Benefits and challenges of using social media in marketing strategy : investigating small- and medium-sized companies in the Oulu region
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201605221857
|Publish Date:|| 2016-05-25
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
This thesis explains what social media marketing is as a phenomenon and what kind of roles it can fill in a company’s overall marketing strategies. The thesis also provides very practical information on how small/medium-sized companies can use social media channels in their daily marketing activities. This has been achieved through a literature review on the topic supported by an empirical multi-case study. The motivation for doing qualitative research of social media marketing in small/medium-sized companies came from a lack of such research in the literature review.
The theoretical part of the thesis covers some of the basic theory about social media, different kinds of social media channels and mobile social media. Social media’s growing importance in marketing is also addressed in the literature review through earlier research, especially regarding how companies can benefit from using social media in their marketing and how it may challenge them.
The multi-case study research was conducted on five small/medium-sized companies representing different industries in the Oulu area. Each company was interviewed on the topic of social media marketing, with emphasis on the motivation for using social media, social media role in marketing strategy, and the benefits and challenges of social media. The ongoing shift from traditional media towards digital media channels like social media is present in both the theoretical and empirical parts of the study.
The findings from earlier research in the literature review concentrated on big brands and companies. The findings of the case study showed that social media can play a major role in the marketing strategy of small and medium sized companies. The empirical findings indicate that social media has positively impacted the sales of the case companies and that the challenges vary depending on the size and industry of a company. However lack of marketing resources, especially time, is a common factor. The findings show that social media provides a faster, cheaper and more flexible marketing platform when compared to traditional media such as newspapers and radio. However, this requires the building of an active social media presence and continuous work to adapt and improve.
Together the literature review and the case study should provide the reader with a broad view into the phenomenon of social media marketing. The literature review section is mostly concentrated on corporate view and big brands, while the case study provides a good look into social media marketing of small and medium sized companies. Especially small start-up companies should find some valuable information and get initial ideas from this thesis for improving their marketing efforts with the help of social media channels.
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