How can companies manage different social media platforms in different counties to expand their influence?
When the word social media is maintained most people think about Facebook. Their thought is justifiable because of the widespread and the size of the market-share the platform commands but the truth is that it is not the only social platform that exists. Recent research shows that there more than 13 social media platforms and the number is still growing. Given their number, a normal person may think that majoring in one or two common ones is ok but that is not the case with businesses. They have to decide which platforms to combine depending on demography, specifications, and rules governing their areas of the locality. But with the many available options, it is difficult for businesses to know the right media to choose and content to share to acquire the required results.
Companies are faced with the challenge of choosing social media platforms of different nations and using them in a proportion that will make them share knowledge and information appropriately. However, many researchers have done a lot of study concerning social media marketing and how the platforms are used to help them reach out to wider markets. Similarly, research has been conducted to boost companies image as well as give more information concerning products that a company deals with. But there is little research dome to show ways how to operate social media in different countries at the same time. There is also little information on how established information with different platforms can be retained for long-term term relationship with the customers in different nations.
Different countries have different laws governing their social media use. In the case of a country like China where there are both local and international social media platforms, the question asked is how do these international platforms share information for them in a foreign country. As it is, there are different types of a company using social media for marketing purposes. For an instant, there are those companies that focus on business sells while they are those that focus on sharing knowledge and building user communications platforms. Thus, to develop the cooperative relationship of sustainable social media platform use is an important concern for many organizations. Therefore, in this graduation thesis will give a detailed analysis of these concerns so as to make conclusions and suggestions which organizations related to the company can reference when making their decisions.
The focus of this study will be on how to use different social media platforms to share knowledge and information establish channels to communicate with users establish a sustainable and stable user communication community and how to operate social media platforms in different countries at the same time (e.g. China’s social media platforms are different from FB’s in applicable laws and regulations. Some content can be published on Facebook but can’t be published on Wechat or microblog. Relevant policies, operational rules and user channels in different countries are different. All about these will be explained in detail in this study.
This research will be conducted from two perspectives: one is from the perspective of companies, to study how companies simultaneously operate different social platforms in different countries to reach their goals such as share knowledge and information attract users and expand their influence; the other is from the perspective of users, to investigate users’ preferences when choosing channels to acquire knowledge. For example, Chinese users prefer micro-blog or Wechat or other channels, while foreign users tend to choose FB or YouTube.
The proposed method that will be used to conduct this research paper will be a qualitative method. The method was used to satisfy the objective of this thesis. The main benefit of using a quantitative method is that it can quickly collect a wide range of data and thus provide quick snapshots of result for urgent decisions (Miles, Huberman & Saldaña 2014). Unlike qualitative analysis, the method allows statistical analysis that predict changes and thus provides credible data for decision making. Also, the method contains tools that been validated and tested for use in a research study.
However, the effectiveness is limited since the researcher may not fully understand what they are studying. The method also fails to enhance information used by the different decision makers. The data tools to be employed may not be easily used and at times may not be appropriate for the case under study. In addition, the method does not allow community knowledge to be publicly shared (Miles, Huberman & Saldaña 2014).
Data collection method
A deep telephone interview was used for the purpose of this thesis paper. A telephone interview is a personal and unstructured interview that aims at identifying a person emotions, thought, and feelings pertaining to a certain subject. The benefits associated with a telephone interview is that the interviewer and the interviewee are had direct contact and thus the problem of non-responses is minimized (Bryman 2012). However, for effectiveness in this method, the interviewers should have the necessary skill to carry out the exercise. The telephone interview is unstructured and thus flexible which makes it possible to make conclusions that were initially not meant to be. But the risk associated with interviews is that it is possible to deviate from the initial purpose of the research. The researcher used a semi-structured questionnaire for the purposes of conducting the research. Some question was prepared in advance so that the interview would be guided towards determined objectives.
How to analyze these data
Telephone interview data were analyzed using a thematic analysis. The analysis is used to generate themes for telephone interview data. There is no specific design associated with thematic analysis and thus the analysis is flexible and is appropriate for use in narrative inquiry, generic qualitative, and case studies. The method of data analysis is appropriate for use by both novice and expert researchers and as it gives detailed information and meaningful findings. There are six major phases of thematic analysis which are familiarization, initial code generation, initial themes creation, initial themes review, theme definition and naming, and final report writing (Braun and Clarke 2013).
Social media use is at the rise in the current world and China has not been left behind in the trend. Those using social media and those who have grown up around digital communication are widely known as “digital native.” According to Cabellon and Junco (2015), the biggest percentage of social media users are the youth and mostly those in college and higher learning institutions. It is estimated the between 67% to 75 college students have access to the internet and frequently use social media for various purposes. The trend is showing the emergence of a new culture where the youth stay connected with their friends as they go on with their day-to-day activities. The most common social media users in China is Facebook (Williams et al. 2014).
There many social media platforms operating in China and which has many benefits but this site can raise questions for the government. Thus, the government has formulated rules and regulation governing both the local and external mainstream social media. But citizens may not be aware of the existing policies governing the relationship between the government and the media platforms. In 2017 the Chinese government formulated new laws and the new restrictions has tightened the use of online platforms. According to the South China Morning reports every business operating online media should be licensed starting from June 1, 2017.
There is a difference between the rules governing domestic social media and external media in China. In 2014 the Chines government enacted rules toward local media like Wechat in order to cab unofficial media and new disclosure (Garretsen, Stoker & Weber 2017). But until today China is famous for its tight control over external media use in the nation. President Xi Jinping has won the title of freedom predator for banning the use of popular online media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google. According to the study conducted by Reporters Without Borders, China is fifth from below of those nations that have violated online media freedom (Ellison & Boyd 2013). Many journalists who try to fight for media platforms are in detention.
WeChat is a social media platform created by Chinese Company Tencent. Millions of Chinese use the platform to record messages and which are randomly picked by another person. The information recorded is also shared with the government and thus adds to government intelligence. Another platform like Weibo is used by citizens to post about their personal and family life. Established after Twitter use was blocked, Weibo is referred to as social media as it helps people to talk about things of these lives.
Social media use is becoming brighter in the world with many companies using it in a different world. But to be used successively, there should be a good strategy to be followed by the company (Chitakornkijsil 2012). Having a good strategy does not imply that companies should plan for every tweet or message sent but rather it should be strategically positioned to benefit from events and shows. However, a business should understand that it is not possible to attract followers without having the appropriate events.
Social media is not like the traditional method of advertising but rather it’s more sensitive. When establishing it in different countries, the companies must be ready to relate with their clients like a human (Dwivedi & Kuljis 2008). The platforms must be willing to talk with anyone willing to talk to them. For a start, a new company will have new members but with time the subscribers keep growing. Also, international media platforms should use social media tools and should not be desperate for a follower. The companies should also make it worth to spend time in their media by giving information that is relevant to the internet uses.
A positive interaction between a company and a client in social media improves the likelihood of the client purchasing from the company. But to be effective the communication needs to be two way and not a one-sided push scenario. Thus, the company should avoid any disconnect with its brand customers and clients. Customers may disconnect from a product if there lacks a human resource to handle customers complains in social media. Also, the company should avoid any negative feedback and when it arises it should be addressed instantly to avoid creating negative view concerning the company’s brand.
The research carried out was subjected to some ethical issues. In every research, the most important part is the ethical consideration and thus if this part is missing a thesis may be doomed to fail. There are 10 issues that relate to the ethical issues in research papers.
- Before undertaking the research, participants consent should be obtained.
- Always avoid any exaggeration of the researches aims and objective.
- Ensure participants privacy
- Ensure that the identity of the individuals and organizations participating in the research are anonymous
- Always prioritize participants respect and dignity
- The participants should be protected from any harm whatever
- There should be honesty and transparency when communicating any information pertaining to the research.
- Avoid representing primary data in a biased way
- Always protect participants privacy
- A possible form of interest and any source of funding should be declared.
In this research, participants indicated their willingness to take part in the research through a written consent and briefing letter. In addition, participants were asked to sign a withdrawal letter and a briefing letter. The withdrawal letter shows that the participants are free to take part in the study and may withdraw at any level of the study without any penalty. Thus the participant’s involvement in the research is voluntary.
The participants have not harmed in any way like physically, psychologically, or mentally but rather a conducive environment was created to enable efficiency in data collection. The subjects were informed about the objectives and the aim of conducting research. Participants were also assured that their responses would be treated confidentially and that if they are to be used it would only for academic purposes.
Therefore, to ensure that the required ethics are met it is important to ensure that no abusive or unacceptable language is used when formulating interview questionnaire. Participant’s privacy is paramount and their participation should be voluntary. Also, the telephone interview should adhere to the set goal and objectives to maintain the highest level result.
Timetable (Gant Chart)
Braun, V. and Clarke, V., 2013. Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. Sage.
Bryman, A. & Bell, E. 2007. Business research methods, Oxford University Press.
Bryman, A. 2012. Social research methods, Oxford University Press.
Cabellon, E.T. and Junco, R., 2015. The digital age of student affairs. New directions for student services, 2015(151), pp.49-61.
Chitakornkijsil, P. 2012, “BUSINESS PERFORMING SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACTIVITIES AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ISSUES”, International Journal of Organizational Innovation (Online), vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 309-323.
Dwivedi, Y.K. & Kuljis, J. 2008, “Profile of IS research published in the European Journal of Information Systems”, European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 678-693.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. & Jackson, P. R. 2015. Management and business research, Sage.
Ellison, N.B., and Boyd, D.M., 2013. Sociality through social network sites. In The Oxford handbook of internet studies.
Garretsen, H., Stoker, J. & Weber, R. 2017, “Economics and Leadership: Special Issue for the Leadership Quarterly”, Leadership Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 4.
Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M. & Saldaña, J. 2014. Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook, SAGE Publications, Incorporated.
Robson, C. 2011. Real world research: a resource for users of social research methods in applied settings, Wiley Chichester.
Williams, R., 2014. Keywords: A vocabulary of culture and society. Oxford University Press.
Field, A. 2013. Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics, Sage.
Ibrahim, F. 2015, Knowledge Management Methodology: Developing a ‘Middle-Range Thinking Approach’ for Knowledge Management Research, Academic Conferences International Limited, Kidmore End.
Introducing “Harvard Business Review Short Cuts”– Individual Chapters from Harvard Business Review Press Books Available Exclusively in the Kindle Store 2010. New York.
Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. 2011. Research Methods for Business Students, 5/e, Pearson Education India.
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