Not exactly the participation levels that would be hoped for.
The social networking phenomenon has had considerable impact on business in general and marketing in particular. With massive amounts of people flocking to social networking sites and staying there much longer than on other websites, businesses naturally want to leverage and monetize. However, the Facebook fiasco made it clear that people are not ready for Big Business to invade the "privacy" of their social networks. As a result, permission marketing has become a prominent issue -- marketers should allow customers to opt-in (i.e. consciously choose to participate) rather than only offering the choice of opting-out (i.e. including customers in a program until they indicate their disinterest). Therefore I propose to conduct a survey to identify behaviors, attitudes and trends of consumers using social networking websites. Findings will be accompanied by visual presentations as well as analysis of the data to further guide the reader.
The proposed research will utilize non-probability sampling method (Maylor, 2005) to tabulate the data gathered on population because there will be a sampling quota to achieve statistical significance which will be 100 survey papers. Furthermore, for the rest of the survey, multi- method researching will be used (Maylor, 2005) which consists of both a focus group interview with our respondents as well as a questionnaire.
Questionnaires and Respondent rate
100 questionnaires will be handed out to 100 randomly picked consumers who use social networking sites. All 100 questionnaires will ideally be filled up without inconsistencies or errors. The final pool of questionnaires is 100 which will be used for the research.
Limitations of Research
There are certain limitations that might affect the true nature of answers given by respondents. Firstly, there might be a flaw in the design of the questionnaire itself which would leave respondents in a state of ambiguity trying to answer a particular question. We will strive to make sure that the design of the questionnaire questions is direct and straight to the point to lower all chances of ambiguous questions. Secondly, is the problem of respondents being insincere to answering the questions. They might just answer blindly and irrationally; this would slightly affect the outcome of the survey. Finally, the surveyor's role could also play an important role in the end result, a mistake in interpretation or miscalculating could be potential risks while conducting a research. To eliminate any faulty calculations, the data will be counted and recounted 3 times in total to eliminate the risk of transcription errors.
Method of Segmentation
In the questionnaire, the respondents will be segregated into 4 different groups: Gender, Age, Nationality and Education Level. It is predicted that these variables will yield noteworthy differences in response.
Focus Group Method
The main reason to use a focus group method instead of observation method was because it was easier to be conducted. Furthermore, upon reviewing the observation method it was noticeable that in a team of 5 people, different views of observation could be interpreted and it would be tedious to come to a conclusion. Not only that, it would also be difficult to back up observations with any substantial evidence. For the focus groups, six people will be interviewed and their findings reviewed. It is highly noticeable that when performing focus group interviews, some respondents are not truthfully honest with answers. This may be due to moderators getting too close to the insights of their private life when asking questions or just the fact that when there is a higher "authority" asking questions present; respondents tend to not be totally honest.
Data Collection, Presentation and Analysis.
Focus Group Questions
1. What are your most preferred online social networks? * Facebook * Twitter * Friendster * Myspace
2. How many times do you access the online social networks? * Daily * Whenever there's access to the internet
3. How important is it to you when choosing an online social network based on its coverage, user interface, functions and popularity? * Very important
4. How many hours do you normally spend on the online social networks in a week? * 0 to 5 hours * 5 to 10 hours * Above 10 hours
5. What would be your reason for spending time surfing the online social networks? * to chat with family members * to chat with friends * to meet new people * to enhance communication skills * Self satisfaction
6. What are the factors that influence you to choose an online social network? * the user interface * the coverage * How educational is it * Could enhance my skills and knowledge
7. Would you give more importance to the online social networks compared to your family? * No
8. Is online social networks considered a problem to you? * No, it's a good pass time
9. Do certain online social networks influence you to go online regularly? * Yes, because of the friend's list * Meeting new friends * to socialize
10. How educational are online social networks to you? * it is very educational in terms of news * Socializing * Keeping up with new updates going on in the world
The Social Networking scene changes every day. New players enter the field while old ones either innovate or lose popularity. At a personal level, it is important for every professional to begin to explore various Social Networking sites. At a business level, Social Networking, and any other Social Media for that matter, should be seen as a long-term investment. Leveraging them requires a paradigm shift from controlling the conversation to being a part of the conversation, and they should only be used if they are in line with the company's strategic goals.Increasingly people are turning to the Internet to find information, and currently flocking Social Media sites as part of trend and life style and if you don't have a presence on the Social website you will not only be making it more difficult for people to find you, but you will miss out on so many opportunities for new business. Just like making a good first impression a making a great website…