Social networks have revolutionized the world. Nowadays, most people depend on social networks that they cannot imagine life without them. One of the most popular social networks is Facebook. Before using the site, a user first registers, creates a personal profile, and requests other users to be friends. The users can, then, exchange information and do a lot of other communication. Facebook is significant in the world social revolution involving the social media (Boyd, 2006). The ease of communication makes Facebook to be useful to many people. In February 2012, Manago, Taylor, and Greenfield (2012) estimated that there were more than 800 million active users. Apart from Facebook, other social networking services are Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Buzz net, among others.
Facebook has become part of human life. Every day, millions of people log in into the site to catch up on a wide variety of news such as politics, business, among others (White and Le, 2011). According to Boyd and Ellison (2007), social network marketing is the use of social networks for business purposes. Of late, the practice of social network marketing has gained momentum (Baron, 2008). I would like to investigate how banks in Cyprus perceive Facebook as a means of boasting their business. This entails establishing the opinions of the companies about promoting the use of Facebook among their customers and workers as a means of maximizing profitability.
The research will involve three banks from Cyprus that have large numbers of clients. These are the Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank, and Coop Bank Periferiaki Spe Nicosia’s. I will collect data using 54 close-ended questionnaires targeted at the employees in charge of publicity and advertisements in these banks. I favor questionnaires to other means of data collection (such as interviews) because of the busy schedules of the respondents (Stephenson, 2007). In addition, close-ended questionnaires will allow for the provision of specific answers that are crucial for the data analysis (Rouis, Moez, and Esmail, 2011). The interview questions will help prove or disapprove the following four hypotheses. This being a proposal, there is the possibility of revising the hypotheses at a future stage.
“An extensive use of Facebook as the main advertisement tool is more cost effective than using traditional methods of advertisement.”
The interview questions will establish the cost implications of switching from traditional methods of advertisement (like television and radio) to Facebook. Questions will seek to find out if the banks use Facebook for their advertisements. There will be comparisons between the profits accrued before and after the switch. I will attempt to establish the projected financial advantages of using Facebook for banks that have not adopted Facebook for their advertisement and communication (Danah, 2007). Research questionnaires will have a five level Likert scale in which I will rate the responses from the various companies.
“An extensive use of Facebook as advertisement and communication tool will boost bank sales.”
This hypothesis arises from the assumption that many people in Cyprus who use Facebook are also clients of the Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank, and Coop Bank Periferiaki Spe Nicosia’s. As a result, if the banks, for instance, form Facebook groups and encourage their clients to join the groups, this will boost the sales of the financial institutions (Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe, 2007). This is because the banks will be able to communicate the latest developments about products in the "fan page" and, thus, enable clients to be abreast with such developments. An instance could be the introduction of a new loan scheme in the market and, thus, informing clients of the advantages of this product.
The research questionnaires will have a Likert scale whereby I will tick according to the response that the various respondents will give.
“The use of Facebook in banks has a negative influence on the production of workers.”
The researcher aims at establishing perceived negative effects of the use of Facebook by profit-oriented organizations. The proposition is “if the use of Facebook in companies goes without control, it can negatively affect worker productivity” (Fraser and Dutta, 2008). This arises from the possibility that workers might spend company time communicating with friends on personal issues (Elphinston and Patricia, 2011). Workers may pretend that they are busy working in the computer. In the real sense, they might be chatting with friends.
Questions will establish the experiences of banks about the demerits of Facebook. Besides, the questions will establish the extent of Facebook use among the workers. There will be correlation analysis between worker productivity and Facebook use.
“The use of Facebook as a marketing tool is a fun and creative way of doing business.”
The researcher believes that social network marketing can replace the traditional approach of business and make workers and clients enjoy the shopping experience (Kazeniac, 2009). The researcher will test this hypothesis using questions that will highlight the feelings of the respondents about Facebook. Issues will involve how the respondents view Facebook as an effective replacement of traditional methods. The researcher will also establish the various creative ideas that respondents have on the use of Facebook as a marketing tool (Kim and Jong-Eun, 2011). Besides, I will establish if the respondents positively view the fun and creativity that Facebook promises(Mazer, Murphy and Simonds, 2007).
Primary data will support the research. Primary data will entail the answers from the 54 questionnaires obtained from respondents. The Likert scale will guide the scoring of the answers (Prensky, 2001). I purposely select the Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank and Coop Bank Periferiaki Spe Nicosia’s because they are the biggest firms that deal directly with consumers in Cyprus. The banks will suggest their respondents to the research and appointments made for issuing the questionnaires. There will be 18 respondents from each bank. Random sampling of the suggested respondents will enable the identification of the 18 respondents from each bank. The researcher will establish rapport with the top management of the banks by sending emails, hard copy letters and prior telephone conversations in order to ease access to the banks. I will obtain a letter of introduction from my university and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus.
Besides, I will inform the participants of the nature of the study and give explanations to any issues they may have. I will keep the respondents' opinions in confidence and use them for the sole purpose of the research.
The respondents will suggest the time for filling in and collecting of the questionnaires. Questions in the questionnaires will be short and straightforward so that the 54 respondents do not take more than 30 minutes to fill them. Besides, I will ensure the brevity of the questionnaires by using minimum questions (10-15) that will enhance the provision of comprehensive answers. My university research supervisor will validate the research questions.
Just as Stephenson (2007) suggests, the researcher will carry out a pilot study with another company that will not take part in the study. The pilot bank is the USB Bank. This firm is similar to the banks chosen for the study. For instance, it is in the stock exchange and has an extensive clientele. Piloting will involve all the procedures planned for collecting and analyzing the data so that improvement of the study instruments is possible before the study. Besides, the pilot study will serve to establish how reliable and valid the research items are.
The use of publicity and advertisement employees from the three banks may not give out representative data. This is because the answers are prone to personal biases. The use of a large number of clients and other workers of the banks would provide representative and unbiased data. However, due to time and economic constraints, I will only use the 54 bank representatives.