The impact of social media on the marketing strategies of South African businesses

Dateling, Michelle Jenna
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Social media is the new buzz area in marketing that has businesses, organisations and brands jumping to create news; make friends, connections and followers; and build communities in the virtual space. Social media and a plethora of networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare, blogging and the like have become very topical in the marketing domain. The internet has fundamentally reshaped our social lives. Consumer behaviour is changing and businesses need to incorporate this change into their marketing strategies. The purpose of this research was to understand the impact of social media on South African businesses and how South African businesses were adapting their marketing strategies to incorporate social media. A qualitative research study was conducted using semi-structured email interviews with 15 social media experts. Content analysis and concept mapping techniques were used to analyse the data captured. Some key findings show that in a South African context, while social media is still relatively new, some organisations have really flourished and are beginning to enjoy the fruits of their social media campaigns. There is a large drive in South Africa towards social media as businesses have recognised the importance of the trend, and there are now many marketing conferences offering special social media tutorials and tips on how to get it right. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MXit and YouTube are enjoying various degrees of success across South African businesses. Currently, South African businesses are mainly using social media for three things, namely digital product promotion, customer care/online reputation management and the distribution of content, all of which play an important role in the marketing process. Social media can be used for internal communications as well as a method of engaging with both existing and potential new customers. Lastly, a simple diagrammatic framework is recommended for organisations that are uncertain of which platform to select in order to best launch their social media initiatives
MBA thesis - WBS
Social media , Marketing