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Methods of evaluating the performance of companies in social online media

Student: Ivan Nikitin

Supervisor: Efim Galitsky

Faculty: Faculty of Management

Educational Programme: Master

Year of Graduation: 2014

<p>The work look the theoretical and practical sides of the evaluating the performance of companies in the social media in internet. With the importance of information in the society growing all the time, so does the role and importance of communication channels. Social networks become one of such channels, and companies are paying more and more attention to these platforms and investing considerable amounts of money into marketing communications in them. There is, however, no detailed review of the efficiency of such investments in national academic publications. Therefore, the goal of this work is the exploration of methods of assessing the efficiency of marketing activities in social networks, for which purpose this work was divided into two parts, theoretical and practical. As a theoretical base were used:</p><ul><li>Theories of social psychology and sociology of mass communication: theories of self-presentation and self-disclosure, as well as social presence and media richness theories.</li><li>General communication theories and models: Lasswell&rsquo;s model of communication, model by Shannon&mdash;Weaver, and a conceptual model of B. Westley and M. McLean.</li></ul><p>The theoretical part explains the terms and looks at the general characteristics of online social media as communication channels. In particular, the first chapter contains a classification of online social media and provides an insight into their history; together, these elements of the work helped develop hypotheses for considering online social media as a separate communication channel. The second chapter looks at social media from the standpoint of various communication approaches, highlights the peculiarities of both personal and business communications in social media. The work revealed the need to devote chapter three to measuring the efficiency of activities performed in social media in the light of two possible approaches: econometric and communicational. The empirical part of the work focused on solving the key research task &ndash; obtaining information about modern methods of working with social media, and methods of assessing the efficiency of this work. This task was subdivided into several subtasks:</p><ol><li align="left">definition of common types of companies&rsquo; activities in the social media, as well as common methods of evaluating the effectiveness of these activities;</li><li align="left">identifying of important features of application methods to evaluate effectiveness;</li><li align="left">development of a matrix for the selection of appropriate metrics to measure the effectiveness of the company&#39;s activity;</li><li align="left">testing of the most common and important methods of evaluating the effectiveness of real data.</li></ol><p>As an empirical base the work at hand uses a semi-structured interview with market experts (C-level managers, strategists and analysts from digital agencies) with content-analysis. The selection was made using the &ldquo;showball&rdquo; method at RIF-KIB conference; a total of 17 experts were interviewed. The most popular types of corporate activities in online social media were the development of brand communities, direct advertising and activations. The most frequently used methods of efficiency assessment were: involvement of the audience into the process of content generation, contacts with the audience and return of investments. The work explores the potential of using both economic and communicative approaches to assessing the efficiency of communications using the most popular type of activity &ndash; creation and management of a brand community; the work also contains an evaluation of efficiency of real campaigns in social networks (Facebook and VKontakte).</p>

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