out the best way to present the product or service to the consumers|
|• One of the major challenges of social media marketing is turning data and information given into something actionable, I recommend that social media should instead be used as tracking system; traffic on organization pages can be monitored comparing the attention given to a particular product or campaign on the profile pages to the sales of that product or brand. Polls can also be useful|
|• Social media can also be a good platform for building goodwill and improving corporate image, I recommend that organizations engage consumers in friendly competitions hosted on their social media pages and also take part in self-promotion by uploading photos of events i.e., charity events|
|Electronic Word Of Mouth (eWOM) is a wider horizon than word of mouth, a comment weather negative or positive placed on the internet is seen by everyone even potential customers. I recommend that managers have a damage control team on standby in case a campaign is not well received by the public causing a backlash. Organizations should never partake in word battles with consumers or competitors on social media, the way an organization handles criticism on social media could go a long way.|
Do you use social media on a daily basis? Feel like you'd be lost if you had to do without it? You're certainly not alone, especially as both the variety of social media sites and the number of ways to access them has expanded rapidly over the past few decades, allowing an unprecedented level of connectivity.
Yet while social media has been lauded for its ability to connect people from all over the world, build friendships, support political causes, and even help people find work, it has also been blamed for a whole host of social problems. Some of this blame, subsequent research has shown, has been placed unfairly, but that doesn't mean that social media doesn't pose some real problems for its users.
As it turns out, being so connected all the time comes with serious drawbacks. It can shorten attention spans, become addictive, lead to less diverse social groups, and even, among student users, cause a marked drop in academic performance. For those who use social media in class or take online courses steeped in social media interaction, these potential effects can be a bit scary and may have many wondering what role, if any, social media should play in higher education.
Your Brain on Social Media
With an estimated 800 million people worldwide using Facebook and countless others connecting through Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, and other sites, it only makes sense that social media has become a heavily researched subject over the past few years. After all, on such a large scale, the effects of these types of media could be quite significant, especially among groups who are heavy users. While studies haven't revealed social media to be the societal evil that some have played it up as being, that doesn't mean that it isn't influencing how you act and think, often in ways you may not even realize.
In many ways, social media is simply one aspect of the growing trend for individuals to constantly be working on several things at once and be inundated with the latest news, information, and updates, whether they're important or not. While social media isn't alone in exacerbating these problems, it is one of the most distracting and widely used ways that people divide their attention, especially since smartphones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets have made it easier to bring these distractions with them anywhere.
Multitasking Leads to Habitual, Distracted Thinking
While multitasking sounds great on the surface, allowing individuals to do more in less time, research shows that this kind of sustained division of attention can have serious and often deleterious effects on the brain itself.
A study at UCLA in 2006 found that that those who multitasked, using laptops to look at social media in class, for instance, actually utilized a different part of the brain than their more focused counterparts. Instead of employing the hippocampus, used for memory and learning in the brain, like focused learners, multitaskers use the striatum. The striatum can hold memories quite well, but only those used for forming habits or patterns. This is great for learning physical tasks or doing assembly line work, but not for attaining academic excellence. In fact, in a way, those who are multitasking are actually training their brains to be distracted, shortening their attention spans, and making themselves less able to think in high-level situations, none of which bodes well for college-level learning.
So we should just stop multitasking, right? Well, it's not that easy. Once you start multitasking, even if you're just checking your Facebook while working on homework or texting a friend while writing a paper, it becomes almost impossible to switch that need to do more than one thing at once off. If our brains were wired for this kind of dual duty attention, this would be an asset, but they're not. Multitasking actually makes us less efficient and produces poorer results. Research has shown that even those who think they're great at multitasking are actually terrible at filtering out irrelevant information, and performing well on two tasks simultaneously. Yet most of us just can't stop, even if we know it's not leaving us at our best.
Social Media can be Addictive, Taking Priority over School and Sleep
Not only do our brains have a hard time letting go of our constant need to multitask, there is evidence that suggests that social media and other forms of digital engagement may have an addictive effect on the brain as well. A study by researchers at the University of Winchester found that when heavy social media users were asked to stop using the services for a month, some (though not all) experienced negative feelings related to the ban, including feeling cut off from the world and social isolation. While most psychologists and social media experts agree that overuse of these sites doesn't really reach the dangerous levels of true addiction, the release of dopamine that comes from online recognition can be habit-forming, and may even cause some to neglect important tasks like schoolwork and sleep.
This addictive high of social media and the compulsion to multitask have combined to make it harder than ever for today's students to buckle down and pay attention, which is proving to have some very real effects. A study at the Miriam Hospital's Center for Behavioral and Preventative Medicine found that student engagement with digital media of any kind, whether it be posting to Facebook or sending a text to a friend, could have a big impact on grades, lowering GPAs and negatively impacting other areas of academic performance. With the freshmen women in the study spending nearly 12 hours a day (yes, more than half their waking hours) engaged in some form of media use, this may not be especially surprising, but it is troubling. Because these students spend so much time engaging with media, they spend less time doing homework, attending class, and even taking care of themselves by getting enough sleep.
The Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education
While it's true that social media can have a negative impact on your brain, it's not the tool itself that's the problem but how it's used. In fact, social media plays a productive and incredibly useful role in the classroom at colleges all over the country, and many feel it has a strong role to play in enriching the educational experience for students for years to come.
Yet social media has been a hotly contested addition to classrooms at all levels, not just in college. And in truth, it does come with the potential for distraction and a myriad of other issues. But a closer examination of the pros and cons of social media reveal that it's not nearly as dangerous as some have made it out to be and may be just what some students need to feel connected to their coursework and their classmates.
- It makes it easy to collaborate. Whether students are working together on a project for an online course or one in a traditional in-class setting, social media makes it a snap to talk, share information and work, and even produce multimedia presentations without having to set up meetings in person, which can sometimes be hard with busy schedules. Aside from collaboration, this type of social interaction can help students to feel less isolated and to develop a social network that makes them feel at home in their college environment, which research has shown reduces drop out rates.
- It offers a chance to learn essential technological skills. The modern workplace requires a pretty thorough knowledge of a wide range of technical skills, even those related to social media. When students get a chance to learn these skills in class in a relatively risk-free setting, they'll be much more comfortable applying them later on in the workplace.
- Students can get instant feedback. Unsure how well a research paper is going or an art project is looking? With social media, friends, family, and professors can provide insights throughout the process, hopefully leading to a better, more refined end product.
- It fosters creativity. Social media opens up a lot of avenues for researching and producing a project for a class. This may encourage students to get creative and think outside the box, and in an age where innovation is highly prized, that kind of thinking can go far.
- It gets some students more engaged. For some students, traditional classroom experiences can be a bit dull, whether online or off. Social media offers a chance to engage these students through something they're already using, which for many, makes connecting and learning a whole lot more interesting.
- There is potential for distraction. Social media can be a great tool for finding information and working together but it can also be incredibly distracting. It's easy to lose hours browsing through photos, tweets, and videos, which may reduce the amount of time spent on educational tasks.
- It may reduce more personal forms of communication. While social media can be great for building connections, some still believe that one-on-one discussions are far better for learning, support, and even discovering the best ways to present yourself professionally. Some forms of social media may foster this kind of interaction better than others.
- Some believe it encourages poor writing. There's no doubt that more than a few professors have seen "textspeak" show up in their students' academic papers and research does suggest that those who use incorrect forms of grammar and spelling on social media are more likely to do so in other venues, too.
- It may compromise privacy. One of the biggest concerns with using social media in the classroom has to be privacy. Students may not think to protect their personal information when posting to social sites, especially in academic settings, which could leave them open to judgment from employers down the line or even in danger if classmates are violent.
With so much to gain and so many potential pitfalls, it can be confusing to students whether to embrace social media or to shun it. The reality is that it isn't going away anytime soon, so the best move is to learn how to make social media a valuable tool for learning and collaborating, not just a way to procrastinate when you're supposed to be writing a paper.
Smart Social Media Use
Since most of us don't have the willpower or desire to totally disconnect from social media (and some in online courses really can't opt out and still complete their work), learning how to use social sites in smarter ways that make them learning assets instead of obstacles is one of the best things you can do for your academic career and beyond.
1. Unplug from Social Media and Similar Distractions
Leelawatte Popali-Lehane, a clinical psychologist at Diversity in Aging, says that a critical part of success for online students (or any students) in balancing their studies and their social media usage is set aside time just for working on class materials. Unless social media is explicitly required to complete an assignment, during these hours students should instruct friends and family not to contact them and turn off cell phones, block access to social sites, and reduce the number of things that can potentially distract them.
2. Set Time Limits for Computer-Related Activities
She also recommends setting strict limits on checking emails, texts, and social sites. Checking them frequently can become a bad and very distracting habit that makes it hard to concentrate on more important and academically focused tasks. If you find yourself repeatedly checking them when you shouldn't be, set up programs on your computer that will block your access if it's not within your set hours or time limits.
If you find that you simply can't seem to kick the habit of checking social sites, Popali-Lehane advises getting out of the house and leaving the technology behind. "If you have a project to do, you can start your research at a brick-and-mortar library and get help from the librarian in finding hard copies of materials like books, magazines, and newspapers," she says. "This way, you limit the temptation to surf and consequently waste precious time."
3. Leave your Laptop at Home, Take Notes with Pen and Paper
And if you're not an online student? Popali-Lehane says that no matter how cool it may seem to bring your laptop to class, it's actually more of a distraction than an easy way to take notes. She finds that most of her students lose focus when they get an email or start browsing social sites instead of paying attention, so good old fashioned pen and paper may be the best choice.
4. Identify Productive Ways to Use Social Media
If you do have to use social media for class, make it productive. Get to know your professor, share resources, talk to experts, and keep up with the news of the world instead of getting lost in online games or mindlessly checking for updates from friends. There are many positive and productive ways to use social media, and applying them to your courses can help you get more out of what you're learning and overcome feelings of isolation that can plague many new students both online and off.
At the end of the day, anything can be a distraction if you let it, even things that can have a largely positive influence on your life. Social media is no more a success killer than any of these, provided you use it wisely and don't allow it to become a distraction that keeps you from achieving the things you really want to do. In some cases, it can even be an asset for learning, keeping you connected and engaged with your courses, your field, and your colleagues. The trick is figuring out how to navigate the fine line between productivity and obsession and come out ahead on the other side.