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COMMERCE 7039 Business Research : Social Networks in Business

Topic: Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Social Networks in Business.


Scope and Objectives of Literature Review

In this section, the literature review is prepared to address some relevant scope of study and to meet some objectives as well. The scope of literature review suggests emphasizing over identifying advantages and disadvantages of social media over business and marketing. Moreover, the context of the study was to portray the findings of review on the topic discussion. Currently, social media is recognized to be major ubiquitous and important element for networking, content sharing, and online access (Hugstad and Durr 2015). For social media being reliable, consistent and instantaneous; it offers wider business scope in online marketing. Marketing through social media could be effective in terms of social media marketing, availing businesses to reach its targeted audiences with ease. Social media marketing could face some certain challenges and hindrances while incorporating with existing business processes. This particular piece of study depicts a suitable overview of the pros and cons of social media in marketing and business. Major objectives of literature review are identified as:

  1. To identify advantages and disadvantages of social media in business
  2. To perform research on the agenda so that findings could support business process to incorporate with social media  
  3. To formulate research questions and initialize an appropriate research methodology

Literature Review 

Social Media Marketing and Features 

Social media marketing is basically recognized as using social media to be preferable channels to increase organization popularity for achieving promotion. Social media encourages users with spreading information among individual group of people and social media marketing boosts user attraction with gaining trust through mass communication within mass marketing. Social media entrepreneurs are becoming more effective sharing information to introduce newly developed products or services to users directly through social media platforms. Needless to demonstrate about, this strategy is most common in Facebook. According to Leonardi, Huysman and Steinfield, (2013), Facebook has more than 900 million active users; marketing through Facebook could attract millions. This feature extends to other social media applications as well; while Twitter being micro blogging social network; allows user to know about updates and advertisements about featured products and services. Social media approach is most essential for ensuring higher response rate from millions of users.  

Advantages of Social Media 

Bryman and Bell (2015) cited that popularity of social media and digital marketing lies in some suitable sets of advantages. However, primary advantage of social media is reducing expenditure while gaining exponential rate of responses from several social media users. Social media platforms can share important information about the featured product so that user could gain before-hand experience and awareness about the product. Some advantages are identified in this section as following:  

Cost-related advantage: Bott and Spillius (2014) opined that primary usefulness of social media marketing is reduction of cost that is generally incurred from conducting marketing campaigns, advertisements,

and content sharing. Major social media sites are free to use and access; allowing entrepreneurs to share introduction about products.

Social Interactions: Consumer behavior studies revealed that advice and information shared online are of greater consideration for users and individuals. Aral, Dellarocas and Godes (2013) claimed that such information is essential for casting potential influence buying decision of the mass audience.

Achievement of Targeted Market: Social media offers ability for reaching targeted audiences and market depending on site users’ individual interests and their friends’ choice. Social networking encloses high promotion to products more than bunch of advertisements could do.

Customer Service: Customer service another significant area for consideration in social media marketing. Logistics system guarantees faster services after checkout with values to customer satisfaction; turns out to be contributing to loyal customer behavior. Customers often prefer to get product or service delivery in time such as FedEx and UPS.

Disadvantages of Social Media 

Above-mentioned advantages are potential causes to incorporate social media in business; though, some disadvantages are identified that could hinder some benefits in business. Disadvantages are mentioned as following:

Time-intensive: Social media is interactive and successful; however, two-way exchange in social media requires commitment. From entrepreneur side, some personnel should be responsible for responding to customer comments, answering to their FAQs, and post certain product information as per their requirement and necessity.    

Trademark and Copyright Issues: Organizations should monitor social media platforms for assuring that provided content should not be misusing intellectual property. Organizations should consider revision in contents, reserving user names, and trademarks along with certain terms and conditions.  

Trust, Security, and Privacy Issues: Utilization of social media could possibly promote product and business brand; though, products and services should be able to implicate trust, security, and data privacy (Chen, Tan, and Tu, 2015). Particularly, transactional security and privacy poses major role for gaining customer loyalty for social media entrepreneurs. Generally, social media such as Facebook and Twitter has privacy policies that protect customer data and personal information from third-party conduct in social media.  

User-generated Contents: In most of the cases, user generated post, shared thoughts, and overview could direct other users to react accordingly. Some users could be distracted to harmfulness of content and some could get attracted to post controversies. This disadvantage requires attention from particular marketers to intervene.     

Negative Feedbacks: Often audience interest could be damaged from negative post responses (Wu, 2013). Industry competitors or unhappy customers can post disparaging posts, comments, pictures to make customer interests diminished.

Kong and Bi (2014) demonstrated that online marketing environment increases several opportunities and challenges for social media practitioners. Social media permit enterprises and corporations for collecting, registering, analyzing, and using customer data to achieve proper online audience targeting and customization of messages. Zaglia et al., (2015) depicted the thought of designing and implementing a suitable model for integrating social media in marketing for certain business characteristics.

Comparative Analysis 

Social media strategies are more of integral part of online community along with social network involvement. In this section, social network marketing strategies that are used by organizations are depicted in following table.

Corporate Organizations




Social Network Strategy


Social Network Strategy


Created games and strengthened their brand image for targeting markets’ mind  


Organized types of online quiz with creating product tags; so that customer can contend along with their friend


Created online quiz applications for customers to  challenge friends about company products to spread brand awareness   


Promoted products so that user could recommend products to friends


Created advertisements, video, web-advertisements, and viral marketing  


Spread information for potential customers within the social media network  


Launched open ID platform for direct interaction with common users

Inter-pacific securities

Challenged customers and their friends about company products  


Made an application for product introduction to customers  

Table 1: Comparative Analysis of Different Social Media Marketing Strategies

(Source: Castells 2015, p. 982)

Common social networking tools utilized for businesses included as following: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, and Twitter.

Facebook: Kim and Sherraden (2014) demonstrated that Facebook is identified to be linked with individual profiles on geographic, corporate, or educational networks. The market could be available for several users and these social media access is currently free.

Twitter: In Twitter, any individual can post links for certain products, newly launched services, and other sites information (Wagner, Beimborn and Weitzel, 2014). In this site, followers and fellow viewers can re-post or re-tweet the same among other group of people.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn network includes more than 43 million users among 170 industry domains (Boso, Story and Cadogan 2013). This social media network permits other users for inviting anyone for becoming potential connection between friends. This particular social media offers individual business network over online to provide access to other people, job opportunities, and businesses.

YouTube: In this social media site, people can watch and share videos about certain ideas, products; so that existing or newly introduced business can progress with better attraction. User can post comment on each video with their individual thoughts so that interest could be spread among viewers.    

Flickr: Flickr is recognized as Yahoo! owned site that shares photo and hosts related services for users (Zuber 2015). This social media allows user for utilizing helpful features such as sharing photos free of cost and preserving photos with security level. Commonly, Flickr could showcase products for several others users and they could avail those products online as well.  

Quality and Currency of articles and sources used 

In this literature study, several secondary studies are considered so that most consistent findings could be addressed for reviewing. Numerous articles and journals are emphasized over literature review for making the review more informative with outcomes. Quality of study being secondary, the literature review faces some limitations in research that are further discussed in other sections. Articles and sources of study are chosen to be in the year range of 2012 to 2016, making the literature review to talk about most recent evidences (Tata and Prasad 2015). Recent outcomes are incorporated in this piece of study to make easier approach to formulate research questions. Secondary studies are considered for detailed and in-depth support of theoretical evidences to pinpoint advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing.

Furthermore, the literature sources are properly referenced and cited in the review section so that necessarily all sources could be related in aspect of the topic. The agenda is demonstrated in view of such secondary studies for making the review empirical in terms of performing comparative study on international and local corporate business. The comparative analysis is conducted to devise individual marketing strategy for both international and local business entrepreneurs. International and local corporate organizational practices are included so this study could propose better approach to research methodology.

Identified Gaps and Drawn Conclusions 

In this literature review a current gap is identified within perspectives of social media marketing research . The review of literature points out need for future studies for exploring gained benefits by social media marketing on social media sites for smaller retailers. Instead of initial research on the agenda, the development in social media marketing lacked in significant level. Furthermore, the smaller retailer perspective is limited in social media integration for business. Certain issues are raised as in how smaller retailers should utilize social media within specific business model, how social media could increase their customer base, sales and improve brand awareness successfully.

Relatively, the drawn conclusions from literature study could make above-mentioned things clear about marketer approach for particular product or brand. Literature review can consider both theoretical and nontraditional media for engaging customers for reaching their target market. Smaller retailers in business and medium entrepreneurs could gather lessons from this particular literature review.

Research Project Introduction and Justification

Introduction: In the recent days, with the advancement of the information technology, the number of social media users have increased in an exponential rate. Recent studies showed that Facebook and WhatsaApp holds the largest number of active users with 1871 and 1000 million users (Muchnik, Aral and Taylor 2013).

Figure 1: Number of Social Media Users For 2017

(Source: Smart Insights 2017)

In the business purposes, Hajli (2014) showed that the platform of social media offers an intensive opportunity to the business for interacting and connecting with the customers, driving the traffic to the website, promoting the brand and brand image.

Justification: The significant aim conducting the study is to identify the relevant advantages and underlying disadvantages of using social media for business purposes. The study will allow the readers in understanding the market development strategy that are followed by the business while incorporating social media.   

Research Question and Justification

According to King et al., (2014), various business organizations are exploiting the power of social media for reaching huge customer base within minimum time. Ellison, Gibbs and Weber (2015) illustrated that the determination of the appropriate research questions allows the researcher in in-depth evaluation of the undertaken topic.  For the identification of the related advantages and disadvantages of social media on business, the following are the list of research questions:  

  • What are that process and techniques that the companies undertake for using social media within their business process?
  • What are the positive and negative impact of social media within the business?
  • How businesses can harness the power of social media knowing the significant disadvantages associated with it?
  • How the social media shape the relationship of the customer with their business organization?

Justification: The developed research questions allows in understanding and analyzing the process undertaken by various business organization and their association with the social media for gaining the competitive advantage in the market. Further, the research question will provide the business organization with the particular way of carting the advantages of social media for expanding the business considering the underlying disadvantages.

Research Methodology

The application of the appropriate process and techniques of research methodology allows the researcher to gain complete and specific information for conducting the study (Yu, Duan and Cao 2013). Following the detailed process of research methodologies helps in evaluating the information for identification of the particular advantages and relevant disadvantages of using social media platform for the business purposes. According to Nowi?ski and Rialp (2016), following the research methodology allows in eliminating the errors and mistakes during the data collection and analyses process. In this particular study, the analyst has selected particular process of research philosophy for better and in-depth analysis of the impact of using social media in business operations.

Research Philosophy

The use of appropriate research philosophy provides significant sources in defining the assumptions considered for conducting the research. Furthermore, the research philosophy reveals the nature of information and process of research for providing proper data and alignment for the study. Uzzi, (2014) showed for conducting a study, there exists four types of philosophy namely Positivism, Realism, Pragmatism and Interpretivism.

In this study, for the identification of the advantages and disadvantages of Social Network in Business, Positivism Philosophy has been selected as the applicable philosophy. The use of Positivism allowed in fluently utilizing the theories and logic in scientific manner for excavating the relevant information. In addition to that, due to the cross sectional characteristics and limited time, the analyst has rejected the use of Pragmatism, Interpretivism and Realism Philosophy.  

Research Approach

Serrat (2017) showed that the research approach provides the actual format that needs to be carried for developing the research study. Based on the time and characteristic of the research topic, the research approach can be divided into three major division namely abductive, deductive and inductive approach. In most of the cases, the relevancy of hypothesis are used for selecting the appropriate approach.

Deductive Approach has been selected as most suitable for conducting the undertaken study. The deductive approach allows the author in identifying the relevant factor forming the disadvantages and advantages in business for the application of social network. Furthermore, the application of the deductive approach allows in determining and proving the assumptions considered for identification of the underlying disadvantage and advantage of social network. In this study, no new theories, concept and ideas will be presented. Therefore, the author has rejected inductive and abductive approach. Apart from that, the deductive approach has created the path for defining and using the past studies and theories for providing justified conclusion to the undertaken research.

Research Design 

The selection of the appropriate design provide the appropriate structure for data collecting and evaluating for research purposes. The utilization of the particular technique of design provides the nature and characteristic of data analysis process.  Hohenthal, Johanson and Johanson (2014) showed the existence of three major types of research design namely descriptive, exploratory and explanatory.  

For the research design, the analyst has chosen Descriptive Design. The application of the descriptive design will allow the author in defining and allocating the events in relevant with the appropriate timeline and analyzing its impact over the undertaken study. For the identification of the advantages and disadvantages, the analyst will study the impact of the social network over the business and operations. Furthermore, due to time limitation the use of explanatory and exploratory design were rejected from application.

Data Collection Procedure

Paniagua and Sapena (2014) cited that the selection of the appropriate and relevant sources of data for evaluating the information helps in extracting and catering the required data for penetrating the undertaken study. In academic research, the two significant data sources that are widely used includes secondary data source and primary data sources. According to Wamba and Carter (2016), the application of the primary data sources provides with the raw data that requires the clarification of data validity and data reliability. Apart from that, the application of secondary sources allows broadening the concept and understanding the topic with theoretical perspective.

In this study, the secondary sources of data are used for identifying the “advantages and disadvantages of social network in business”. For gaining the relevant information, the researcher will use websites, book, published journals and articles.

Data Analysis Techniques

The selection of the data analysis techniques allows the author in evaluating the collected data for obtaining the particular results from the information. Hudson and Thal (2013) illustrated that the use of quantitative analysis techniques provides with the statistical information from the gathered data. While the qualitative analysis provides theoretical concepts and understanding of the undertaken study. In this research, since data will be gathered from secondary sources, qualitative data analysis techniques will be used.

Research Schedule 

Main activities/ stages

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Selecting the required topic for research

·  Y        







Developing the research aim, objective and questions

·        Y  

·   Y       






Creating a draft layout for carrying out the study


·     Y     






Reviewing the relevant literature


·      Y    

· Y      

·    Y      




Developing the final plan for conducting the study



·      Y    

·     Y     




Selecting appropriate methodologies for research




·      Y    

·        Y  



Gathering information of secondary data sources





·        Y  

·   Y      


Conducting qualitative analysis





·          Y



Identifying the findings and results






·   Y     


Developing the research conclusion








Drafting the entire study






·       Y   

·        Y  

Submitting the paper






·          Y

·       Y   

Introduction and Reflective Journal Scope

Introduction: Stam, Arzlanian and Elfring, (2014) showed that the use of the reflective journal is helpful in recording the learning outcome and experience of the research while conducting the study. In addition to that, the reflective journal allows in recording and reflecting the responses and observation found during the study. In this particular study for the identification of the advantages and disadvantages of social network in business, the reflective journals records the experiences and events faced by the researcher.

Scope of Reflective Journal: The reflective journal presented for the “identification of the advantages and disadvantages of social network in business” provides the complexity faces, opportunities identified by the researcher. In addition to that, the reflective journal presents the characteristics and theories identified and the process followed while conducting the undertaken study.

Critically and depth of learning reflection reflective analysis

Before selecting an appropriate topic for conducting the study, I have identified that in recent days almost every business organization is involved with the application and utilization of social network like Facebook and Twitter for increasing their customer base and achieving brand recognition. I have selected the research topic for the identification and evaluation of the significant advantages and underlying disadvantages of using social network in business.  After selecting the particular topic, I have identified the particular objectives and aim for conducting the study. Based on the identified objectives, I have reviewed the existing literature, articles, journals and research paper conducted on similar topics by various authors. For ensuring the reliability and validity of information used in the literature review, I have selected peer reviewed articles and the journals published after 2013. From the literature review, I was able to identify the various factors and concepts that acts as an advantage and disadvantage to the business organization while using the social network. I have utilized the literature review as the source of secondary data and identified the existing gap in literature for conducting the detailed research. From the research gap and literature review, I have developed the appropriate research question that I will follow in order to obtain the accurate results and gaining detailed information about the impact of social media in business. I have further studied various process and methodologies that can be used in academic study for defining the appropriate path and technique for collecting and analysis of the information. Through the research methodology I was able to characterize the undertaken study and information that will be used for analyzing the topic. After the completion of the study, I have developed a report of the proposal and submitted to the university for gaining approval for conducting the study.  


The detailed review of the existing literature showed that majority of the business organization are currently using social network for communicating with the customers, expanding their customer based and increasing their brand value. The application of social network as the medium for strategic planning has both advantage and disadvantage of the business. As the social network provides significant opportunities for business expansion, the underlying limitations and negative impact cannot be overseen. Therefore, it has been essential to evaluate the current procedure followed by the business for using social network as a tool for strategic marketing. In addition to that, the further study would help in evaluating the process for applying the social network in spite of the negative impact and disadvantage for using the advantage for business opportunities.


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