EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING AS A COMPETITIVE STRATEGY ON SALES PERFORMANCE FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN NAKURU CBD
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The importance of social media in enhancing positive relationships between customers and business cannot be ignore since they offer new and innovative ways to communicate and network via the internet. Currently, there are various platforms provided by the social media networks such as Facebook, Google plus, LinkedIn, YouTube, Skype, WhatsApp and Twitter which are used as tools for marketing. Social media has opened a new perspective in the way business is conducted. Technology acceptance model theory and social media marketing theory was used in this research to provide deep understanding in social media. The study sought to determine effects of social media marketing strategies on performance of small and medium enterprise in Nakuru Central Business District. The study was guided by the following objectives: To establish the social media strategies adopted by small and medium enterprises to enhance sales performance in Nakuru CBD, to explore the use of social media by small and medium enterprises in customer acquisition, to determine how the adopted social media strategies help SMEs in improving customer service and customer retention, to examine the effectiveness of social media marketing in influencing buying decisions. The research adopted survey design. The study targeted the 350 registered small and medium enterprises in Nakuru CBD. The sample for the study was 78 small and medium businesses. Simple random sampling procedure was used to select the small and medium enterprises, Primary data was collected by the use of structured questionnaires which was designed and administered to the respondents. The finding indicated that marketing strategies and customer acquisition affect up to 10.8% and 50.9% positive variation in sales performance among SMEs respectively. Additionally, buying decision and Customer Service affect 3.3% and 40.6% positive variation in Sales Performance among SMEs. Conversely, Customer Retention affects 2.6% negative variation in sales performance among SMEs. The study recommends that online marketing strategies should be improved by SMEs in order to increase their sales performance. Secondly, SMEs should have a clear customer acquisition framework in order to have a sustainable target market segment. Moreover, customer service should be advanced to attract more online customers. Additionally, retention strategies of customers should be expanded to increase on sales performance. Finally, buying decisions being a major concern that affect negatively sales performance should be reinforced and made flexible.