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Social media marketing assignment discussing the Financial Performance of The Firm

Question

Task: This is an individual, written assessment, to be completed in report format. You are required to write around 3,000 words (+/- 10%), excluding title page, preliminaries, tables, figures, reference list and appendices. The report requires in-text referencing and a full reference list in APA style, with evidence that you have critically read and integrated a minimum of 20 suitable scholarly references.

The purpose of this assessment is to present the final report of the Professional Project you proposed in Assignment 1. This report should build upon both components of your Assessment 1 and it should be developed with the help of the tutor/co-ordinator feedback.

In order to successfully complete Assessment 2, you are required to carry out the investigation you have proposed in Assessment 1 and produce a professional research report that shows that you have followed through from finding a research question to answering that question and developing recommendations that arise from your findings. The report will follow the typical structure of a research report and will need to include the following:

  • Project title
  • Introduction (which must include some justification of your topic and your project's aim and research question(s))
  • Critical literature review
  • A detailed presentation of how you carried out your project (commensurate with a 'Methods' chapter)
  • Findings from your secondary data analysis
  • Discussion of findings in light of your previously reviewed literature
  • Conclusion, including recommendations and limitations

Answer

Executive Summary
The study of social media marketing assignment below is focused on the research conducted to identify how the financial performance of three renowned organizations in Australia is affected by social media marketing. The three selected organizations are Woolworths, Aldi and Coles. The autonomous variable is the quantity of online networking exercises of the associations while the indigent variable is the monetary exhibition of the association that is determined based on the month to month normal sales of the organizations. The correlation between the two variables by calculating information from the Facebook pages of the companies and the annual reports of the respective years.

Introduction
Title of the project
The title of the present research of social media marketing assignment is “The impact of social media marketing on the financial performance of the firm”.

Background of the research
Social media refers to the applications or websites that help the users to generate online content and share them with others through the internet and also enable them to participate in social networking. Social media marketing is defined as a cross-functional and interdisciplinary concept wherein social media is used in combination with the other existing communication channels of a business organization for the achievement of the organizational goals and objectives to create value for the shareholders and stakeholders (Parveen et al., 2016). Social media marketing enables businesses to develop a relationship with consumers, community, employees, and other stakeholders. Social media also serves as a potential communication channel for companies. According to Tuten & Solomon (2017), the financial performance of businesses also improves with the application of marketing through social media as organizations achieve competitive advantage in the market.

Aim and objectives of the study
The aim of the present research of social media marketing assignment is to interpret the correlation between social media marketing average monthly sales of departmental stores based in Australia like Aldi, Coles and Woolworths.

The objectives could be stated as:

  • Identification of the SM activities of numerous Australian departmental stores
  • The relevant SM strategies adopted by them
  • To study the effect of SM marketing on the average monthly sales in the Australian departmental stores

Research Question of the study
The research questions could be stated as

  • Inquiring the numbers of social media (SM) activities conducted by Australian departmental stores per month?
  • The relevant marketing strategies deployed the Australian departmental stores?
  • What are the average monthly sales of the organizations performing such marketing?

Provide a rationale for the study of social media marketing assignment
Relevant to the present dialog on the positive and negative effect of online networking, various organizations stay at a dubious stage and dither to acknowledge the instrument as a showcasing approach. Numerous scientists have shown a positive impact of SM promoting in making a solid holding of organizations with their shoppers. SM showcasing is currently an indispensable part of the organizations (Guesalaga, 2016). Nonetheless, the literature concerning the impact of SM marketing on the monetary exhibition of associations is divided and constrained with the spotlight on various separated issues. The present research of social media marketing assignment along these lines plans to concentrate via web-based networking media exercises and its impact on the month to month normal offers of associations that are estimated through the month to month average sales.

Critical literature review
A number of researchers have already referred to social media as a strong communication channel for firms to discover the preferences of the consumers. According to Ashley & Tuten (2015), it is discussed in this social media marketing assignment that a shift in the behaviour of the customers is found to be triggered by the contents in social media. The author suggested that a significant increase in the social media marketing approaches of departmental stores is prominent for getting greater competitive advantage in the industry.

Social media in Australian departmental stores for marketing and customer relation
Regular posts on social media have become a common thing in different reputed departmental stores in Australia. In the country, the number of Facebook users has increased to 14 million and it is also evidenced that most of the users use the platform on a regular basis. Coles is a supermarket chain based in Australia that uses social media as a major marketing tool. The organization use Facebook for posting regular updates about its products, informative contents, videos (Coles., 2019). The total view of the youTube posts of the organization is greater than 12,500,000 which indicate the huge popularity of the products and offers provided by the organization to the consumers. Woolworths is also one of the organizations in Australia that use social media platforms greatly for promotional purposes. As compared to Coles and Aldi, Woolworths has received greater popularity in Instagram with its #WhatsForDinner hashtag posts (Woolworthsgroup.com.au., 2019).

The food images posted by the company mentioned in this social media marketing assignment attracts the customers and the number of comments and likes on the posts are also greater (Ainin et al.,2015). In Aldi also the usage of social media platforms have seemed to be extensive as the company use to post on a regular basis on various platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The Facebook page of the company is followed by 661,482 people. The page is not only used to communicate effectively with the customers but also to provide them with information regarding the current offers of different products and ongoing sales.

social media marketing assignment

Figure.1: Facebook post of Coles
(Source: Coles., 2019)

Social media marketing strategies in Australian departmental stores
Wang & Kim (2017) has identified seven functional elements of social media platforms that are the presence, conversation, identification, sharing, relationships, groups and reputation. These elements are greatly utilized by different social media marketers for creating value for the customers. There are various strategies that organizations generally adopt for promoting their product with the help of social media. One of the strategies is to develop a strong link with consumers and community. The strategy discussed in this social media marketing assignment has been accepted by various organizations for greater customer retention and the stable growth of the company. Promoting the products by posting images, videos and informative content of the product is another great approach that is followed by most of the organizations. In this strategy of social media marketing assignment, the organizations also use to post about the ongoing sales to attract the viewers to the online and in-store purchase.

Woolworths with its strategy to post videos of tasty recipes over the official pages in social media like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook have gained great attention of its customers. It is mentioned in this social media marketing assignment that such posts not only increase the popularity of the organization in social media through likes and comments but also facilitates the online and in-store purchase behaviour of the customers. Coles promotes its brands by posting videos of products, recipes and various Australian celebrity chefs. Implementation of social media influencers such as celebrity chefs is one of the important social media strategies in recent times and is proven to trigger the instant buying behaviour of the customers.

social media marketing assignment

Figure.2: Facebook post of Woolworths
(Source: Woolworths., 2019)

Marketing through social media and financial performance
As explained by Alves et al., (2016), it is discussed in this social media marketing assignment that there are a number of goals which are linked with the marketing through social media of the firms, and these objectives are improvement of the brand image and brand awareness, attracting traffic to the social media pages, stimulating sales, decreasing the marketing costs, increasing interaction with the customers and stimulating other social media users to share contents posted by them. With such objectives, firms explored in this social media marketing assignment are able to apply marketing through social media by monitoring and analysing the view of the consumers toward the company.

As the popularity of organizations over social media platforms increases the organizations are able to provide rich information to greater number of customers and also receives greater support from the customers. Such strategies discussed in this social media marketing assignment are supposed to induce a positive effect, especially on annual sales of the company leading to revenue gain. Contrarily, marketing through social media also helps organization to track the activities of the competitors and implement strategies for gaining greater competitive advantage over them. As per the view of Felix et al., (2017), for a ripple of the average sales of the organisation, the SM posts need to come across as authentic as well as trustworthy for acceptance by the audience to be successful.

social media marketing assignment

Figure.3: Facebook post of Aldi
(Source: ALDI Australia., 2019)

Provide a Literature Gap for social media marketing assignment
In the literature studied in this social media marketing assignment, the perspective of the application of marketing through social media to improve the financial performance of organizations has been considered. It is highly appreciated that marketing with social media also has a tremendous effect on the performance of the organization even though it is not considered in the literature. Contrarily, the impact of social media activities such as posting photos, videos and other informative contents in enhancing the sales of the different departmental stores are also not clear from the literature studied, hence, this area needs further research for increasing knowledge regarding the issue.

social media marketing assignment

Conceptual Framework
Figure.4: Conceptual framework
(Source: Created by the learner)

Methodology
Research philosophy
Research philosophy is a formulated concept that adhere nature and sources of knowledge as well as details that are required to achieve adequate findings on the topic (Quinlan et al., 2019). Realism, positivism and interpretivism are the three categories of research philosophy. As per the requirement of the study, interpretivism research philosophy are found to be more suitable as quantitative analysis in associated with secondary methods of collecting data has been performed. Thus, interpretivism enables the researcher to understand the variables and context of social media marketing assignment that can be implemented during the time of the investigation. 

Research approach
Research approach encompasses diverse steps that would enable the researcher to design a plan that involves different methods of analysing, collecting and interpretation of data and information on the respective topic (Humphries, 2017). Deductive, inductive and deductive research approach is the three major categories in the research approach. After analysing the importance and necessity of the research, the inductive research approach is considered to be most appropriate as compared to other approaches. Hence, this approach would help the researcher to investigate and develop a better understanding of the secondary methods of collecting data.

Research design
Research design is a concept that encompasses different techniques that can be applied by the researcher to ensure collaboration with different elements of the research to achieve effective finding (McCusker & Gunaydin, 2015). Exploratory and explanatory are the two categories of the research design among which exploratory research approach is found to be most favourable for conducting research and gain appropriate conclusion for the topic discussed in this social media marketing assignment. 

Data collection and analysis
Data collection is authentic measures that include the primary method and secondary methods. As per the requirement of the study, the secondary methods of collecting data are found to be most suitable as compared to primary method. The data that has been analysed includes social media pages and the variables are the post that is updated per months by the three companies to promote their products. In addition, the annual reports of the company are also directly observed by the researcher in this social media marketing assignment to maintain the credibility of the research conducted on the respective topic.

Population, sample and sampling technique
Population in the research is determined as an activity that is analysed to gain appropriate outcome of the research (Sutrisna & Setiawan, 2016). On the other hand, sampling is the total number of entities that are considered for analysing information for the study, while looking at the practicality and constraints of the topic. The sampling technique includes social media pages of three organizations, Coles, Aldi and Woolworths.

Findings and analysis
To understand the correlation between the financial performance and social media activities secondary research has been conducted in this social media marketing assignment on the Facebook pages and annual reports of the three major organizations that are Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.

Number of social media activity of Coles in a month
From the Facebook page of Coles, it has been identified in this social media marketing assignment the average number of posts on the Facebook page is 25. The posts included videos, product information, food recipes, and information regarding the discounts. Apart from the posts the organization also uses to sponsor specific posts on Facebook that are referred to as the promotions and advertisements of the products. The average number of promotions or advertisements implemented by the organization in a month is 15. The total number of social media activities is 40.

Average monthly sales revenue in the respective month
From the annual report of the company, it has been identified that the half-yearly sales revenue of the organization in the respective year is $20,235m (Colesgroup.com.au., 2019). Thus the average monthly sales revenue of the company is $3372 m.

Number of Facebook posts of Woolworths in a month
From the Facebook page of Woolworths, it could be recognized and mentioned in this social media marketing assignment that the average number of posts of the organization is 5. The posts included videos, product information, food recipes, information regarding discounts and environmental awareness. In addition to the posts, Woolworths also participate in promoting the posts as well as placing advertisements for its products over Facebook. The average number of promotions or advertisements created by Woolworths on Facebook in a month is 10. Hence, the total number of social media activities is 15.

Average monthly sales revenue in the respective month
The annual sales of the Woolworths group from continuing and discontinuing operations is $61510m (Woolworthsgroup.com.au., 2019). Hence the average monthly sales revenue is $5125m.

Number of Facebook posts of Aldi in a month
The Facebook posts created by Aldi includes photos containing discounts and offers, food images, events, recipes, cultural celebrations, environmental awareness, interviews of celebrities and health professionals (ALDI Australia., 2019). The monthly average number of Facebook posts created by the company is 30. The monthly average number of promotions and advertisements through Facebook is 18. Hence, the monthly average of social media activities of the organization is 38.

Average monthly sales revenue in the respective month
The annual net sales revenue of Aldi mentioned in this of social media marketing assignment is $84169m (Cr.aldisouthgroup.com., 2019). Hence the average monthly sales of the organization are $7014m.

The correlation between social media activities and average monthly sales

Company name

 The average number of social media activities

Average monthly sales

Coles

40

$3372 m

Woolworths

15

$5125m

Aldi

48

$7014m

Correlation

0.253

Table.1: The average number of social media activities and Average monthly sales of three companies
(Source: Created by Author)

social media marketing assignment

Figure.5: Correlation between the average number of social media activities and Average monthly sales of three companies
(Source: Created by Author)

The above table provided in this of social media marketing assignment demonstrates that a positive correlation exists between the average number of social media activities of Australian departmental stores and their financial performance, where financial performance is calculated on the basis of the average monthly sales. The correlation has been calculated to be 0.253. It indicates that there is an average relationship of social media activities and the sales of the companies (Zhang et al., 2017). Although there is a correlation between the two variables that are social media activities of firms and average monthly sales the correlation is not that strong as the value of correlation is very close to zero.

Discussion
Based on the analysis of the collected data, it has been evidenced in this of social media marketing assignment that both the organizations Coles and Aldi are involved in regular and frequent posts, advertisements and promotions through their Facebook pages. The sales of Aldi is maximum in the respective year than the other two organizations (Cr.aldisouthgroup.com., 2019). It has been recognized in this of social media marketing assignment that the organization has done the maximum number of social media activities through its official Facebook page. Hence, it is evident that marketing with social media has a direct link with the sales of the departmental stores (Hansen & Sia, 2015). However, Woolworths has the least number of posts on the Facebook page. However, it has been also recognized that as compared to the other two organizations the posts of Woolworths are liked, commented and shared by the maximum number of users in Facebook (Woolworths., 2019).

Hence, it could be said in this of social media marketing assignment that the sales and revenue of an organization which represents the financial performance of an organization are not only controlled by the number of activities in social media but also by the quality and the content of the posts that are shared by the organizations. From the analysis of the data, it is interpreted that implementation of social media as a marketing tool in an incorrect way may not influence a significant increase in the sales of the organizations. In order to gain greater profitability by advertising on social media platforms, organizations have to provide authentic and informative contents through the posts. The posts must have to be attractive visually for drawing the attention of the customers and triggering their online or in-store purchase behaviour.

Conclusion
From the above study of social media marketing assignment, it is concluded that marketing with social media is a useful tool that is utilized by numerous organizations for improving brand recognition and brand awareness and increasing the sales and profitability of the organization. With the enhancement of the sales revenue, a company also achieves greater competitive advantage in the market. The study concerning three organizations’ average social media activity and average monthly sales, it has been identified that there is an overall positive effect of the marketing through social media on the sales performance of the organization. However, the relationship between the two variables is not so strong. This implies that the profitability of organizations can not only be analysed based on the number of activities in social media platforms.

It is recommended to the Australian departmental stores that maintenance of the quality of the social media posts could be enhanced for increasing the sales and profitability so that the financial performance of the organization can be improved. On the other hand, Woolworths can increase the number of posts on the Facebook page for outnumbering its major competitors. Woolworth and Aldi both have implemented environmental awareness through their posts on social media, such an approach can also be implemented by Coles for increasing sales and sustain in the market.

The limitation of the study is that the present study of social media marketing assignment has only considered the number of social media posts, advertisements and promotions as the social media activity of the Australian companies. In this study, the reply of the organization on the feedback and comments of the customers in Facebook posts are not considered as social media activities. The research only involved quantitative analysis and avoided qualitative data collection. Additionally, only secondary data was collected from annual reports and Facebook pages whereas primary data collections are not conducted in the research. This is also a major limitation of the study. In future inclusion of primary and qualitative data, collection and inclusion of quality of the posts created in social media can support the finding of the present research.

References
Ainin, S., Parveen, F., Moghavvemi, S., Jaafar, N. I., & Mohd Shuib, N. L. (2015). Factors influencing the use of social media by SMEs and its performance outcomes. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 115(3), 570-588.

ALDI Australia. (2019). Facebook.com. Social media marketing assignment Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.facebook.com/pg/ALDI.Australia/posts/?ref=page_internal

Alves, H., Fernandes, C., & Raposo, M. (2016). Social media marketing: a literature review and implications. Psychology & Marketing, 33(12), 1029-1038.

Ashley, C., & Tuten, T. (2015). Creative strategies in social media marketing: An exploratory study of branded social content and consumer engagement. Psychology & Marketing, 32(1), 15-27.

Coles. (2019). Facebook.com. Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.facebook.com/coles/

Colesgroup.com.au. (2019). Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.colesgroup.com.au/FormBuilder/_Resource/_module/ir5sKeTxxEOndzdh00hWJw/file/Coles_Annual_Report_2019.pdf

Cr.aldisouthgroup.com. (2019). Cr.aldisouthgroup.com. Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://cr.aldisouthgroup.com/sites/default/files/2019-09/ALDI%20SOUTH%20Group%20CR%20Report%202017_0.pdf

Felix, R., Rauschnabel, P. A., & Hinsch, C. (2017). Elements of strategic social media marketing: A holistic framework. Journal of Business Research, 70, 118-126.

Guesalaga, R. (2016). Social media marketing assignment. The use of social media in sales: Individual and organizational antecedents, and the role of customer engagement in social media. Industrial Marketing Management, 54, 71-79.

Hansen, R., & Sia, S. K. (2015). Social media marketing assignment. Hummel's Digital Transformation Toward Omnichannel Retailing: Key Lessons Learned. MIS Quarterly Executive, 14(2).

Humphries, B., 2017. Re-thinking social research: anti-discriminatory approaches in research methodology. Routledge.

McCusker, K. & Gunaydin, S., 2015. Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research. Perfusion, 30(7), pp.537-542.

Parveen, F., Jaafar, N. I., & Ainin, S. (2016). Social media’s impact on organizational performance and entrepreneurial orientation in organizations. Management Decision, 54(9), 2208-2234.

Quinlan, C., Babin, B., Carr, J. & Griffin, M., 2019. Business research methods. South Western Cengage.

Sutrisna, M. & Setiawan, W., 2016. 14 The application of grounded theory methodology in built environment research. Research methodology in the built environment: A selection of case studies, p.231.

Tuten, T. L., & Solomon, M. R. (2017). Social media marketing. Sage.

Wang, Z., & Kim, H. G. (2017). Can social media marketing improve customer relationship capabilities and firm performance? Social media marketing assignment Dynamic capability perspective. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 39, 15-26.

Woolworths. (2019). Facebook.com. Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.facebook.com/pg/woolworths/posts/?ref=page_internal

Woolworthsgroup.com.au. (2019). Woolworthsgroup.com.au. Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/icms_docs/195396_annual-report-2018.pdf

Zhang, M., Guo, L., Hu, M., & Liu, W. (2017). Social media marketing assignment. Influence of customer engagement with company social networks on stickiness: Mediating effect of customer value creation. International Journal of Information Management, 37(3), 229-240.

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