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Social Media Usage
Companies, seeing the growth of social media usage among consumers, are starting to use them in their marketing strategy due to their low cost and their popularity. These platforms are being used to build their brand, increase awareness, measure their reputation from customer relationships (Harris & Rae, 2009), for brand management (branding) (Christodoulides, 2009), to communicate with their customers (Jansen, Zhang, Sobel & Chowdury, 2009). However, there are different ways to use social media in the business world. Companies can obtain data from user’s natural behavior and activity. This allows the exploration of behavior patterns from friend requests, follows, likes, or tweets (Hogan, 2008). This way, it allows businesses to approach consumers quickly and directly, at a relatively low cost, and with greater efficiency than traditional marketing tools. As observed, social media platforms are not only relevant for large companies but also for SMEs, profit and non-profit organizations, or the government (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). And even though companies can measure some elements of interaction with their customers through statistics offered by social media networks or from specialized computer programs; it is still unclear whether the strategic or tactical impact is high or low. In fact, there is a consensus among marketing professionals that there is a complex problem when measuring and monetizing marketing activities in social networks (Clemons, 2009).
In this new social media universe of user-generated content, businesses play a fundamental role in it, as consumers share their enthusiasm about their favorite brand through these platforms (Hennig-Thurau, Malthouse, Friege, Gensler, Lobschat, Rangaswamy, & Skiera, 2010), by commenting on its products and services (Chan & Ngai, 2011). Although the influence of social media marketing on business’ performance remains an unknown topic, there is no doubt that they play a key role in the future of marketing (Harris & Rae, 2009). Confirming Lindgreen, Palmer, & Vanhamme (2004), who anticipated that electronic and interactive marketing, as well as network marketing, would have greater development in the upcoming years. It should be noted that not everything related to internet advertisement can be considered as positive. There can be privacy or data security problems which suggest that social networks require structural control; otherwise, their attractiveness, credibility, and content value may decrease significantly (Otto & Simon, 2008). Despite the negative sides aforementioned about internet advertisement, Öztamur & Karakadılar (2014) emphasize their importance in online marketing since this type of advertisement has increased for small and medium businesses. They mention companies have to be present where the consumer is and carry out their marketing strategies accordingly. Now, the usage of social media has become popular among consumers, therefore, companies have to develop their strategies there in a more planned and structured way to make them more effective. Social media marketing has modified the way to attract and keep new customers; some features may include having an attractive content and environment, where the public can obtain information (Öztamur, & Karakadılar, 2014). An essential element in social media marketing is that it must be focused on the consumers; there must be an interaction between the promotional campaign and the consumers that receive it. Moreover, social media marketing represents a dramatic, but beneficial change when it comes to searching and purchasing goods and services regardless of advertising, marketing campaigns or messages; with it, customers make decisions on their own terms, relying on trusted networks to form opinions of a brand (Paquette, 2013).
As previously stated by Katona et al. (2011) it is necessary that companies have a professional presence in the main social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. whose main objective is not the sale of products and services, but their exposure to the public; creating a community of users with an emotional link with the brand (Iankova, Davies, Archer-Brown, Marder, & Yau, 2019). Therefore, as Lorenzo-Romero et al. (2011) implied, the main goal of social media networks for companies’ brands is to convert strangers into friends, friends into customers and customers into brand evangelists. For this reason, having social media platforms have become an excellent marketing tool for businesses. After all, as advertised by many popular social media networks, creating an account would not represent any investment since they are absolutely free of cost. However, it is worth mentioning that businesses can still find paid advertising within social media networks if they wish to.
Social Media Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is “any form of nonpersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor. Not only for profit organisations but also a wide range of notfor- profit organisations, professionals, and social agencies use advertising to promote their causes to various target publics” (Parment, Kotler, & Armstrong, 2016, p. 367). Colliander, & Dahlén (2011) indicate that paid publicity in social media networks are growing in investment over traditional advertising methods. Practically, the majority of social media platforms already incorporate formulas to effectively advertise on them. Furthermore, out of all digital marketing strategies, social media publicity (Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, etc) is the only one that allows to achieve results immediately (Colliander, & Dahlén, 2011). In Table 1, statistics can be appreciated from two major social media platforms that are popular around the world in order to understand their global coverage according to their users and the starting prizes that each of them have for paid advertisements.
In marketing, brand awareness refers to the strength with which any brand is present in a consumer’s mind (Pappu, Quester, & Cooksey, 2005); it occurs when there is an association between the brand and the type of product, where the potential consumer recognizes or associates the brand as a member of a certain product category. With that, awareness can be simply from brand recognition to brand recall or just a memory of the product; being dominant, if it’s the only brand remembered by the consumer (Hakala, Svensson & Vincze, 2012). Although many do not consider this concept as a source of brand value creation, Aaker (1992) states that many firms already see this dimension as important. Brand awareness has been studied extensively by many authors who recognize its benefits and repercussions for brands, focusing mainly on their measurement and taxonomy. However, there are different perspectives of this concept, but the ones that stand out the most are: its usefulness as an advertising approach (Miller & Berry, 1998), and its influence on consumer behavior (Ratneshwar & Shocker, 1991). The existence of a specific brand that offers specific kind of products and market audience must be aware of it is known as brand awareness (Kotler et al., 2005).
According to Jin & Villegas (2007), they define that brand and product have a link between them because it makes the consumer to get capacity of recognition or remembering a specific brand, only because of brand awareness that it is differentiated between a brand from others in the market. Furthermore, they talk about the importance of brand awareness in brand equity as it is an important component (Jin & Villegas, 2007). They stated further that purchasing intention and attitude towards brand is developed only through brand awareness (Aaker, 1991). Moreover, he discussed the factors that add awareness values in different ways that include establishing further linkage/ partnership, rapport building, dedication and brand to undertaker. All these factors add values when brand becomes top-of-mind among the customers (Gautam & Shrestha, 2018). In Figure 1, the factors that add value to brand awareness are illustrated.
Achieving Brand Awareness
Every business wants to reach to the higher brand recognition in the market. It is important to achieve awareness of the product and the link with the brand for its consumer market when the product is newly launched by the business (Kumar & Moller, 2018). There are many ways but according to Aaker (1991), he discussed many factors that can be helpful for a brand to achieve maximum brand awareness: The most important factor in achieving better awareness about the brand is to have a different and unique slogans that represent the brand and its image to the customers as it helps them to get a clear image of the brand instantly and identification whenever they find out or read it somewhere (Till, Baack & Waterman, 2011).
According to Aaker (1991) it is important to have product differentiation from the brand class as there can be the risk of similarity in the way of communication and product feature, to avoid such conditions, it has to be unique in order to remain in the mind of the customer and not forget about the brand. Furthermore, brand associations add valuable effect on brand value because it helps to identify the difference and meaning of brand image to its potential customer (Till, et al. 2011). A brand symbol helps its potential customers to recall or remain in their minds as they can memorize the visible design of the brand because logos show the link between brand and product as it plays a vital role in developing and maintaining brand awareness (MacInnis, Shapiro, & Mani, 1991). Moverover, the most convenient and effective way of enhancing and creating better brand awareness in the marketing to use the promotions and advertisement as it is one of the most important ways of getting awareness for a brand in the consumer market (Jalleh, Donovan, Giles- Corti & Holman, 2002). Promotional tools that organizations use to spread awareness about their brand can gain better publicity among the consumers, because advertising influence brand equity value in a positive way (Osman & Subhani, 2010).
Sponsorship in events is another helpful way to provide, create, increase, and maintain awareness about the brand; this is an efficient and less time-consuming way to spread the awareness in specific areas (Jalleh et al., 2002). Event sponsorship plays a vital role to enhance value in brand equity (Kim, 2010). Stegemann (2006) claims this is a useful technique in order to enhance brand awareness in the market by associating the same brand with other product lines as there can many manufacturing products by the same brand name and wide range of products in the market for customers. These changes in brand extension help brand growth rapidly in the market and gain competitive advantage in the consumer market (Stegemann, 2006). Unique and different packaging plays a significant role for a brand to create and show brand image in the mind of the consumers as well (Till et al. 2011). If there is a logo or wrap of the packaging missing that represents a specific brand’s name and the consumer notices it, means that the company’s brand name has greater awareness in the consumer market (Aaker,1991).
Philosophy of Research
“Business and management researchers should be in knowledge of the philosophical undertakings” (Johnson, 2006). Also, determining the philosophy of research has a considerable impact on the researcher’s actions and understandings of that which is being researched. (Johnson, 2006). On account of the non-physical nature of our topic which relates to brand awareness by using the intangible means of social media, this study is closely related to ontological idealism as compared to ontological materialism. Also, the researchers concede to the idea of interpretivism that humans consciously make choices.
The aim of this study is not to find a right or wrong answer, as there isn’t any; but to deeply understand the meaning of the context and see how it is interpreted by others. Therefore, this research study uses the hermeneutic approach since its purpose is to examine the further understanding of social life and the meaning of actions. Gillan (2008) notes that the hermeneutic approach is most appropriate for studies that focus on understanding the context of ideas thoroughly in actions of a group; such as in businesses. Basically, this approach is based on the meaning of humans’ beliefs and actions and the results because of it (Atkins, 1988), which is more related with our research topic; the interviews we conduct give us an explanation as to why these business owners make the decisions they do and how it has worked out for them.
As per Andreewsky & Bourcier, (2000), there are three unique strategies that can be adopted to achieve the desired purpose of research: 1) Deductive approach, in which the research goes from the “general law to a specific case with the intention to test the developed theories”. 2) Inductive Approach, which is the antithesis of deductive approach and it proceeds from facts towards theories. 3) An abductive approach, which using which a suitable hypothesis is reached in order to be matched against a phenomenon. This study uses an inductive approach in order to reach its intended goal by combining our findings in order to obtain a conclusion.
Table of contents :
1.4 Limitation, Research Questions, and Aim
2. Literature Review
2.1 Social Media Marketing
2.1.1 Social Media Usage
2.1.2 Social Media Paid Advertising
2.2.1 Brand Awareness
2.2.2 Achieving Brand Awareness
2.2.3 Measuring Brand Awareness
2.3 Small Businesses
2.3.1 Family Business
2.4 Summary of the Theoretical Background
3.1 Philosophy of Research
3.2 Scientific Approach
3.3 Research Strategy
3.5 Process of Selecting Articles
3.7 Selection of Respondents
3.8 Presentation of Respondents
3.10 Quality Criteria
4. Empirical Findings
4.1 Nature of Small Businesses & their Identification
4.2 Role of Marketing on Enhancing Brand Awareness
4.3 Influence of Social Media between Business and Customers
5.1 Nature of Small Businesses & their Identification
5.2 Role of Marketing on Enhancing Brand Awareness
5.3 Influence of Social Media between Business and Customers
6.1 Answering Research Questions
6.2 Contribution to the Field of Research
6.2.1 Theoretical contribution
6.2.2 Practical Implication
6.4 Suggestions for Further Research