Social media forces those who use traditional marketing and advertising to re-evaluate their business models and techniques.
Despite such rave reviews regarding the use of social networking as a marketing platform, many companies have not readjusted their strategies to incorporate such elements into their execution of marketing techniques. This means missed opportunities and cost savings. Even worse, many SMEs are continuing to spend too much money on the execution of traditional advertising, which is essentially limiting their ability to compete with larger businesses. This creates a situation where marketentry barriers are high, as are the potential failure rates for many new start-ups and small businesses around the country.
Viral marketing affects customers' brand consciousness, information purchase behavior, purchase actions, postpurchase conversations, and assessments (Mangold & Faulds, 2009; Palka, Pousttchi, & Wiedemann, 2009). The use of social media is not devoid of issues, not least of which is that it allows consumers to freely swap details about services and products among themselves, skipping any business control of the information (Palka et al., 2009). Within this quickly developing and sophisticated atmosphere, the leaders of organizations need an awareness of the way in which the social networking resources as well as technologies can lead the way of developing relationships with and among their clients.
This kind of understanding is especially appropriate within the 21 stcentury because the substantial utilization of portable technologies is causing marketers to change how they advertise their products and services (Clarke, 2001). The primary benefits of transactions by way of portable technologies tend to be: ubiquity (i.e., accessible everywhere), localization (i.e., location-founded marketing), customization (i.e., tailored toward a particular person), and comfort (i.e., anytime and anyplace as well as improved standard of living; Clarke, 2001). These benefits can also affect social networking usage as improvements in portable technology offer enhanced consumer interfaces for acquiring brand new media information whenever needed (Kim et al., 2010).
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether social media can make it easier and less expensive for SMEs to compete with larger businesses. Social media can have a huge impact on the productivity of SMEs, allowing them to gain enough market competitiveness so as to stand against the larger enterprise businesses by using viral platforms to encourage the cost-effective word-of-mouth marketing strategies.
The actual obstacles and drivers that impact the use of information technology (it) within SMEs have been well-established for many years. DeLone first articulated them throughout the 1980s (DeLone, 1988). He applied the first books into computer usage through small business enterprises during the pre-Web period of the 1970s and 1980s.These types of early studies identified a number of barriers to the uptake of it by SMEs together with technical know-how, the requirement for upper management guidance, training factors, and mindset (DeLone, 1988). The arrival of new technologies such as laptops and personal computers (PCs) along with the World Wide Web has potentially elevated by SMEs' the actual use of (it), but the obstacle to prevalent adoption continue to exist.For instance, within the period of electronic commerce (e-commerce), insufficient specialized knowledge remains a significant issue for SMEs (Mehrtens, Cragg, & Mills, 2001), and resource constraints such as time, financing, and it abilities are a widespread hurdle to adoption (Street & Meister, 2004 Montazemi (2006) attributed the deficiency in complex skills as well as in knowledge of it to the central dynamics of the SME functional style where workers are designated a number of roles along with little opportunity to specialize.Deficiencies in technical knowledge are usually coupled with deficiencies in managerial competence which leads to improper or ineffective e-business endeavors (Mehrtens et al., 2001).
Nevertheless, the area in which SMEs can gain an advantage from it is with the utilization of cellular devices. Smaller firms tend to be more versatile and accommodating than the bigger organizations (Wickert & Herschel, 2001) and they have also demonstrated an eagerness to adopt cellular technologies from the start (Harker & Van Akkeren, 2002; Scheepers & McKay, 2004). Because these technologies have evolved and become cheaper and much more common, small enterprises have the ability to capitalize on the benefits of mobile employees through use of applications such as text messages, e-mail, and data exchange (Knights, 2006). Earlier studies suggested that the utilization of portable technologies enabled SMEs to capitalize on social networking and reap the benefits of these sites (Bulearca & Bulearca, 2010). The business media is much more modern concern about the capability of applications (e.g., Tweets to advertise business progress), even though they report deficiencies in excitement in many smaller businesses correlated with the notion that social networks do not produces business benefits ("A Peach of an Opportunity," 2010).
The research question that guided this study was: Is social media a viable strategy for increasing SMEs' advertising competitiveness will that allow them to compete with larger enterprise businesses and what are some of the processes that can be used?
A well-established research question is vital to any study. Without it, the reader does not know what is really being addressed or how the researcher plans to use the question to show that a "good" answer exists forwhat is being studied. Some studies have several questions that must be answered, but the current study's focus was on one question.
While more could be asked of this study, marketing is complex. A large number of facets mustbe explored, and attempting to address too many of them would have caused the researcher to struggle with the study. Too much data in a study can be just as troubling as too little data, and separating the information and analyzing it correctly is often difficult when it has simply become overwhelming. Each study must have a strong focus, or too much information that is unneeded for the actual study will be generated. A study that stays focused on just one research question, especially within such a broad topic as marketing, is often a better choice.
Definitions of Terms
Classifications of what constitutes an SME differ by marketplace and state. This research used the European Union concept of defining an SME by the quantity of workers as micro (under 10 employees), small (under 50), and medium (under 250; European Commission, 2003).
Social media refers to forms of electronic communication, such as websites for social networking and micro-blogging, through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content such as videos (Merriam-Webster 2011). Yet, the term goes past other forms of online communication that have been seen in the past. Social media is not just an e-mailing or messaging platform, but rather, it is a new way to build and to maintain entire networks that streamline multiple conversations in synergy.
The AMA defines traditional marketing, " as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large (Pride & Ferrell, 2011, p.4) Limitation and Delimitation
The primary limitation of this study concerns its strict reliance on secondary resources. In this regard, Dennis & Harris (20o2) pointed out, "Finding the information needed to answer a particular research question from secondary data avoids the need to spend time and money on primary research, but the likelihood of an ideal match is remote" (p. 39). Notwithstanding this sole limitation, the study's design and research question were deemed viable.
The advantages of social networking are located in the capability of companies to communicate with clients as observed by the anticipation of the drive in the direction of consumer value or relationship marketing (Ravald & Gronroos, 1996; Woodruff, 1997). To increase their capability of understanding the advantages that come from social networking, organizations will have to plan ways to create connections that strengthen consumer commitment (Ravald & Gronroos, 1996). This involves an awareness of the difficulties and outcomes of utilizing cellular social networking to guide as well as to inform strategic planning. As the growth and development of e-business has motivated more managerial competence in SMEs' planning as well as in the implementation of it, the actual strategizing capabilities of SMEs continue to be proportionally lower in comparison with that of bigger companies (Dyerson, Harindranath, & Barnes, 2009). E-business endeavors are not usually viewed as strategically practical or desirable in spite of their effective utilization of the Internet for elementary tasks such as e-mail