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Values of Social Media within Irish SMEs: Methodological approaches used to understand the return on investment (ROI) of social media

Rickard, Michael (2021) Values of Social Media within Irish SMEs: Methodological approaches used to understand the return on investment (ROI) of social media. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Social media has become an important asset for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to communicate with followers and potential customers about their product offerings. Its low cost model and ease of use has seen social media transpire into a primary marketing tool for businesses who may have limited advertising budgets. Social media activity is used by these companies to direct traffic to their online stores in the hope of making sales, and thus earning a return on investment (ROI) for their social media activity. The challenge is measuring a firm’s social media activity and revenue performance to ascertain precise ROI figures. This becomes more complicated when tracking non-financial social media metrics which can be difficult to quantify. This study aims to use methodological approaches to increase understanding around social media ROI and the value this can have for Irish E-commerce SMEs.

The quantitative research approach adopted in this study ensures an adequate sample representation is used as it covers Irish E-commerce SMEs across all industries in Ireland. The study prompts senior members from the participating firms to respond to the survey to ensure that the appropriate person with the necessary knowledge answers the survey. Three key research questions are answered using empirical data to help answer the overall research objective. The study investigates the perceived level of value of social media as a tool for generating ROI among these firms. It also evaluates the various social media activity measurement processes being used by Irish E-commerce SMEs to try identify the most efficient method. Finally, the study explores the possibility for improvements to current methods for measuring social media activity and ROI. This is done by asking respondents what they feel could be enhanced to more accurately define their social media ROI.

The study revealed that social media is perceived as a vital tool for producing ROI among Irish E-commerce SMEs. It also uncovered that many firms have measurement procedures in place using social media platform insights and analytical tools to track key metrics. However, research also indicated that while these firms have the necessary tools to track social media activity and financial metrics, they lack an efficient and coherent process for organising all the relevant data and clearly understanding ROI. This drawback may prevent some companies from further growth as they struggle to comprehend the financial impact of their social media activities, impeding good financial management of future projects also. In conclusion, the study found that Irish E-commerce SMEs could benefit from a detailed model that enabled them to track exact figures for their social media metrics, costs and ROI while also allowing for the measurement of qualitative metrics that could equally impact social media ROI.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Electronic Commerce
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Marketing > e Marketing
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > Ireland
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4150 Computer Network Resources > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Online social networks
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering > Telecommunications > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Online social networks

H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Small Business Sector
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in International Business
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2022 16:15
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2022 16:15
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5535

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