The onset of the 21st century brought about increased integration of digital technology in businesses around the world. This extraordinary development has changed industries worldwide and created more entrepreneurs, investors and business altogether in a short amount of time. Rapid digital technological advancements and the increasing accessibility of the internet to the critical mass has revolutionized businesses. As a matter of fact, it has become important for businesses to recognize the significance of incorporating digital technology and the internet in their marketing plan or simply adopting electronic marketing (e-marketing). E-marketing is the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), computer networks, and the internet in marketing activities (El-Gohary, 2010).
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is an e- marketing strategy which involves utilizing social media platforms and websites to advance marketing efforts (Dehkordi, et al., 2012). According to (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010), social media is defined as “ a group of applications based on the internet that build on technological and ideological foundations of web 2.0 and allow the creation and exchange of content generated by users”. This study provides a brief background on social media marketing, delineating how it may enhance market growth in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with the theme being based on Finders Keepers Zambia. The study further assess how social media marketing could improve sustainable competitive advantage, business performance and profitability with regard to market growth in SMEs.
Background of the Study
Finders Keepers Zambia is an independent clothing shop which started in 2017 and is located in Lusaka, Zambia. It is a for-profit SME that sells both contemporary and vintage second-hand clothing. In Zambia, shopping from second-hand clothing outlets was previously considered to be for the frugal and less fortunate members of society. This is because second-hand apparel is cheap, from stalls located in local markets and run by sellers who are not formalized. Finders Keepers Zambia has taken advantage of the internet to establish a formalized version of this business model and created a ‘Click and Mortar’ store.
Social media has become more popular and accessible over the past decade which has created possibility for the businesses to reach the market, interact with consumers and create relationships with them. The rise of social media use has rapidly created more online stores, click and mortar stores, and has transformed traditional brick and mortar stores into click and mortar stores because (Dehkordi, et al., 2012). Unfortunately, the majority of the businesses that have capitalized on online presence are large corporation, however, this does not indicate that it is impossible for SMEs to take advantage of social media to boost market growth. humbleness
It is challenging for most SMEs to thrive and maintain being sustainable because they often lack the resources of their larger, already established competitors. It is essential that SMEs have a marketing plan to administer the marketing function of the business in order to cement their place on the market and acquire market share. Social media marketing is a fairly new concept of marketing making it difficult for businesses, particularly new and small businesses, to know how to navigate it. Businesses have to create a social media marketing plan which is to be part of the overall organizational marketing plan. This research seeks to determine the relationship between social media marketing and market growth, attempting to understand the best ways for SMEs to exploit social media marketing.
Justification for the Research
The significance of this study is to assess the implications of social media marketing on SME market growth in Zambia. The outcomes of this study provide insight on the different strategies SMEs owners and managers utilize to acquire potential consumers, connect with them and develop long-term customer relationships via social media marketing. The study will further provide preliminary understanding on how SMEs can use social media marketing to gain competitive advantage, optimize business performance and compel profitability. Additionally, the outcomes of this study will highlight the benefits of employing social media marketing in SMEs.
Research Aim, Question and Objectives
The study undertakes the following:
The study aims to improve the understanding of how social media marketing can be integrated and utilized in SMEs for the promotion of market growth. The theme of the study is based on SMEs in Zambia using Finders Keepers Zambia to illustrate relationship between social media marketing and market growth.
- To establish the profitability of social media marketing in SMEs.
- To identify the benefits of social media marketing for SMEs.
- To determine how SMEs can exploit social media marketing to boost competitive advantage.
- To establish how social media can be used to optimize business performance.
- Is social media marketing profitable for SMEs?
- What are the benefits of social media marketing for SMEs?
- How can SMEs exploit social media marketing to boost competitive advantage?
- How can social media be used to optimize business performance?
- H₀: Social media marketing can promote market growth in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
- H₁: Social media marketing cannot promote market growth in Small and Medium Enterprises.
This study is based on the H₀ (null) hypothesis.
This research focuses on the on effect social media marketing has on market growth. It was conducted in order to assess how SMEs can leverage social media marketing to enhance market growth. The study makes use of at data from Finders Keepers Zambia and any other available data which proved to be authentic and significant to the study taking into account the time frame from 2005 to 2020.
This study intends to improve the existing knowledge base, as well as, attempt to provide a platform for further research on the relationship between social media marketing and market growth in SMEs. Additionally, the outcomes of this study will aid SMEs in Zambia by guiding them on the best strategies to implement to exploit social media marketing for market growth.
The research design applied to this study is explanatory. It will encompass assessing and reviewing information to determine the impact that social media marketing has on market growth in SMEs. The study will mutually utilize research techniques which are qualitative and quantitative.
Research Approach and Method
The research will have an inductive approach making use the existing knowledge. The study will comprise of information collected between 2005 and 2020. If need be information dated earlier than 2005 is used it will be intended for the background of the study. The study will utilize a combination of qualitative and quantitative data ensuring that non-statistical and statistical data is conjointly employed to support the research findings and final outcomes of the study.
Data Collection and Analysis Techniques
The study will make use of both quantitative and qualitative data collection instruments such as questionnaires and interviews respectively, to collect the necessary information, for the purpose of determining solutions for the research questions of the study. The study will also make use of information generated directly from Finders Keepers Zambia. The data collected will be assessed in an explanatory nature as the information required to establish the interaction among the variables of the study are centered on social media marketing and market growth. The data collected will be summarized and illustrated in graphical and tabular figures when necessitated
This study consists of five chapters that are centered on the research topic.
Chapter one serves as the introductory chapter preluding the entire study, introducing the relationship between social media marketing and market growth in addition to presenting the background of the study. The chapter further presents the research aim, objectives, and questions. The justification of the study and the problem statement are also exhibited in this chapter.
Chapter two reviews the literary works and any other relevant literature that has preceded this study on assessing social media marketing and market growth. The chapter consequently provides gaps realized in the aforementioned literature. The chapter is reliant on secondary data.
Chapter three focuses on the methodology of the research, therefore giving an account of the research design, research methods and strategies the researcher applied in the study. The chapter further discusses data analysis approaches, sampling techniques applied, as well the selected sample size.
Chapter four confers and analyses the findings of the study to deduce results. Graphical illustrations such as graphs, charts and tables are then used to present the deduced results. Additionally, the chapter provided feedback from data collected in previous chapters to respond to the research questions.
Chapter five concludes the study giving conclusive details and recommendations for future research based on the findings in the study. Additionally, chapter five outlines the implications and the limitations of the study.