A proposal investigating advantages and disadvantages of using the social network in business

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Introduction 

In today’s competitive era, it is necessary for every organization to develop contacts, enhance their client base and build relationships with different stakeholders with the aim of enhancing and expanding business in order to attain the set goals and objectives in an effective manner (Aral et al. 2013). For this, social networking and its associated services play an important role by verifying and developing online business and social connections for the people sharing common activities and interests. In addition to this, such networking helps in facilitating the interface and interactions among people irrespective of any place or location. 

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Social Networking is considered the fastest growing way of managing and expanding the different types of businesses by developing social connections with people with the help of different social media modes like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and many more (Alexander 2014). The following assignment is presented in the form of a research proposal through which the advantages and disadvantages of social network in business are presented through the literature review section. Along with this, the project objective, scope, research methodologies, limitations and time schedule is presented and discussed as per the need of the research topic.

Project objective 

For the purpose of conducting the research effectively, it is imperative to elucidate the purpose and objective of the research and hence the aims and objectives of the research proposal are stated below:

Project Aim

The main aim of this research proposal is “To identify and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of using the social networks in different businesses”.

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Project Objectives

Based on the research aim, research objectives for the proposed research are stated below:

  1. To analyse and identify the advantages and benefits of using social networking in different businesses.
  2. To identify and recognise the disadvantages and challenges of using the social networks in different businesses.
  3. To assess the measures taken to overcome or mitigate such challenges (Batjargal et al. 2013).

Project scope 

This research proposal would entirely focus on explaining and analysing the advantages and disadvantages associated with the use of social networks in different businesses. It would also evaluate the challenges of using social networks in business and effective measures taken for overcoming such challenges and therefore the scope of the research is justified (Burt 2013). In addition to this, it would give enough opportunity and scope to future researchers to conduct explicit and in-depth research on this topic with the help of this research proposal.

  • Literature review 

4.1 Concept of social networking

According to Zagila (2013), social media is gaining popularity in each and every sector. It is seen that social media has made its presence in almost every sector, thus making communication an easy and fast process. With the help of social networking, people can communicate with each other and can share similar interests and opinions on various social networking sites and applications. Thus, it is seen that social networking refers to the use of internet service based websites and applications that enables its users to share a connection by way of social interaction and communication among a large group of people. There are a number of social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn which make social networking happen. Social networking is used for different purposes; one among them is business purposes. With the advent of globalised and digitalized world, businesses, irrespective of their size, remain active on social networking sites in order to expand their business and to offer tough competition to their competitors. For the efficient conduct of business, social networking has become one of the most basic requirements (Jussi et al. 2014). The increase in the potential of the internet has to led to an expansion in the business and marketing phenomenon which all the businesses have to adhere to in order to survive in the long run. Business organizations need to maintain social relations with their customers to promote and expand the business along with creation of a positive image in the minds of customers by constantly updating them.

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4.2 Advantages of Social networking in Business

Scott (2017) stated that social networking is a powerful medium for businesses to expand and promote their business in the most efficient way. It offers several benefits to businesses irrespective of their size to help them flourish their business. The presence of organizations on social network platforms itself suggests the need for these organizations to keep themselves updated according to the changing times. Gaining customer insights is one of the advantages of the use of social networks in the business field as it helps the organizations to collect huge amounts of data regarding customer views, purchasing power, buying pattern and valuable customer feedback which acts as the basis of development of marketing strategies that help the organizations to make their product offering and service a more memorable one (Leonard et al. 2013). Another advantage offered by social networking includes increasing the customer base of the company by gaining the attention of the larger audience. The loopholes of traditional marketing methods are very well covered in social networking as it targets the larger audience having similar interests. 

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In the view of Serrat (2017) with the introduction of social networking sites like Amazon, there has been a transition in the shopping experience of customers from brick to mortar structures to click and portal which has provided an added advantage to customers in terms of variety of product offerings coupled with less time consumption and efforts. Business promotion remains one of the major advantages of using the social network in the field of business. Social platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter has allowed the suppliers as well as customers to create an online community to discuss the products and services offered by the organization and to present opinions and feedback of those particular goods and services by the customers. It helps in promoting the business and in creating an image in the minds of prospective customers.

4.3 Disadvantages of the use of social networks in business

In the perspective of Zagila (2013) social networking can act as a boon and a bane if not used properly for the business. The use of social networking in business can have a negative influence as it poses some cyber-related threats as well as need for constant updating. One of the major drawbacks of using social networking for the promotion and expansion of business includes the need for constant monitoring. In order to make a presence in the social network field, organizations have to constantly monitor their sites and applications to ensure the business is going well or not. They need to check the product offerings, ratings and comments from customers as well as the performance of competitors on a daily basis so as to promote and expand business by regularly posting comments, and updating the information. Apart from this, the increasing cyber crimes and threats in web based applications have resulted in negative image of the organizations in the minds of public by the use of abusive language. Data loss and data theft also act in the negative interest of the organizations as the data can be easily used by the competitors which prove to be a major disadvantage to the organizations.

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As per Treem and Leonard (2015) many social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube have become the main platform for negative influence and publicity of the organizations which makes a huge impact on their reputation and brand image. This was seen in the case of Alibaba Company wherein the users posted millions of negative and abusive comments for the company as a result of site crash. Apart from this, in order to make most out of social media marketing, there is a need to constantly update the new features of web based applications and social networking sites.

4.4 Measures to overcome the drawbacks of social networking in business

In the view of Serrat (2017) the challenges and loopholes of using social network in the business world creates a need to adopt some measures to overcome these challenges. The drawback of constantly monitoring of social networking sites can be made easy by appointing a separate team consisting of 2 or more individuals who need to focus on just monitoring these sites and provide information to the customers as well as replying promptly on customer queries. The same measure can be implemented to solve the problem of negative influence and publicity (Zagila 2013). The constant monitoring of the sites provides the company an added advantage of knowing about the negative feedback and at the same time helps the company to address the grievances of the angry customers by either solving the issue or providing prompt replies to the customers in the most courteous way. Another drawback of cybercrimes and threats can be overpowered by managing password security and ensuring the employees abide by the rules of password security by making them sign an agreement that binds them to change passwords. Thus, it is seen that it is very important for business organizations to overcome the challenges of using social networking in business by adopting measures that prove to be beneficial to the organizations to survive in the long run.

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  • The hypothesis of the Research Proposal

The hypothesis of the research is an assumption statement that emphasizes practical characteristics and aspects rather than focusing on theoretical terms. In order to conduct the research in an efficient manner, the hypothesis of research helps in collecting precise information and focuses on the outcome of the research. Along with this, it helps in evaluating and analysing the two mutually exclusive statements in relation to the specific population and thus identifies which statement is better preferred and supported by the sample data.

A research hypothesis needs to be formulated for the purpose of carrying out the research outcomes in an efficient manner. Research hypotheses are of two types namely alternate hypothesis and the null hypothesis (Dijkmans et al. 2015). Through hypothesis formulation, the results of the research are contemplated. In context to this research proposal, the hypothesis is framed in an effective manner which is stated below:

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Ho: There are no advantages and challenges involved in using social networking and its associated services for different businesses.

H1: There are advantages and challenges involved in using social networking and its associated services for different businesses.

  • Research Design and Methodology

It is imperative that research methodology should be in accordance with the outcomes of the research proposal, which would help in conducting the research effectively. Through this, section different research methods are presented so as to ensure that research will be conducted accurately and successfully.

6.1 Research Philosophy 

Research philosophy can be divided into two types of philosophy i.e. positivism philosophy and Interpretivism philosophy. Based on the requirements of the research proposal, the positivism research philosophy will be selected so that the pertinent information can be gathered and defined in quantifiable terms (Ellison et al. 2014). Data being collected would be helpful in clarifying and fulfilling the research aims and objectives of analysing and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of using social networking services for different businesses.

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6.2 Research Design

Research design can be categorised into three parts namely descriptive, diagnostic and exploratory research design. The exploratory research design will be selected for this research proposal as such design would be helpful for providing in-depth and accurate information about the research problem and thus results in scrutinizing the problem so as to reveal new facts and findings with regard to the research study (Fan and Gordon 2014).

6.3 Research Approach

There are two types of ‘Research Approaches’ namely deductive and inductive. In context to this research pa proposal, a deductive research approach will be taken into consideration as through such approach pertinent information about the benefits and challenges of social networking services will be gathered (Jussila et al. 2014). A theoretical framework will be established and several concepts and theories will be considered for the purpose of identifying the specific and exact research problem.

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6.4 Research Methodology and Sampling Technique

Based on the needs of the research proposal, quantitative research methodology will be selected through which projected objectives will be measured and analysed statistically. Data can be either primary or secondary in nature. Further, in order to give strength and a strong base to the research proposal, a combination of primary data along with secondary data will be used for this research study (Kasemsap 2014). Through the primary data collection method, relevant data and information will be gathered through the survey questionnaire method wherein 20 questions will be framed in context to analyse the advantages and challenges of social networking services faced by different business firms. The sample size will be chosen from the entire population consisting of  15 senior executives of different business firms who will be taking part in a survey and the sampling technique which will be effective for this research study for selecting the senior executives of different business firms would be non-random sampling technique. Moreover, to certify the validity and reliability of the survey method, a pilot testing method will be used through which a survey questionnaire will be distributed among family members and friends (Leonardi et al. 2013). Through the secondary method of data collection, the data will be gathered from several sources like journals, books, online portals and will be obtainable in the form of a detailed literature review section which would give foundational importance to the primary data being gathered.

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6.5 Data Analysis Methods 

In order to analyse the data collected, through SPSS software statistical inferences and propositions will be made and then such inferences will be presented in the form of tables, charts and diagrams and thus the assessment level of data being collected will be reflected in a systematic manner (Rodriguez et al. 2015).

  • Research Limitations

 Every research comprises some limitations but at the same time, it is important to reduce the scope of such limitations by implementing effective measures through the research process. In context to this research proposal, survey questionnaire method will be used for gaining pertinent information from the respondents and hence there may be chances of ineffective response or hesitation on the part of respondents to give unbiased opinions which would raise questions on the accuracy and validity of data (Okazaki and Taylor 2013). Although significant consideration will be given to such issues in order to make this research proposal effective and reliable.

  • Time schedule (Research Plan)

With the aim of executing all research activities in a systematic manner, it is necessary to prepare a time schedule/ research plan and distribute the time for each and every research activity. The time within which the entire research would be completed is of 10 months starting from October 17 to August 2018 (Paniagua and Sapena 2014). The allocated timeframe for each and every research chapter and activity is presented in the form of a Gantt chart through which the amount of work completed in a certain time period will be reflected.

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Activity/Time Oct

17

Nov

17

Dec

17

Jan 18 Feb 18 Mar 18 Apr 18 May 18 June 18 July

18

Formulation of project aims, objectives and project hypothesis 
Literature review and Secondary Data Collection 
Research Methodology
Survey conduct
Analysis and finding of the data
Conclusion and recommendations

 Conclusion 

On the basis of the above research study being conducted, it is concluded that such a research proposal will act as an outstanding base for the entire research study as through this research proposal,  all research chapters and activities are organised and arranged systematically. Further, with the help of the Gantt chart, a specific time period is given to the research activity through which effective results in context to the research topic will be generated within a stipulated time. Through this research proposal, the anticipated conclusion will be drawn that the use of social networking services will be beneficial for different businesses and along with this business using such services are recommended to focus on evaluating the measures for overcoming such challenges.

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  • References 

Alexander, D.E., 2014. Social media in disaster risk reduction and crisis management. Science and Engineering Ethics, 20(3), pp.717-733.

Aral, S., Dellarocas, C. and Godes, D., 2013. Introduction to the special issue—social media and business transformation: a framework for research. Information Systems Research, 24(1), pp.3-13.

Batjargal, B., Hitt, M.A., Tsui, A.S., Arregle, J.L., Webb, J.W. and Miller, T.L., 2013. Institutional polycentrism, entrepreneurs’ social networks, and new venture growth. Academy of Management Journal, 56(4), pp.1024-1049.

Burt, R.S., Kilduff, M. and Tasselli, S., 2013. Social network analysis: Foundations and frontiers on advantage. Annual review of psychology, 64, pp.527-547.

Dijkmans, C., Kerkhof, P. and Beukeboom, C.J., 2015. A stage to engage: Social media use and corporate reputation. Tourism Management, 47, pp.58-67.

Ellison, N.B., Vitak, J., Gray, R. and Lampe, C., 2014. Cultivating social resources on social network sites: Facebook relationship maintenance behaviours and their role in social capital processes. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 19(4), pp.855-870.

Fan, W. and Gordon, M.D., 2014. The power of social media analytics. Communications of the ACM, 57(6), pp.74-81.

Jussila, J.J., Kärkkäinen, H. and Aramo-Immonen, H., 2014. Social media utilization in business-to-business relationships of technology industry firms. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, pp.606-613.

Kasemsap, K., 2014. The role of social networking in global business environments. Impact of emerging digital technologies on leadership in global business, pp.183-201.

Leonardi, P.M., Huysman, M. and Steinfield, C., 2013. Enterprise social media: Definition, history, and prospects for the study of social technologies in organizations. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 19(1), pp.1-19.

Okazaki, S. and Taylor, C.R., 2013. Social media and international advertising: theoretical challenges and future directions. The international marketing review, 30(1), pp.56-71.

Paniagua, J. and Sapena, J., 2014. Business performance and social media: Love or hate?. Business Horizons, 57(6), pp.719-728.

Rodriguez, M., Peterson, R.M. and Ajjan, H., 2015. CRM/social media technology: impact on customer orientation process and organizational sales performance. In Ideas in Marketing: Finding the New and Polishing the Old (pp. 636-638). Springer, Cham.

Scott, J., 2017. Social network analysis. Sage.

Serrat, O., 2017. Social network analysis. In Knowledge solutions (pp. 39-43). Springer Singapore.

Trainor, K.J., Andzulis, J.M., Rapp, A. and Agnihotri, R., 2014. Social media technology usage and customer relationship performance: A capabilities-based examination of social CRM. Journal of Business Research, 67(6), pp.1201-1208.

Treem, J.W. and Leonardi, P.M., 2013. Social media use in organizations: Exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association. Annals of the International Communication Association, 36(1), pp.143-189.

Zaglia, M.E., 2013. Brand communities embedded in social networks. Journal of business research, 66(2), pp.216-223.

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