Social Media for Small & Medium-Scale Enterprises

Abstract

Generally, the media has persistently provided a rich niche for marketing initiatives (OECD 2002, pp. 56). This applies to small and medium-scale enterprises. The present infiltration of various forms of media advertising including the print media, internet, television, radio, and other sophisticated forms has a significant impact on the SMEs (Richardson, Gosnay & Carroll 2010, p. 75).

Theoretical Framework

While executing this study, it will be crucial to observe existing theories concerning this topic. The theoretical framework for this investigation provides a clear empirical model of examination and analysis of basic elements and factors. As stated in various sources, it is important to note that a significant correlation exists between social media and SMEs in diverse realms. Notably, two major models of assumptions are presently eminent in the conduct of empirical and business investigations. In the theoretical framework of this investigation, it is evident that positivist and phenomenological models are applied to analyze basic concepts (Thomas & Barlow 2011, p. 8). Critically, these frameworks apply to the concepts of induction and deduction. However, it is crucial to note that the investigation is set to assume the phenomenological approach because it is largely qualitative and supports the exploratory concentration of the research (Bryman & Bell 2007, p. 109).

Research Questions

About the research questions, it is vital to indicate that the investigation intends to answer diverse and critical questions regarding SMEs. Foremost, it intends to investigate how an SME endowed with minimal resources engages social media to enhance both its financial and non-financial values. There is also an investigation on the examples of SME business approaches that apply social media. Lastly, the research intends to investigate whether successful business approaches or models in SMEs rely on an enterprise lifecycle, a given kind of enterprise, or the presence of resources.

Research Objectives

The basic objective (for the thesis) was to conduct investigative research regarding the application of social media within SMEs. There is a degree of distinction in the principal objective of the thesis target. For example, it aims to essentially comprehend the features, definitions, and broad SME business profiles. It also intends to comprehend the features, definitions, uses, merits, and setbacks within social media. Additionally, it aims to examine the monetary and non-fiscal value implications within the SME business’ plans and essentially understand them. Finally, it aims to analyze the SME life process regarding the social media manipulation eminent on every stage.

Methodology and Methods, and Results

This research will involve the application of a mixed-method system. There is set to be a longitudinal case investigation within chosen organizations. Additionally, this is to be reinforced by varied cross-sectional case investigations. It is also critical that for the study to attain a higher depth of results, the application of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires on the chosen organizations will be executed. Consequently, there will be data analysis of the facts drawn from the selected organizations, and various discussions will ensue based on the analysis. Results will be critically developed, arranged, and communicated coherently to all the interested parties.

Necessary Changes on the Research

The researcher is yet to develop an expanded and comprehensive literature review for the proposed research. It is critical to observe that such an initiative will involve the utilization of sufficient knowledge gained from personal readings. The proposed methodologies for the research should be actively reviewed and appropriately improved to fit into an academic and empirically grounded research work (Sekaran & Bougie 2009, p. 17). The general research outlook is to be expanded and more empirical suggestions and arguments incorporated into the research. There will be an inclusion of a more scientific explanation of sampling criteria, calculation of the sample size as well as the basic methods for data collection. The research is also to embody the definition of various ethical as well as legal issues that may be of concern. Redefinition of the research objectives as well as research questions may be necessary. This is particularly due to the notable changes to be conducted in the methodology section. Even the sample size has to be redefined in this regard.

Time Table for the Remainder of the Research Program

YEAR ACTIVITY
June –December 2012 Completion of the remaining two meetings with the supervisor within the year.
The student will endeavor to be able to understand and analytically examine basic research findings.
Understanding of the basic methodologies applicable in various studies and general design of studies.
Development of an appropriate literature review of the thesis with help from the supervisor.
Year 2013 The development of a fully-fledged proposal for the Ph.D. thesis. Endeavoring to complete the eight meetings with the supervisor within the year.
Discussions and refining of the basic elements and areas within the proposal with assistance from the supervisor.
Year 2014 Attaining the 8 annual meetings with the supervisor.
Development of the data collection tools and pre-testing them.
Development of other necessary filed accompaniments including introductory letters.
Identification of control sites or zones and undertaking of the pilot studies.
Presentation and defense of the proposal to the faculty.
Discussion of data collection tools according to the pilot study experiences and undertaking necessary adjustments.
Compilation and presentation of the proposal to the faculty.
Year 2015 The data collection process begins.
Data entry, analysis, and report drafting
Compilation of the report and presentation and defense of the results to the faculty.

Key Milestones

Observably, I have achieved considerably a lot since the beginning of this noble program. The development of my critical mental capacity on several issues concerning academic research has given me a competitive edge towards attaining my Ph.D. I have been able to successfully hold meetings with my supervisor and initiate a good working relationship. Apart from these, I have learned analytical skills in research from the supervisor as well as through my additional private studies.

The Student Annual Report Form

Observations of Research Progress

I have gained considerable knowledge and critical skills in enhancing my research competencies. To begin with, I have remarkable exposure from some journals as well as articles dealing with social media. Furthermore, my meetings with the personal supervisor (6 occasions so far) have been so far well above average relative to the number of meetings that are formally required by the faculty within the yearly period. I have been able to meet my supervisor six times. I have been briefed on my basic responsibilities as well as those of my supervisor, agreed on communication language, the durations of meeting as well as the feedback modes. I have learned about the general research skills and disparities between academic as well as non-academic research through personal reading. I have also developed critical research skills including the evaluation of research outcomes and understanding of the diverse research methodologies applicable in different studies. Additionally, I have received academic advice on the development of literature reviews as well as in the design of different kinds of research. I still hope to learn more and initiate my thesis preliminaries as this year closes in.

Objectives Achieved

In my early stages of Ph.D. studies, I have come across and read certain journals as well as articles that argue on social media. Additionally, I have successfully managed to meet my supervisors six times by the mid-year. Through the first meeting, I have been able to establish a good relationship and working atmosphere with my supervisor. Consequently, the supervisor has potentially assisted me in understanding basic concepts of research. I have been able to note the dissimilarities between the non-academic as well as academic research. Moreover, I have particularly learned and practiced how to retrieve articles discussing the relevant topics of social media that are applicable in my intended research work.

Target Objectives

My foremost important objective is to utilize the necessary support structures and put maximum effort to complete my Ph.D. program within the stipulated. I intend to base my research on social media and its interaction with small and medium-scale enterprises. My intended thesis is to bear the topic, “An exploratory study of the influence of Social Media on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.” In the short term, I have an objective to be able to comprehend and analytically examine research findings. I also intend to develop a thorough understanding of various research methodologies applicable in diverse study papers.

References

Bryman, A & Bell, E 2007, Business research methods, Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, UK.

OECD 2002, OECD small and medium enterprise outlook, OECD Publications, Paris, France.

Richardson, N., Gosnay, R & Carroll, A 2010, A quick start guide to social media marketing high impact low-cost marketing that works, Kogan Page, London, UK.

Sekaran, U & Bougie, J 2009, Research methods for business: a skill-building approach, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.

Thomas, D & Barlow, M 2011, The executive’s guide to enterprise social media strategy: how social networks are radically transforming your business, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.