• The digital dilemma: An investigation into social media marketing within organisations

      Longbottom, David; Lawson, Alison; Hanlon, Annmarie (University of Derby, 2019-03-18)
      This thesis investigates different application of social media marketing within organisations and identifies critical success factors resulting in a strategic social media application framework for organisations. The context of this research is the organisational application of social media and whilst social media networks have been present since 1997, the utilisation of social media by individuals has been examined by many scholars. However its application to organisations remains an area requiring further research. Thus, to understand differences in social media marketing within organisations, this thesis has problematised the notion of generational cohorts and the presence or absence of formal marketing qualifications.Following a pragmatist epistemology and ontology, this study has sought warranted assertions within a mixed-methods framework. An explanatory mixed-methods sequential design approach was adopted and for Research Phase One, an online survey within a set of closed online digital marketing groups was administered, to investigate the purposes of social media usage and affordances gained. This provided data from 448 respondents representing a variety of organisations, using social media at work. The second research phase was qualitative semi-structured interviews with participants drawn from Research Phase One, which involved 26 semi-structured mixed-mode interviews, based on the participant’s availability and location. The purpose of the semi-structured interviews was to explore critical issues raised in the online survey.The thesis is informed by the construct of affordances – which involve opportunities for action and positive affordances provide benefits. These were harnessed to delineate the benefits of social media, within an organisational context. This work provides original contributions to knowledge: The empirical research provides evidence of differences in social media marketing application between generational cohorts and those with and without formal marketing qualifications. There were statistically significant differences in the application of customer service, measuring results and managing social media interaction.The research found that there was no classification for different types of social media managers. Furthermore, digital skills gaps were identified as digital natives were more likely to have formal marketing qualifications than digital immigrants. Thus following the pragmatic principle, working typologies were presented for those using social media in organisations to better frame training and social media management. The critical success factors within organisations were justifiably warranted which asserted social media affordances for organisations: brand management, customer segmentation, customer service, interaction (engagement), entertainment, remuneration (offers), and sales cycle (testimonies and reviews). Two critical factors were confirmed: clear strategy and vision for social media management, and measure results from social media. These social media affordances were applied at varying levels of maturity and this led to the development of social media affordances maturity scale, that is grounded in a pragmatist epistemology bringing utility and understanding for organisations. This thesis identifies differences in social media marketing within organisations and in accordance with its aim, ascertains the critical success factors and develops frameworks for social media application in organisations.