In the recently year, small and medium enterprises are more likely to be growth companies than other large corporation in the UK. According to the statistics at the beginning of 2012 by Business Population Estimates (2012) state that there are about 4.8 million SMEs, comparison with previous year it increased by 253,000, and it took 99.9% of all private sector businesses all over the UK. It is obviously that SMEs are playing a most important role in the UK economic. At the same time, with the rapid developing of internet, then social media, as a part of Internet product was growth fast as well. Social media is kind of online word of mouth forums, customer can discuss on the board; write a comment and some social networks. As Gillin (2007) stated conventional marketing can share the information to 10 friends nearby, however social media may tell 10 million. There are amount of issues in social media. Face book as one of the popular example, "has over 955 million active users, who log on at least once every 30 days, half of these active users actually log on every day."(Michel, et al, 2012). It means social media provide a unique connection to foster their together. Furthermore, there are many kinds of other social media, such as, Youtube, Twitter, and Blog.
1.2 Background of brand awareness
Nowadays, brand awareness is most important to marketing success as the basic dimension of brand equity. Brand can shape customer decision and finally increase sales and income to enterprise, (Czinkota and Ronkainen, 2010). According to Norback (2005) stated that one of the familiar brand in the marketplace can provide a certain level of quality, while marketers had extra opportunity to attract loyal customers. Ultimately, brand awareness is well known and is easily recognizable. In a simply example, McDonald is the first brand in your mind when people is hungry, it means McDonald is a successful brand awareness. This is because brand awareness plays an important role in consumer decision-making. There are three reasons for this, Learning advantage, Consideration advantage and Choice advantage. (Keller, et al 2012). Therefore, brand awareness determines the success or failure of any enterprise, while using modern social media is a good way to increasing their brand awareness. The competition among business for customer has never been greater. In this environment, enterprise needs to stand out and have every possible advantage to be successful.
1.3 Problem discussion
As discussed above, most enterprise is aware of raising awareness through social media marketing for their brand; this is because social media could be opportunity and/ or threat in SMEs. In addition, the social media offer a cost effective way for the SMEs to improve their brand awareness. One of the difficult questions as most entrepreneurs realized is, how to improve their brand awareness in positive way in order to let more potential consumer know. As Weber (2009) pointed out that creating a dialogue with customers is better than other finding them through internet, and social media is a most promise way to bring the new customer and enterprise closer. Social media can discover the priorities and values of those who might be interested in this kind of product or services, and it provides very effective and practically instant feedback from online communications. However, it sometimes can be in a negative way as well. For instance, comment was written from lots of different user ID, but it could be a same one. Then it could be decrease the customer's trust for any particular enterprise. The combination of social media and brand awareness is a complex process; the influence of social media was affected by both of them. Due to the limited resource in this area, and with the discussion above, this dissertation will be focus on social media in SME's brand awareness.
1.4 Research aim and objectives
Aim: To explore how social media (XXX) contribute to the SME's (XXX) brand awareness.
To explore the importance of brand awareness in the SMEs.
To investigate the role of social media played in the process of brand awareness.
To establish if there is a relationship between social media and SMEs performance.
To analysis the advantage and disadvantage of social media in SMEs.
2. Literature Review
2.1. What is social media? 400
In addition to the definition given in section 1.1, Blackshaw& Nazzaro (2004) defines social media as " a variety of new sources of online information that are created, initiated, circulated and used by consumers intent on educating each other about products, brands, services, personalities and issues."
The tools and strategies for communication has been changed since the development in Internet in the last decade, social media as the future of communication, a countless array of internet based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information. This new form of media makes the transfer of text, photos, audio, video, and information in general increasingly fluid among internet users. As Nielsen (2009) stated that two third of internet users visited a social network or blog in 2009 all over the world. It also is a familiar phenomenon in daily life. Waiting for the bus or taking the subway, most of people are looking at their mobile phones, among whom most of them are reading updates or information from the social media( such as Face book and Twitter).
As it mentioned earlier, there is a diverse ecosystem of social media sites which is depend on their scope and functionality for different kind of people. Some social media are social networking sites (Myspace, Facebook, Faceparty) while other (apple.com) pay more attention on company sponsored websites. (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). A comprehensive social media example list was provided by the below table.
Source: Mangold and Faulds, (2009)
With the social media platforms, the "consumers are in control; they have greater access to information and greater command over media consumption than ever before'' as cited by Vollmer and Precourt, 2008. Meanwhile, with the shift in power over control of disseminated information in favour of the consumers, the consumers have now been demonstrated to market information in a significantly different way and are more tend to rely on one another for receiving valuable product information (Singh et al., 2008).
2.2 Comparison between social media and traditional media600
During the traditional marketing area, marketers employ integrated marketing communications principles in order to present a unified message to the target audience. As Mangold and Faulds (2009) stated that integrated marketing communications not only try to put the promotional mix (advertising, personal selling, public relations, publicity, direct marketing and sales promotion) into the scope of marketing activities, but also it is a sample way to help enterprise show their unique information to customer.
Also, it has been noticed that consumers are starting to be averse to traditional advertisement platforms such as television and the print media and are constantly looking for ways of self determine how much mass media they are exposed to. In this light, Rashtchy et al. (2007) observed that consumers are demonstrating affinity for accessing and obtaining information promptly according to their perceived need and without jeopardizing their convenience. Recent research confirms that human are living in the digital information age. Nearly half of Americans get some form of local news on a mobile device, and 46% of people get some their news online at least three times a week. What's more, online news sources officially surpassed print newspapers in ad revenue in 2010. Thanks to online news, we are getting more breaking news than ever. And thanks to social media, we are getting news as it happens-sometimes even before news organizations have a chance to report it.
The majority of media theories assume that traditional media has singular power to disseminate information and thus, impact public opinion; however, in the age of net-worded media, citizens can bypass traditional media to engage with other, like-minded citizens. As the supply of media shifts away from the limited content offerings of traditional media monopoly ownership towards a long tail of niche-based, personalized media forms( Anderson, 2006), it is important to examine how the impact of social influence within networks of like-minded communities impact traditional media power.
2.3 Social media and marketing600-800
The theory of social media was started around ten years age. It began with LinkedIn, which was launched in 2003, followed by both MySpace and Facebook in 2004, Youtube in 2005, and Twitter in 2006. In less than a decade, its population has grown rapidly, and it has reached billions of people in the worldwide. Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide; Twitter has approximately 175 million users; LinkedIn has more than 90 million users; and MySpace has 57 million users. (Curtis, 2011).
The popularity of social media sites has also spread to companies and firms as part of their strategies. A study by public relation firm Burson-Marsteller shows that 86% of 100 largest companies on the Fortune 500 list use at least one of the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or blogs, and 28% of them use all these four platforms. The study also shows that 65% of these companies use Twitter, which makes it as the most popular social media site among business firms( Burson-Marsteller, 2010).
Marketing o the social web is not only for the largest multinational corporations; it may be easier and more effective, argues Weber (2009), for a relatively small or medium size company to take maximum advantages of the social media.
2.4 What is branding? 400
2.5 Social media and brand awareness 600-800
According to Kotler (2003), positioning is about enabling a brand to occupy a "distinct and valued place" in the mind of the target consumer. In a positioning statement, the benefits a brand offer specific target audiences in order to satisfy a particular need are addressed. Brand positioning can be thought of as the element that tells the potential customer what the brand is, who it is for, and what it offers. (Elliott &Percy,2007).