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Social Media Assignment: Discussion On Word Of Mouth Approach

Question

Task: Prepare a research report on social media assignment evaluating the levels of differences that exist within social networks and traditional word of mouth approaches for Australian companies

Answer

1. Introduction
The current social media assignment is based on exploring the concept of how the companies across the world connect and communicate with their customers with the help of social media. The story is the same in Australia nowadays too. There were several spectacular findings reported in the June 2019 version of the Australian Sensis report which is brought out every year. Internet ability and connectivity devices are available to 99% of the Australian populace. 87% of these Australians are online every day while 76% of them do so mostly through their phones. It is also necessary for business websites to be highly responsive and have quick load times (Huete-Alcocer, 2017). This is because the internet user of today accesses the same information or sites over a variety of devices having different resolutions and does so with very limited time. Hence the modern-day internet user has no patience for slow loading websites. As per the research carried on social media assignment, half of the Australian population uses social media quite extensively.

 Facebook is the social media site that dominates the social sphere in Australia. Facebook-owned Instagram and Microsoft owned LinkedIn are the social media sites that come next. It is mainly utilized for keeping up with friends and family but there are also many added usages of social media. Social media advertisements have grown in popularity in recent years. This is because generic ads of the past have continued to become more and more targeted and inbound (Subramanian, 2018). Online reviews and blogs are widely read by Australians and can be a popular sector to push ads in. Most effective organizations are essentially those which have profiles in at the very least two to three different social media organizations. When the inner workings of a particular social media site become evident, the generation of sales and engagement through the way of such sites also becomes easier and more streamlined.

1.1 Problem Statement
In this research project on social media assignment, the problem is analyzing the kinds and levels of differences that exist within social networks and traditional word of mouth approaches for Australian companies.

1.2 Research Aims and Objectives
The main objectives in this research on social media assignment are being enlisted herein below:

  • To ascertain what factors make social networks persuasive for Australian companies.
  • To investigate the reasons for the traditional word of mouth not working for companies in modern times with particular attention contributed to the Australian context.
  • To conduct a comparative analysis between the social network and traditional word of mouth approaches.

1.3 Research Questions
The many research questions that can be formulated in here are as follows:

  • What factors make social networks persuasive for Australian companies?
  • Why did the traditional word of mouth approach fall from favor in recent times?
  • How to conduct a comparative analysis between the social network and traditional word of mouth approaches?

1.4 Scope of study
The following study prepared within this social media assignment represents how Australian companies are highly influenced by social media. The study also highlights the importance of social media in the Australian companies and identifies the reasons for it being preferred more by the companies over the traditional Word of Mouth. It will be easy to understand and distinguish between the traditional Word of Mouth and social media from the research done below.

1.5 Project Justification and Potential Outputs
The project illustrated in the social media assignment is justified because social media is a field that keeps on expanding in the modern-day and age. It has become such an essential tool for businesses that they cannot survive without them. It would be helpful for businesses if comprehensive research exists on the comparative analysis of the traditional method of marketing with modern marketing available through social networks. If such research exists with particular regard to Australian companies, it can give companies ideas on how to implement said research optimally in their respective marketing processes.

2. Comprehensive Literature Review
The social media assignment examines the readings of Trusov, Bucklin & Pauwels who think that social media networks are essentially a network of interactions which are either social or professional (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwels, 2009). According to Akrimi and Khemam, the propagation of information makes it easy to share and digest information on the internet. Advertising and promotion have altered drastically due to social media. Other influences of social media on marketing include alterations in the procedure to acquire information and also statements regarding dissatisfactions or behaviors (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). How people use the internet and its various constituents have also undergone drastic changes, this is the view of Mangold & Faulds. 

Kaplan & Hanlein have discovered that businesses foster relationships with customers at relatively lower costs and within reasonable time constraints (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Consumer behavior by way of word of mouth shows effects through two principal routes. The more important of these two is called awareness.

It is stated in this social media assignment that Word of mouth influences individual behavior it has also been known to affect the sale of certain products like bathing products, adoption of new drugs, sale of books, videogames, music, boost in microfinance loans et cetera (Balaji, Khong, Chong, & Management, 2016). Negative word of mouth has shown to affect stuff like prices and returns of stocks.

Arndt suggests on the scenario of social media assignment that word of mouth is essentially a communication tool between various parties. Information is perceived between brand products and services as non-commercials. Word of mouth has also been defined as a communicative tool between product and consumer (Boerman, Willemsen, & Van Der Aa, 2017). The exchanges between different persons provide information access relating to product or service consumption. These influences are more important concerning intangible products where the calculation of previous consumption is particularly hard.

Sotiriadis and VanZyl think that the satisfaction of tourists is very important. This is due to the considerable influence they exert over behavior intentions and purchase decisions (Sotiriadis & Van Zyl, 2013). Satisfaction in all regards brings about possibilities of revalidation and recommendation regarding destination.

Cheung and Thadani are of the view that the reliability of word of mouth is more than traditional media (Cheung & Thadani, 2012). Its influence is regarded as being considerable when gleaning information on services and products. Litvin has provided a view of social media networking as being a special kind or group of conversation that is carried with the help of the internet. This tool illustrated herein social media assignment helps online platforms to disseminate information directly to consumers through the use of articles or reviews. Consumers today use the internet in place of traditional word of mouth.

According to the words of Wang and Fesenmaier investigated to prepare this social media assignment, it is observed that how consumers left reviews which later influenced the buying behavior of future potential consumers due to the internet. This medium is utilized by both the active and passive consumers (Wang, Yeh, Chen, Tsydypov, & Informatics, 2016). The opinions of these people on the internet get shared by other active customers. The passive consumers just observe the actions of the said active consumers.

Cantallops and Salvi noticed that companies who utilized social networking were far above in the performance metrics when compared to the traditional word of mouth (Schlosser & Borah, 2017). It contributed towards the understanding of how exactly did the consumers get motivated in a social network environment.

The social media assignment examined the study of Yang which signifies that the consumers use technology to give their opinions regarding the products and services that they are using which makes the companies responsible for this (Albon, Kraft, Rennhak, & Sciences, 2018). According to Vallejo, the various companies provide platforms for the consumers in their websites where the consumers can leave some testimonials and comments online about a particular company which is helpful for the growth and development of the businesses. The businesses make use of the opinions shared by different consumers to achieve success and growth in their business.

Van Zyl and Sotiriadis said that nowadays the companies have started realizing that behavior is purchased by the tourists who are influenced by the media in the tourism industry. This means that ICT is being understood well by most of the companies. Businesses feel that the traditional Word Of Mouth and social media are the most effective ways of meeting the needs and opportunities of the customers (Fulgoni & Lipsman, 2017). Hence, it is found that most of the companies create their pages on social media to promote their business creating opportunities for customers to share their opinions regarding the goods and services provided by the companies. Yang has claimed that if the customers start comparing their expectations they had regarding the products to the actual performance of the products, then that will highly influence the customer’s decision regarding purchasing the products in the future.

The earlier researches of Park and Lee observed in this social media assignment have indicated that the negative impacts of a product are focused more by the customers rather than focusing on the positive impacts and consequences of a particular product. This has been observed in the studies of Cheung and Thadani as well. Royo-Vela and Casamassima have found that the customers who are satisfied with the performance of the products become regular representatives and active users of social media which result in producing more outcomes for the larger as well as the smaller sellers or businesses (Grange & Benbasat, 2018). It has been suggested by a few more studies that most of the businesses use the traditional Word Of Mouth technique to promote their products for marketing and sales (Royo?Vela & Casamassima, 2011). Nieto told that the most budget-friendly way to meet the needs and requirements of the customers by communicating with them is provided by the traditional Word Of Mouth. According to Hussain, the most significant platform for the social media marketing of a company is Word Of Mouth commonly abbreviated as WoM.

The authors Filiery and McLeay said that the electronic or the modern version of the traditional Word Of Mouth is social media. They aimed to analyze the differences between the traditional Word Of Mouth and social media (Fan, Shen, Wu, Mattila, & Bilgihan, 2018). In the studies of Veasna, Cheung, Thadani, and Hussain undertaken to develop this social media assignment, it has been seen that the first difference between the social media and traditional Word Of Mouth is credibility which means that the information received by the customers about a particular product can influence the behavior or attitudes of the customers towards that product which is considered as a very risky process for the businesses.

 According to Brown and Hoffman, the second difference between social media and traditional Word Of Mouth is termed as privacy. In the case of Word Of Mouth illustrated in the social media assignment, the communication remains personal and private, whereas, in the case of social media, the communication and the conversations are public and become visible to everyone (Pasternak, Veloutsou, Morgan-Thomas, & Management, 2017). This is mainly because the conversations taking place on social media are written down as comments which can be seen by anyone at any moment. The third difference is termed as Diffusion speed. On Word Of Mouth, the speed of exchanging messages remains slow but on social media, the speed of exchanging messages and conversations is much faster and quicker. Thus, credibility and speed are the two important features that distinguish between Word Of Mouth and social media. The fourth difference between Word Of Mouth and social media is known as accessibility. At present, people have lesser access to Word Of Mouth and more access to social media.

Word Of Mouth has been easily converted to social media by the Internet. According to Brown, the interactions are done publicly with the help of social media and not face to face or personal. Many studies of Katz and Lazersfeld have shown that a customer’s behavior or attitude towards the products after using the products depends on how much they are active on social media as they become knowledgeable about the products or services from social media. It has been observed that most of the information regarding travel and tourism comes from social media.

According to Daugherty and Hoffman, it is noted herein social media assignment that people who are highly influenced by social media have many followers on social media as their opinions regarding the products or services are highly trusted by the audience. A social media influencer can be available for technology, beauty, and health as well (Schmäh, Wilke, & Rossmann, 2017). Much time is spent by the users of social media in valuing the opinions of the social media influencers regarding the products and services. The users compare social media influencers to a friend who can be trusted more by obtaining the correct information about the products and services from them.

As the campaigns regarding the promotion of business are growing in number and becoming more costly on social media nowadays, most of the companies tend to get the support of the social media influencers as it is regarded as the best way to reach the target audience who are just a click away (Fulgoni & Lipsman, 2017). It is also seen in the study developed in this social media assignment that other channels and forums are used by people to influence the behaviors of others towards a product by sharing their views and opinions regarding that particular product. It has been observed by the marketers that the publicity of Word Of Mouth and all the reviews of the customers and activities of Word Of Mouth can be put together every day so that the global market gets influenced by these campaigns and programs organized for marketing. It is quite obvious that people are highly influenced by their friends and relatives as they know them and trusts them more (Subramanian, 2018). In the age of social media, it is seen that people trust and value the advice and suggestions given by strangers who tweet every day to share their personal experiences with everyone.

3. Research Methodology
The method of research to be utilized for this social media assignment is qualitative and some quantitative. The source of data for the same is to be gleaned both from primary and secondary sources. The primary research is to be conducted by selecting 100 volunteers from various Australian companies who are involved in the networking process of their respective companies. The questions that are to be asked to these participants are as follows:

  1. Are social networks very persuasive when compared to traditional word of mouth approach?
  2. There is increased awareness among Australian companies, regarding social networking
  3. Australian companies are discarding the word of mouth approach with increasing frequency
  4. The Australian networking and marketing scenario is changing fast because of social media
  5. Great content has become mandatory to run a social networking campaign.

This data undertaken in this social media assignment is to be acquired and assessed by way of a Likert chart, whose format is somewhat like this:

social media assignment

Figure1 : Likert scales (created by author)

Likert scales are particularly useful in places where a survey is to be conducted. In this research project, it can be utilized to obtain data required for conduction of primary research. The above questions formulated would help in the creation of a survey which can act as a marker of how entrenched social and digital networking is into the Australian corporate environment.

The secondary data is to be obtained by way of articles and journals considered to prepare this social media assignment. Not much secondary data is available regarding social networks particularly in the Australian context but the global scenario regarding social networks and corporations can throw some light into the research problem at hand. Some data regarding this can also be derived from the user data and metrics released by social media and networking organizations over elongated periods. The analysis of all data would be done thematically to obtain themes out of the survey questions. It would also help in the further addressing of the research question noted in the above section of social media assignment.

4. Ethical Considerations
There exist several ethical considerations concerning this project. First of all, it is quite evident that the data which is being dealt in here is essentially a numerical form of the internet and surfing activities of multiple internet users. Ideas can be formed about the social media activities of individuals and it can be a severe dent on their right to privacy if it gets leaked. Hence care must be taken in handling both primary and secondary data in such ways that there is no question of leakage of said data.

5. Budget and Schedule
The total budget allocated for the said project examined in the social media assignment is $200,000. A brief breakdown of the said budget is being supplied in here below:

Heads

Expenses

Primary Research

$130,000

Secondary Research

$10,000

Acquisition of materials

$5000

Printing and publication costs

$10,000

Miscellaneous

$20,000

Total

$175,000

The schedule of the project is as follows:

social media assignment

Figure2: Gantt chart (created by author)

The first week will be dedicated towards the proper selection of research topic examined in the context of social media assignment after weighing in factors like availability of resources and cost-effectiveness. The collection of secondary research is also to be started from the first week itself. In the second week, secondary research is to be continued, the research problem is to be defined and the selection of a proper method of research is also to be done. The literature review is to be completed in week 3 and the collection of primary data is to be also conducted side by side. The collection of primary data, its analysis and the discussion of said analysis is also to be done on this social media assignment. This procedure is to be carried out until week 5 and will result in ineffective use of time. The documentation procedure is to be started from week 4 and lasts till week 6. The last-minute touches are to be applied after a thorough proofread before the final submission of the research paper.

6. Conclusion
In the very end, it can be concluded from the above discussion on social media assignment that concerning social networks, that it has gone on to take a huge place in the marketing procedure of the companies of today. The word of mouth approach which enjoyed immense popularity in the past has descended into oblivion due to the scope that the companies of today enjoy due to the internet and social networking in general. Word of mouth has also been defined as a communicative tool between product and consumer. The project aimed to describe how various companies in Australia are making proper use of social media to attract more clients and reach the target audience. It has been completed with the purpose of highlighting the main reasons for using social media by the different companies instead of using the traditional Word of Mouth. The goal of the social media assignment was to identify how essential social media is for the development of businesses in Australia. The exchanges between different persons provide information access relating to product or service consumption. The social aspect of Australia is mainly dominated by Facebook which is the most common social media site all over the world. The other social media sites apart from Facebook are Instragram and LinkedIn owned by Facebook and Microsoft respectively. As online engagements of Australians keep getting more and more saturated and refined, the use of social networks would only keep increasing in volume and scope. The businesses that rightfully utilize that scope to their optimal capacity would emerge superior in the end.

 
7. Bibliography
Albon, A., Kraft, P., Rennhak, C., & Sciences, S. (2018). Analyzing the credibility of eword-of-mouth using customer reviews on social media. Social media assignment 4 (1), 37-50.

Balaji, M., Khong, K., Chong, A., & Management. (2016). Determinants of negative word-of-mouth communication using social networking sites. 53 (4), 528-540.

Boerman, S., Willemsen, L., & Van Der Aa, E. (2017). “This post is sponsored”: Effects of sponsorship disclosure on persuasion knowledge and electronic word of mouth in the context of Facebook. 38, 82-92.

Cheung, C., & Thadani, D. (2012). The impact of electronic word-of-mouth communication: A literature analysis and integrative model. 54 (1), 461-470.

Cho, Y.-H., Wang, Y., Fesenmaier, D., & Marketing, T. (2002). Searching for experiences: The web-based virtual tour in tourism marketing. 12 (4), 1-17.

Chu, S.-C., & Kim, J. (2018). The current state of knowledge on electronic word-of-mouth in advertising research. 37 (1), 1-13.

Fan, A., Shen, H., Wu, L., Mattila, A., & Bilgihan, A. (2018). Whom do we trust? Cultural differences in consumer responses to online recommendations.

Fulgoni, G., & Lipsman, A. (2017). The downside of digital word of mouth and the pursuit of media quality: How social sharing is disrupting digital advertising models and metrics. 57 (2), 127-131.

Grange, C., & Benbasat, I. (2018). Opinion seeking in a social network-enabled product review website: a study of word-of-mouth in the era of digital social networks. 27 (6), 629-653.

Huete-Alcocer, N. (2017). A literature review of word of mouth and electronic word of mouth: Implications for consumer behavior. 8, 1256.

Kaplan, A., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. 53 (1), 59-68.

Kim, J., Lee, C., & Marketing, S. (2019). A comparative study of face-to-face word-of-mouth and social electronic word-of-mouth. Social media assignment 7 (2), 163-176.

Mangold, W., & Faulds, D. (2009). Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix. 52 (4), 357-365.

Pasternak, O., Veloutsou, C., Morgan-Thomas, A., & Management, B. (2017). Social media assignment Self-presentation, privacy and electronic word-of-mouth in social media.

Royo?Vela, M., & Casamassima, P. (2011). The influence of belonging to virtual brand communities on consumers' affective commitment, satisfaction and word?of?mouth advertising.

Schlosser, A., & Borah, A. (2017). Telling Both Sides of the Story: the Role of Risk in the Perceived Helpfulness of Online Reviews.

Schmäh, M., Wilke, T., & Rossmann, A. (2017). Electronic word-of-mouth: a systematic literature analysis.

Sotiriadis, M., & Van Zyl, C. (2013). Electronic word-of-mouth and online reviews in tourism services: the use of twitter by tourists. 13 (1), 103-124.

Subramanian, K. (2018). Social media and the word of mouth publicity. 3 (2), 95-100.

Susilowati, C., Sugandini, D., & Research, E. (2018). Perceived value, eWord-of-mouth, traditional word-of-mouth, and perceived quality to destination image of vacation tourists. 7, 312-321.

Trusov, M., Bucklin, R., & Pauwels, K. (2009). Effects of word-of-mouth versus traditional marketing: findings from an internet social networking site. Social media assignment 73 (5), 90-102.

Wang, T., Yeh, R.-J., Chen, C., Tsydypov, Z., & Informatics. (2016). What drives electronic word-of-mouth on social networking sites? Perspectives of social capital and self-determination. 33 (4), 1034-1047.

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