SOCIAL MEDIA ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A TOOL FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED BLOGGERS AND WEBMASTERS IN IKEJA, LAGOS)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has the potential to be one of the prime drivers of development on the continent. Nevertheless, the country's development is constrained by the weak environment for broad-based economic growth. Achieving sustainable long-term change requires a significant strengthening of policy formulation and implementation processes. At its core, this involves the supply of, and demand for, improvements in the business environment.
Social media entrepreneurship is a new phenomenon that has changed how the business environment operates. Businesses are able to gain access to resources and online exposure that were otherwise not available to them. It has also helped businesses to increase their worthiness, cultivate strategic partnerships and increase their contact with customers and suppliers. It has become important for business owners and marketers to register their presence on the social media which also work as a communication and marketing tool which significantly grow their businesses.
The entrepreneurs on social media have the ability of sharing their business ideas and encounters. This assists in creativity, open communication and sharing of knowledge among users. Facebook, Skype and discussion forums are examples of social media tools where large numbers of entrepreneurs participate (Tapscott and Williams, 2008). The sky is the limit with social media. Owing to of the flexibility of social networking tools, businesses can realize different benefits. These according to Simon (2012) are greater access to different audiences, increased patronage, improved customer service, improved products and services, job creation and adoption of favorable pricing practices. The 21st century has seen a shift in the way businesses operates. Smith and Taylor (2004) reveal that companies are presently experiencing several new unanticipated events and the development of the Internet as a communication channel is almost certainly one of the most influential factors. The internet has brought about several new elements – it has made consumers more accessible, it has emerged with a completely new set of communication tools that make the process of exchanging information much easier and faster, and it has compelled companies to rethink how they are communicating with their customers (Jaokar, Jacobs, Moore and Ahvenainen, 2009).Entrepreneurs, marketers and consumers are witness the appearance of virtual social media. As of January 2012, there were more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 250 million of them logging in everyday. In addition, the average Facebook user has 130 friends and likes 80 pages but this figure is expected to expand with time. Additionally, over 3.5 billion pieces of contents such as blog posts, web links and news stories are shared on this social network (Digital Buzz, 2012). The Internet and the online social networks allow individuals to connect with one another. It is important for entrepreneurs and marketer to grasp how the Internet functions and the expectations of its users.
Mangold and Faulds (2009) recognize that social media allows an enterprise to connect with both existing and potential customers as the number of businesses that fully operates online only continues to increase all over the world. This has greatly reduced unemployment thereby contributing to economic growth all over the world. Social networking has led to the introduction of social media entrepreneurship and presented new ways of communicating to expanse audiences on various Internet platforms. Different kinds of organizations render various services through the social media all over the world e.g. health, news, sports, education etc. (Kotler and Armstrong, 2011).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There are many reasons why individuals become entrepreneurs; it could be to earn money, to make a difference to community / environment or simply passionate about it or to fulfill a lifelong dream. Whatever the reason maybe, it is not a joke or a simple task in just becoming an entrepreneur or to start a business, the individual needs lots of resources such as capital, labor, technology/ technical know-how, and many other things. Location of this business and visibility and increased patronage is another factor to consider. Entrepreneurs extensively use the social networks to obtain access to a large population of people all over the world through the internet and also use contacts in decision making and sharing ideas. Social media Entrepreneurs operates their business online, this has greatly reduced unemployment all over the world (Greve and Salaff 2003). However, the researcher is examining social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development.
2. To examine the advantage so social media entrepreneurship.
3. To identify the factors militating against social media entrepreneurship.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Can social media entrepreneurship be used as a tool for national development?
2. What is the advantage so social media entrepreneurship?
3. What are the factors militating against social media entrepreneurship?
HO: Social media entrepreneurship cannot be used as a tool for national development
HA: Social media entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for national development
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The results of this study will throw light on approaches to social media entrepreneurship and how it can be used as a tool for national development.
2. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the social media entrepreneurship as a tool for national development will cover the activities of the entrepreneurs on the social media and the profitability with a view of determining its effect on national development.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (14th ed.) (2011). Principles of Marketing. Pearson Prentice Hall.
Greve, A. & Salaff, J.W. (2003). Social Networks and Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice28(1), 1-22.
Mangold, W. G and Faulds, D. J. (2009). Social Media: The New Hybrid Element of the Promotion Mix. Business Horizons 52: 357-365.
Simon, A. (2012). Management of the Innovation Process in Small Companies in Finland. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 36(10), 120-126.
Jaokar, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. Fourth. ed: Pearson Education.