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The main purpose of this study is to identify and assess the advantages and disadvantages of using social media in business with the focus are on the Australian Fashion brand Country Road as its backend. Country Road Limited is basically an Australian fashion organization which has its operations in Europe, US and also in Asia. The organization has been using the strategy of adopting social media in business in order to communicate and reach millions of customers for the development of huge customer base and this will eventually help in the expansion of their business (Okazaki and Taylor, 2013). This helps in gaining a competitive advantage over the other fashion companies operating in Australia and for gaining high-profit margin.
The target market for this organization has been the youth mainly the students, small children both boys and child of having a high-income level which has been buying the clothes or the accessories of a premium price. The product line which the organization has it is basically the clothes, accessories, jewelry, shoes, bathroom fittings, kitchen items, and the household items. The organization has adopted marketing as well the sustainable business strategy of developing social media networks and using it in order to market their products and services they provide and also for communicating and connecting with the suppliers, business partners, customers and also the other stakeholders involved with this organization. The social media networks in business have a strong effect on the operations of the organization on a positive note. The social media application in business helps in enhancing the overall performance of the company as well.
The objectives of this business research have been given below
The project scope is widely open and it covers different aspects of the social networks in business. The study has been dealing with the technical functionalities and the application of different social media platforms. It has been used for expanding the business in a proper way. This way they could be able to enhance their performance in a major way (Okazaki and Taylor, 2013). The research should also be conducted with the development of the digital media and social media. Hence, the organization should be making their business of online selling and buying of the products and obtaining the responses from the customers. The study should also be covering up the negative and positive impacts of using social media networks in business. Thus, the company should be sharing information and communicate in a proper way with the different stakeholders involved in Country Road.
It has been quite evident from the past researches and studies that the social media or networks play a significant role towards increasing the profitability and growth of the organizations trading on an international scale. According to Smith and Zook (2012), the challenges faced by the organizations on account of traditional marketing techniques have been widely mitigated by the evolution of social media platforms. He opined that social media offers a wide range of benefits to the organizations in terms of promotion, distribution, and awareness of the products and services of the organizations to their customers.
According to Sashi (2012), the most important benefit that social media offers is effective communication between the customers and the companies. The companies are able to convey the keys messages like their mission, vision, and objectives of the company to the population at large or in the markets of their operation. The companies also take advantage of social media to communicate effectively with their business partners. The promotional networks help in the promotion of the products and services of the company and providing efficient and required information about the products and services to the potential customers. the companies are able to rate as well as provide their opinion about the products and services of the company which helps the management of the company to modify the products and services to enhance the level of satisfaction among the customers.
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Another advantage of social media offered to the organizations as opined by Okazaki and Taylor (2013) is in reaching a large number of customers within a short span of time. The companies now a day operate internally crossing the local and national boundaries and intruding into the new international markets. It is important for the companies to make sure that all the individuals of a country are at least aware of the products and services offered by the companies. Woodcock et al. (2011) opined that social media helps in making people worldwide to be aware of products and services sold by the companies. As the use of social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. have immensely increased by the people across the globe, advertisements by the companies over this networks help in attracting the attention of more and more customers towards the company.
According to Baruah (2012), the expansion of the businesses across the globe has been increasingly leveraged by the use of social media platforms by the companies. The companies do not have to bear the expense of putting up banners, hoardings, or use print media to make the people aware of the products and services of the company. They can easily make use of the social to get an idea of the needs and demands of the potential customers in the new market from the reviews and opinions provided by them on the social media platforms.
Along with the advantages of the application of social media in business has various drawbacks as well. The most dangerous threat posed by the use of social media is the cyber-attacks or cyber terrorism. Woodcock et al (2011) opined that the companies share their ideas over the social media platforms regarding the new products and service launches. These strategic tactics are vital information for any company. As the information is shared on social media platforms it attracts unauthorized personnel to hack the data while the information is transferred from the sender to the receiver. The unauthorized personnel like the rival companies can hack the strategic information of the company and implement them in their business to ensure profitability and development.
As opined by Kietzmannet. al (2012)use of social media also imparts a threat of increasing the cost to the company. The companies try to develop attractive network pages which are highly designed. This involves a lot of expenditure of the company towards the development of the network pages as well as maintaining it.
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It’s important to notify the fact that the research gap has been identified in order to analyze and evaluate the quality of the research to be conducted in a proper way. According to Okazaki and Taylor, (2013) social networking sites has been applied for enhancing the flexibility and the performance of the business. On the other hand, some of the researchers have been using the social networking sites as the marketing tool for the promotion of the products and attraction of the customers towards the products and services given by Country Road located in Australia.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social networks in business?
Steps of Qualitative research
It is important that the qualitative data is the textual data which is useful for taking the ideas and information from the attitudes and the behavior of the humans. After the ideas and information have been gathered there should be the development of the hypothesis or the research questions on which the formulation of the research has been based on. After that, there should be the proper analysis of the knowledge and the information gathered of how the social media has been proved to be useful and it will be showing the negative aspects of using social media networks in business for the company under consideration. So these are the steps to be followed while taking the quantitative approach for the study.
Data Collection method
There have been two different ways of collecting data from the research study to be conducted in a proper manner. It should be involving the primary and the secondary data collection method. It is said that for the qualitative approach to be taken under consideration there should be the gathering of the secondary information to be taken from the secondary sources (Okazaki and Taylor, 2013). The secondary sources from where the secondary data to be collected are basically from the journals based on the application of social networks in business and its different positive and negative aspects. There should be the collection of secondary data also from the articles related to the social media networks in business. Secondary websites will be used from where the information and data t be collected for the application of using social networks in business. A collection of internet published data will also be used on the usage of social networking sites in business. Also, a collection of the annual reports to be published will be used. This will help in making the marketing strategies for analyzing and evaluating the overall performance of the company.
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Sampling is a method by which there should be the selection of a sample from an entire population which is very large in size. The qualitative research should be using the snowball sampling where there should be the selection of the subgroups and after that, there should be one respondent and after that, there should be a referral for the other participants into play (Baruah, 2012). After that, there should be slowly but steadily the respondents from each of the subgroups will be enhanced like the snowball so the snowball sampling has been really important for the qualitative research approach to be taken into consideration.
It is seen that there should not be any fixe sampling size to be developed for the qualitative research to b undertaken for the study. In the qualitative research study, there should be a huge sample size greater than sample size involved in the quantitative research study. The sample size in this research approach should be dependent on the allocated time, the nature of the resources available and also the project objectives and the main aim of the study.
Specification of variables
The variables which have been specified for the qualitative approach should be the firm size, the capital requirements of the company, additional expenses, the views and responses of the managers and employees of the firm. The firm size, the additional expenses are all independent variable and the responses of the managers and the employees are the dependent variable which should be measured statistically as well.
Approaches to reliability and validity
The information should be reliable as there should be the gathering of the secondary data from the peer-reviewed journals and websites. The data collected should be valid as it has been taken the information from the humans perceived from the use of the social networking sites in business.
Steps in Quantitative Research
In the quantitative approach, first of all, there should be a collection of the textual data and after that, it should be quantified so that it should be converted into statistics or numbers. After that, there should be the analysis of the data to be taken place and from there have been different variables to be taken into consideration in order to develop the relationship between the dependent and interdependent and controlled variables under study (Baruah, 2012).
Data Collection method
In this research approach, there should be a collection of the primary data. Primary data collection is defined s the collection of data instantly and on the spot from the respondents taking part in the survey. The primary data collection method involves the application of questionnaire design and the interviews to be conducted.
In this approach for the research study, there should be the use of the purposive sampling where the respondents should be selected from the groups and the groups have been segmented according to the demographic profile of the participants. The respondents have been selected randomly by which there should be each and every respondent should be able to get the opportunity of providing their unbiased responses.
The sample size for the study should be 100 and the sampling frame should be the selection for respondents from the subgroups segmented.
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Interviewing and Questionnaire Design
In this quantitative research approach, there should be the conduction of interviews to be taken place. The interview has been conducted by the managers of the organization Country Road from the various departments. There should be 3 managers to be given the interviews. The interview questions have been related to the advantages and disadvantages of using social networks in business, the different positive and negative aspects of using social networks in business and how does it have an impact on the business making of this company under study as well (Sashi, 2012). The Questionnaire has been designed for taking the responses of the employees working in Country Road. There should be the development of 5 questionnaires and it should be closed-ended questions to be used and they should be analyzed in the form of Likert scaling method where there should be the options of 1-5 has been given as well.
Reliability and Validity of Data
The questionnaire to be designed should have the proper questions and this should not be out of context questions to be asked which is making the data to be collected is reliable. The data or the information collected should be from the valid respondents taken into consideration for the interviews and the identification should be made in front of the management of the company Country Road (Sashi, 2012).
The limitations of the research are the time and money. The next limitation should be the variable length of the questionnaires and the questions to be asked to the respondents and the interview questions as well
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From the study, it has been evident that the social networks in business have been useful in the marketing of the products and services given by Country Road to the customers in the Australian fashion market (Smith and Zook, 2011). It is also concluded that social networks are useful in the expansion in the international market which results in the growth and stability of Country Road in different parts of the world. It is useful in creating awareness among the customers regarding effective use and how they should be using the online websites for selling and buying of the products offered.
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Smith, P.R., and Zook, Z., 2011. Marketing communications: integrating offline and online with social media. Kogan Page.
Okazaki, S. and Taylor, C.R., 2013. Social media and international advertising: theoretical challenges and future directions. International marketing review, 30(1), pp.56-71.
Sashi, C.M., 2012. Customer engagement, buyer-seller relationships, and social media. Management decision, 50(2), pp.253-272.
Woodcock, N., Green, A. and Starkey, M., 2011.Social CRM as a business strategy. Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management, 18(1), pp.50-64.
Baruah, T.D., 2012. The effectiveness of Social Media as a tool of communication and its potential for technology-enabled connections: A micro-level study. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 2(5), pp.1-10.
Kietzmann, J.H., Silvestre, B.S., McCarthy, I.P. and Pitt, L.F., 2012. Unpacking the social media phenomenon: towards a research agenda. Journal of Public Affairs, 12(2), pp.109-119.
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