Patrick McGrathThe Impact of Social Media Marketing in Small toMedium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
Challenges facing SMEs• Vulnerability due to their lack of growth potential.• Lack of resources due to financial constraints.• Dependency on a small domestic market.• Lack of experienced staff.• Fewer orders, fewer customers and fewer employees than large companies.• Managers of small businesses tend to be generalists rather than specialists.
Introduction to SMEs and Social Media Marketing• SMEs are drivers of economic growth, innovation leaders and large scale employers.• They are more diverse, specific, personal and independent than larger organisations.• In times gone by they have been unable to compete with larger companies when it comes to marketing their products and services.• The Internet and social media has alleviated this problem due its low cost, widespread use and reach.• SMEs are currently marketing their products but they need to interact more with customers online (observe, study and participate).
What Social Media Marketing Brings to the Table• Enables the marketer to interact with each client individually.• There is opportunity for two-way communication.• Products and services can be customised to suit the needs of each individual.• Products can be bought and discussed online.• Saves SMEs the costs associated with focus groups, surveys and interviews and enables them to generate valuable information on a global scale.
Web 2.0 Technologies• Facebook – 500 million active users discussing products and services.• Twitter – 45 million users thirty three percent of Twitter users share views about products or services at least once a week with many of them making recommendations• Online Communities where people reach out and share experiences with one another about a product or service. Many organisations join or set up an online community to interact on a personal level with customers to cater to their specific needs as online information tends to be more revealing.
How to attract customers through Social Media Marketing• Make sure your web-site or Facebook page captures your target audience.• Get them to keep coming back for more by keeping news and information as up to date as possible, engaging and dynamic.• Provide incentives to participate in this online forum such as giveaways, events and entertainment.
Social Media Marketing Driving Innovation in SMEs through the development of tribesInteracting with Clients through Social Media has enable SMEs to:-• Creating or re-engineer products or services to meet new market demands.• Introduce new organisational approaches to enhance productivity.• Develop techniques to increase sales.
Methodology• Netnography – online community observation, chat, analysis of data from a personal business perspective.• Interviews – get the views of consumers of social media as a marketing tool.• Facebook - join his page in the hope of obtaining information that he can use to further market his business.
Findings from online communities• The importance of getting into the zone in tennis.• Tennis needs to be fun or people will stop playing.• Tennis needs to be promoted as a sport for life.• It is better to get young children to work as a team rather than individually.• Children should be rewarded by the amount of matches they play rather then whether then win or lose.• Educating parents that pushing their child with not make them a better tennis player.
Findings from Interviews• Fear of growth (providing a less personalised service).• Need to manage customer relationships in order to keep close ties with current clients.• Social media marketing empowered them to be proactive giving them an opportunity to change the way businesses operated by posting on their online forums.• Importance of having a Facebook page.
Facebook Page• Build stronger relationships with current clients through online feedback.• Promote tennis initiatives such as Cardio Tennis, Play and Stay and Schools Tennis.• Communicating promotions, events and competitions.• Provide links to sites that would be of interest to clients.• Post tennis videos, advice on tennis goods and updates on tennis players.
Recommendations• Encourage participants to help one another to do things better (teamwork).• Learn to rest, recover and relax (balance).• Wilson nights, parent child nights, teenager nights, ladies mornings, tennis camps, friendly matches against other clubs.• Promotions – rewards system, specific stroke night, ITN assessment, doubles night, cardio tennis, business cards, special offers.
Limitations• Online community not very active and got corrupt.• Time constraints.• Lack of knowledge by the researcher in the area of Social Media Marketing.• Intercultural communication.