Prepare a report assessing advantages and disadvantages of the business of your choice in building a social networking plan for improving its social presence. This would enable you to recommend methods and approaches to promote products and services while building an excellent communication channel with customers. | Business Management Studies| Social Networking and Enterprise Contents 1 Introduction2 2 Main Findings3 2. 1Advantages and Disadvantages to using Social Networking sites3 2. 1. 1 Advantages3 2. 1. 2 Disadvantage3 2. 2 Current Social Activity4 2. 2. 1 Facebook4 . 2. 2 Twitter4 2. 2. 3 LinkedIn4 2. 3 Social presence is used in conjunction with the other offline and online marketing channels4 3 Analysis and Conclusion5 3. 1 Time Plan5 3. 2 Final Strategy5 3. 3 Conclusion5 4 References & Bibliography6 5 Appendices7 1 Introduction Social Networking sites, for years, have been one of the most popular methods of brand marketing, for a variety of businesses. By using social networking businesses are able to grow and succeed, because it helps them strengthen business relationships and generate a much larger customer base.
The speed at which people in both their personal and professional lives, have begun to use social media is unmatched. “While it took radio 38 years and the internet seven years to reach and audience of 50 million, Facebook achieved the same milestone in its third year. ”(Ernst & Young, 2011) In this report I will show how each platform can be used to strengthen and grow the company. Platforms this report will look at include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This report will be looking at the current and potential social networking activity of The Champions Life Academy.
They’re a small business, based in London, who run a student orientated internships each summer; helping the students to increase their team work, management and sales skills. Using knowledge gain while taking part in champions summer internship, this report will be looking at the different platforms that Champions are already using, at the same time this report will access a number of different ways in which champions can improve upon their current social networking activity.
Because Champions are a student development company it is important that they stay on top of current and on trend with technology. As well as looking a possible solutions that Champions could use in the future, this report will also look at the advantages and disadvantages of social networking platforms, and whether using them is the best way forward for Champions Life Academy. By the end of the report Champions will have a clear view of what is needed to continue the expansion of the company, and how social networking can help them in achieving this goal. Main Findings “Champions Life Academy is a student development programme that prepares young people for the business world and beyond whilst offering those that excel opportunities to develop new enterprises within the organisation. “ Champions are a small business, with only 6 full time members of staff and 1 placement year student. It all started when the founders Al Brown and John Pordum went on the BBC television show dragons den.
Even though their trip was unsuccessful, they’re past experience in door-to-door sales was interesting to Peter Jones, “who suggested that the sales skills they developed during that time, must have been instrumental in why they had gone on to run a number of different businesses”. At the start of the programme, in 2008, they had a small group of 27 students, then 45 in 2009, and 95 in 2010. With its popularity growing it more than doubled to 200 in 2011; this has equalled an 800% increase in just 4 years.
Champions are now established as one of the top internships in the country, and their focus continues to be to create the best development programme possible. With the company looking to expand it is important that they create connection with a variety of different other organisations, current connections include blackberry and KFC. 2. 1Advantages and Disadvantages to using Social Networking sites There is no one way for all companies to use social networking sites; it all depends on the different platforms they use.
This can vary from allowing a company to improve communication and productivity within its employees, as well as with the users. Below are a list of potential advantages and disadvantages for Champions Life Academy when it comes to using social networking sites: 2. 1. 1 Advantages – Open communication; they will be able to connected with people to form a web of connections that could lead to enhanced information discovery and delivery. – Builds Credibility; being able to communicate with people on both a personal and professional level, gives them a chance to gain customer confidence as well as widening business contacts.
This can all be done with minimal use of advertising. – Low Costs; using social networking is cheap for both personal and business use, mainly because the majority of the time it free. A lot of the facilities available to businesses are underestimated; champions have access to potential customers and target markets with just a few clicks of the mouse. Having an insight into the likes and dislikes of their target audience gives a large advantage over companies who don’t use social networking. “Expands market research, implements marketing campaigns, delivers communications and directs interested people to specific websites. 2. 1. 2 Disadvantage -Scams and Harassment; there is the potential for security failure against hackers attempting to commit fraud, as well as viruses. People are more and more often falling victim to online scams, which can result in identity or theft. – Time Consuming; event though keeping each platform up to date is important, it can be time consuming and cause a lack of productivity in other areas of work, particularly if staff are using it more for personal that business use. 2. 2 Current Social Activity 2. 2. 1 Facebook
Facebook is one of the most view website in the world, with over 900,000 active users, and over 500,000 of these people using Facebook on a daily basis. With access to such a large number of people around the world users are able to view the businesses website, blog, store, articles as well as deals and promotion that maybe going on. The current Champions Life Academy Facebook page (figure 7) is one of their main methods of advertising the company. It has over 750 likes so far, and this is continuously growing as more and more people hear about the company.
It is used to promote the Champions Life Academy internship as well as competitions that are being run by the company. Most of these are for students who have already taken part in the program, but it is also a place where student looking to take part in the program can find out about the company and what they’ll get from the internship. Even though there are semi-regular posts to the page and there is a reasonable amount of information about the company and their awards, there needs to be more photographs upload as well as information about daily life as a champion’s fundraiser. 2. 2. 2 Twitter
Twitter has become a major player in the social networking stakes, with over 500 million users who generate over 340 tweets each day. By a business using twitter, they can directly communicate with their customers, “Businesses that reply to customer tweets are likely to have 27% more follower than a company that doesn’t reply to customers” (Ernst & Young, 2011) The Champions Life Academy twitter page (figure 8) currently has around 335 followers, even with this level of followers the page has been neglected in a way, and there isn’t enough post, especially for this ever growing platform.
With such a large number of people using twitter on a daily basis it is important that this research is used to its full potential. Current post work in conjunction with what is going on within the company, but they are few and far between. 2. 2. 3 LinkedIn LinkedIn is not the average social networking site. It is for people with professional occupations, and can be used to communicate with employees, customers and rival organisations. It allows people to find out current and up to date information about an organisation and individuals.
LinkedIn is a more business orientated social networking site. Through LinkedIn champions are able to connect with a variety of other company and past and present students. Using LinkedIn (figure 9) has allowed champions to connect with past students who are now working in a variety of industries, and want to continue their connection with the company. It also allows current students connect with champions and make the most of using their reference to help them with their future employment. . 3 Social presence is used in conjunction with the other offline and online marketing channels As well as being on a number of different social networking sites, Champions Life Academy is also a part of the website: * ratemyplacement. com; where student can apply to take part in both the summer and Easter program, it is also a place where student who have taken part in the program can leave review about their experience on the program.
Through this website they have won a variety of awards including NCWE ‘Overall Work Placement of the Year,’ ‘Work Placement of the Year (Under 10 Employees) winners and Highly Commended ‘Work Placement of the Year – as Voted by a Careers Service’ 2011. Through the award they have won; it is clear that using this website has enabled them to become an exclusive and much wanted internship. Even with an 800% increase over the past four years, the program is still only able to take on less than 20% of the people who apply for a place on the programme. Analysis and Conclusion SECTION 3 – Analysis and Conclusions – clear and well defined summaries that are supported with discussions and justifications on effective solutions for building a social presence for your chosen business. (40 marks available) 3. 1 Time Plan When coming up with a time plan for champions to use, it is essential to know which social channel to use. We are going to make a time plan that will give different approaches and methods to help champions increase their presence on Twitter.
When it comes to using twitter to help your business, there are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that you make the most of this ever growing social platform. The time plan shown in figure 2 shows the 3 months’ worth of work for promoting champions life academy using twitter. Figure 3 shows a full gantt chart, illustrating the time plan, and how long it may take to increase champions life academy on twitter. 3. 2 Final Strategy See figure 6 for full strategy. The best method for champions implementing this strategy will be to use to a six stage social media framework (figure 4).
The six stages are: 1. Plan: Discover what you want to achieve by using social networking sites and how you need to approach social media as a whole. 2. Monitor: Evaluate the conversations on each social media platform, and with the organisation. This will allow you to gain insight into the wants of your customer audience Listen to the social media conversations taking place about your organisation and brand, while gaining insight into your customer’s perceptions (Google alerts, monitoring tools etc. ). 3.
Engage: Establish your organisations’ presence in the social media world, if you don’t start the social media conversations then someone else will. (Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. ). 4. Manage: make the most of the social media craze, and use it to establish and manage relationships that support the goals of the business; announcements, resolutions, new products/projects, campaigns and recruitment (e. g. Facebook activity, responses to tweets etc. ). 5. Measure: Recognise the impact of your social media strategy and repeatedly adjust it to improve the outcomes. . Integrate: Integrate your social media activities with your other on-line and off-line. 3. 3 Conclusion This report has looked at a variety of social media platforms, and has analysed both their advantages and disadvantage. After looking at champion life academy’s current activities on these websites, it became clear that this is one of their main areas to advertise. Using these platforms allows them direct access to their target audience, students. As well as looking at these individual platforms, this report has also looked at social networking as a whole.
Using a SWOT analysis (figure 1) shows the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to social media, reconfirming that there are more advantages than disadvantages to using social networking site to help promote your business. By using the time plan and final strategy, champions will be able to enhance each of their social media profiles individually as well as connecting them together. The plan is based upon the fact that the champion’s staff work very well as a team, and are constantly looking to move forward to bigger, more exciting projects. 4 References ; Bibliography
SECTION 4 – References and bibliography – You must reference all sources using the ASU Harvard Referencing Guide. You should aim for at least five credible reference sources but preferably more. (5 Marks available) You are expected to use credible and up to date reference sources about Social Networking and media. (15 marks available) Aniko communication. (2010). SWOT Analysis: Social Media. Available: http://anikocommunication. wordpress. com/swot-analysis-for-twitter/. [Accessed 19th November 2012]. ARKS KEYS TO PARTICIPATION-REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (2012) Planning and Choosing: Making a Time-Plan.
P1-8. Available at: http://homepages. ed. ac. uk/calarks/arks/Materials/particip/Making_a_Time_Plan. pdf [Accessed: 25th November 2012] Fryer, J. (2012). Tweet this: it pays to go social. National Liquor News. 31 (1/3), p15-15. James, O. (2010) ‘A load of Twitter’ The Sunday Times, February 22, 2009. http://women. timesonline. co. uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article5747308. ece. [Accessed 25th November 2012] Lewis, D. (2010) ‘A load of Twitter’ The Sunday Times February 22, 2009. http://women. timesonline. co. uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article5747308. ce. [Accessed 25th November 2012] Light, B. ; McGrath, K.. (2012). Emerald Article: Ethics and social networking sites: a disclosive analysis of Facebook. Information Technology ; People. 23 (4), p290 – 311. McKenna, K. Y. A. , ; Bargh, J. A. (1999). ‘Causes and consequences of social interaction on the Internet: A conceptual framework’. Media Psychology. v1. 249-269 Mind Tools Ltd. (1996). Locke’s Goal Setting Theory Understanding SMART Goal Setting. Available: http://www. mindtools. com/pages/article/newHTE_87. htm. [Accessed 19th November 2012]. Safko, L and Brake, D. 2009) ‘The Social Media Bible. New Jersey’: John Wiley & Sons. Sterne, J. (2010) ‘Social Media Metrics’, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. , Hoboken, New Jersey The Henley Centre for Customer Management. (2010). Developing a Social Media Strategy. Social Network. 1 (all), p1-51. Todi, M. (2008). Advertising on Social Networking Websites. Wharton Research Scholars Journal. 1 (1), p1-35. Willingger,W, Rejaie, R and Maggioni, M. (2009) Research on Online Social Networks: Time to Face the Real Challenges. University of Oregon. 5 Appendices (Figure 1) SWOT Analysis Threats Attitudes on privacy: while lately it seems everyone is willing to share the most intimate as well as mundane details of their life – there could easily be a backlash against this trend. •Has no solid revenue model (future advertisements? ). •May have trouble with unauthorized accounts on behalf of groups/government/organizations/people. •Paid twitter streams may hurt the brand image. Threats •Attitudes on privacy: while lately it seems everyone is willing to share the most intimate as well as mundane details of their life – there could easily be a backlash against this trend. Has no solid revenue model (future advertisements? ). •May have trouble with unauthorized accounts on behalf of groups/government/organizations/people. •Paid twitter streams may hurt the brand image. Opportunities •Great opportunity for individuals and organizations to connect and exchange information. •Promotions, news, events that can be offered through social media platforms. •Twitter could become our digital public face to the world. •Integration into real-time games, media, and apps. We’ve barely scratched the surface so far on what’s possible. Twitter as real time infrastructure. Quick delivery, branding opportunities, and enhanced marketing opportunities. •Twitter feeds that provide everything from alerts to new blog posts to breaking news and political messages. •Developing a following/ audience that auto-nurtures itself: Your efforts in Social media, together with the effort of your following may mean that your audience become your best sales people Opportunities •Great opportunity for individuals and organizations to connect and exchange information. •Promotions, news, events that can be offered through social media platforms. Twitter could become our digital public face to the world. •Integration into real-time games, media, and apps. We’ve barely scratched the surface so far on what’s possible. Twitter as real time infrastructure. •Quick delivery, branding opportunities, and enhanced marketing opportunities. •Twitter feeds that provide everything from alerts to new blog posts to breaking news and political messages. •Developing a following/ audience that auto-nurtures itself: Your efforts in Social media, together with the effort of your following may mean that your audience become your best sales people
Strengths Large market reach or penetration •Very useful if you are setting up a digital engagement strategy (to new people, young people) •build a conversation and converse with others and build close networking bonds •quick information exchange •Direct contact with audience (almost like face-to-face) •Lets you follow and connect with people/groups that interest you – but are not necessarily your friends (as with Facebook). Authors, celebrities, co-workers, colleges, organizations, whatever •Cost-effective in the sense most of the platforms are free.
They just demand time •Twitter is in a strong market position in micro-messaging. Facebook is the only real competitor here – and they attract users for different reasons. •Build strong, long term relationship. Strengths Large market reach or penetration •Very useful if you are setting up a digital engagement strategy (to new people, young people) •build a conversation and converse with others and build close networking bonds •quick information exchange •Direct contact with audience (almost like face-to-face) Lets you follow and connect with people/groups that interest you – but are not necessarily your friends (as with Facebook). Authors, celebrities, co-workers, colleges, organizations, whatever •Cost-effective in the sense most of the platforms are free. They just demand time •Twitter is in a strong market position in micro-messaging. Facebook is the only real competitor here – and they attract users for different reasons. •Build strong, long term relationship. Weaknesses •Unequal distribution of tweets. 90% of tweets are coming from the top 10% of the users. •Effort vs. esults: Even if it is more measurable than other channels, it is difficult (especially for small business operations) to balance the effort put on social media against the results obtained •Consistency: Engaging with your audience at a direct level means more efforts in terms of keeping a consistent message/ corporate image •Making up for mistakes: The time-frame to correct errors that affect your audience is less. Because you are heavily exposed, your company has to take action more promptly than if you weren’t (especially if people are having conversations about your brand, you will have to engage and clarify) Weaknesses Unequal distribution of tweets. 90% of tweets are coming from the top 10% of the users. •Effort vs. results: Even if it is more measurable than other channels, it is difficult (especially for small business operations) to balance the effort put on social media against the results obtained •Consistency: Engaging with your audience at a direct level means more efforts in terms of keeping a consistent message/ corporate image •Making up for mistakes: The time-frame to correct errors that affect your audience is less.
Because you are heavily exposed, your company has to take action more promptly than if you weren’t (especially if people are having conversations about your brand, you will have to engage and clarify) (Figure 2) Time Plan Enhancing Twitter Presence – Champions Life Academy| Month| Date| Key Events| Tasks| Jan| 7th| 1st profile remodel| Before anything, change the settings on the twitter account to connect with the face page (this means anything you put on twitter will automatically go onto the FB page and vice versa).
Tweet company mission statement “To profit for company, cause and self – to do things better than done the day before”. Responsible: Ben Laurence| | 10th| | Using other social networking sites, promote the company twitter name to gain more followers. Responsible: Ben Laurence| | 17th| Promote champions programs| Tweet about the champions upcoming Easter program, getting followers to retweet this will advertise to 100’s of others, including potential fundraisers.
Responsible: Ben Laurence| | 21st| Connect social profiles together| Connect the champions Facebook page with it twitter page to ensure that news posted on one, also goes on the other. Responsible: Ben Laurence| | 26th| | Tweet a message wishing all followers a good weekend; for added interest attach an idea of some of the champions staff in or out of the office. Responsible: Ben Laurence| | 29th| Promote up-to-date events| Tweet about any event coming up in the following week, including ambassador meetings, corporate event etc.
Responsible: Ben Laurence| Feb| 4th| Link with other social media profiles| Tweet referring people to the champions’ facebook, linkedin and tumblr pages. Create interest in your other social media sites. Responsible: Simon Lucey| | 11th| Promote champions work place atmosphere| Show people the exciting work place at champions by tweeting images of the summer program or the office staff. Responsible: Simon Lucey| | 18th| Promote champions programs| To increase interest in the Easter and summer programs, tweet a link to ‘ratemyplacement. com’ to get people to apply.
Responsible: Simon Lucey| | 25th| Promote up-to-date events| Tweet and update of what’s happened in the week, keeping followers up to date with and company progress. Responsible: Simon Lucey| March| 4th| Increase interest in program applications| Twitter: tweet information about company holiday to Tenerife; get people interested in the program + motivation. Responsible: Ramneet Toor| | 11th| Monitor audience points of view| Tweet asking people what they look for an internship; feedback will allow you to get an insight into the view of your target audience, (promote retweeting).
Responsible: Ramneet Toor | | 18th| Connect with outside companies to promote champions interests| Tweet a number of outside companies praising new project, this will get you on their radar, and may lead a future business connection. Responsible: Ramneet Toor| | 21st| | Tweet and update of what’s happened in the week, keeping followers up to date with and company progress. Responsible: Ramneet Toor| | 25th| | Twitter: tweet about any event coming up in the following week, including ambassador meetings, corporate event etc. Responsible: Ramneet Toor| (Figure 3) Gantt Chart; illustrating the time plan. Figure 3) Gantt Chart; illustrating the time plan. (Figure 4) The six stage social media model. (Figure 5) Dr Edwin Locke’s Goal Setting Theory 1990. (Figure 6) Final Strategy Research| Because of the industry that champion’s life academy is in, the largest customer audience is the student population; to confirm this it would simple to look at the majority of champion’s followers on twitter or the people who’ve liked them on Facebook. “Champions Life Academy is a dynamic, entrepreneurial organisation developing talent in young people, helping to prepare students for their careers ahead.
Recognising that practical sales and leadership experience is often the most desirable attribute on a CV, Champions Life Academy has devised a summer programme specifically for students and graduates”. (ratemyplacement. com, 2012)| Goals| To define the social media goals of champions’ life academy we will use Dr Edwin Locke’s Goal Setting Theory 1990 (figure 5). Specific; To increase the presence and popularity of champions using social networking sites. This can be broken down into smaller tasks by focusing on one platform at a time.
Measurable; To measure the success of the time plan, there will target for the number follower to have increase to a certain amount each month. Champions currently have 357 followers on twitter. January 2013 – 400 followersFebruary 2013 – 450 followersMarch 2013 – 500 followersIf these targets aren’t hit, then it is clear that the time plan need to be rearranged to incorporate more activities to promote champions to a wider audience. Action-orientated; to make sure that these goals are achieved champions will be following the time plan (figure 2).
Once these goals have been met, champions can then use the time plan to enhance their presence on other social media platforms. Realistic; the goal to enhance champions presence of a variety of social media platforms, is a simple goal, but with such a small business it may take time to see any large results. With such a small number of staff it will be important that the responsibility for keep each social platform is shared between the team; Al Brown, John Pordum, Alex Merry, Chris Wallis, Nick O’Shea, Christian Gibbons, Benjamin Laurence and Ramneet Toor (placement student).
With the guideline stated above, champions will be monitoring their progress through the level of followers they have. These are achievable targets because champions already have over 700 likes on Facebook, but half as many followers on twitter. Time-bound; the time plan has allocated 3 month to show results for champions on twitter, for a small business this a satisfactory amount of time. It is likely to be less when moving onto other platforms e. g. Facebook and LinkedIn. | Channels| The social networking sites that champions is register to are facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube and tumblr.
Other sites that are becoming more and more popular are pinterest and google+. Pinterest; this site allows users to share images with their follower, this would be a great platform to use if champions wanted to share their images of easter/summer programs as well as the annual award ceremonies. Google+; is very similar to facebook, it is a site where you share news and photograph with friends and families. “The Google+ design team sought to replicate the way people interact offline more closely than is the case in other social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The project’s slogan is “Real-life sharing rethought for the web. ” (Google, 2012)| Resources| The champions’ life academy is a small team made up of 7 permanent members of staff and one placement student. This put restrictions on the level of resources available when it comes to keeping each social media platform up to date. Each member of the team is highly capable to using all the over mentioned social networking sites. In many business environments, using social networking sites is prohibited. At champions the individual twitter/facebook account are just as important as the business pages.
The staff use their personal pages to repost information about champions helping it reach further than it initial followers. With such a lack of resources it is important that each member of the team takes the time up-date each of the platforms. By the team pulling together, it will ensure that all relevant information is posted, and they keep their follower up-to-date with the latest events. | Educate| To ensure that the people can find the details they need about champions, it is important that that information on all social media profiles is kept up to date, as well as the information on the main company website and ‘ratemyplacement’.
To get people interested in the workings of the company and potentially the Easter and summer programs, it is important to post a steady stream on updates. This can be joined by competitions, promotion and one off exciting news. Because champions are a company that focuses on the skills of students, it is essential to educate both past and future fundraisers the tool they need to success in the business world.
As well as this being something they teach on the actual programs, a good idea would be to continue these lesson through the companies varies profiles:YouTube; being the 2nd largest search engine on the web means that for even search there will be thousands of results. To ensure any video uploaded get viewed, champions need to make sure the message they send is accurate and relevant. Video tutorials are being more and more popular, this will allow champions to teach their skills on a global scale.
Facebook and Twitter; using these two sites allow champions’ to send posted about motivation and skills that help student in their day to day lives at university as well as in the work place. | Convert| Introduce services/offers to your usersBecause champions’ is an even growing business, it is important to continually to be connecting with other external companies, as well as a growing customer audience. Keeping that audience aware of your progress is essential. With current connections including blackberry mobile and KFC, champions’ is looking to connect with businesses that will appeal to student, allow champions to send then