ASSESSMENT OF TWITTER BAN ON BRAND AWARENESS IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF RITE FOOD LIMITED, LAGOS STATE )
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Twitter is a social platform that provides users to follow one other and send messages that are limited to 140 characters. Relationships on Twitter may be entirely one-sided, unlike on other social networking platforms. For example, one user may follow another without the later being obligated to follow the first. Twitter burst onto the scene in March 2006, owing to its simple user interface, which stood in sharp contrast to its rivals, who were allowing users complete customization of their personal pages at the time, resulting in a crowded, gaudy appearance (Experian, 2009).
Twitter has always welcomed third-party developers, providing a flexible application programming interface (API) and enjoying unparalleled celebrity appeal (Twitter Counter, 2010). However, despite its widespread popularity and extensive mainstream media attention, Twitter's growth has lagged behind that of Google and Facebook after their respective first three years. Google has 18 million users, Facebook has 27 million, and Twitter has 8 million (Battelle, 2009). As Twitter approaches its fifth year of operation, it can no longer be considered a new kid on the block, but many people are still unsure of its purpose or if it has any value for them. It's "for finding and sharing what's going on in your life right now," according to Twitter. While this is accurate, and regrettably, by its very nature, most of the material posted is ‘pointless chatter,' it fails to see Twitter's economic potential (Java et al., 2007).
Year after year, the internet advertising industry expands, and with technological advancements, there are now more methods than ever to advertise goods and businesses. The ‘people,' on the other hand, now demand power, and they have the ‘acute editing abilities' to listen to whatever messages they want to hear. With consumers' ability to block media messages from being displayed to them, marketers must find a means to contact their customers without them realizing it is a kind of advertising. Curran, O'Hara, and O'Brien (2011) define media buying as "the practice of contacting the owner of a website and acquiring advertising space, typically in the form of a banner placement, on their website." Media purchasing placements are available on popular websites like YouTube and Facebook. Businesses depend on the data given by these websites to predict the percentage of their target audience that they will reach. When a company buys a spot on a high-traffic website, they may reach the bulk of their target market, but they will also be spending a lot of money on people that have little interest in what the company has to offer. One out of every five advertisements individuals see online today comes from social networking sites like Facebook (Curran, O'Hara, & O'Brien, 2011).
Each Social Networking website has a variety of features that may be utilized to advertise a company. On certain social networking sites, users may publish links, videos, photos, fan pages, groups, and even advertisements. Businesses may build generic pages in the same way that users can. Once the page is up and running, ‘friends' may be added in the hopes of gaining additional followers via ‘word of mouth' marketing. Once the original group of friends has been exhausted, events may be planned and more friends invited. However, unlike YouTube and Facebook, Twitter has tremendous potential to foster a vibrant and inventive ecosystem of users, businesses, and media sources, allowing people to participate in conversation on subjects that are relevant and important to them. In its early days, Twitter used the slogan "What are you doing?" which fit their model (Curran, O'Hara, & O'Brien, 2011).
They wanted people to talk about what was going on in their lives in real time. As the program increased in popularity, it started to develop naturally. Users started to exchange information in real time on a worldwide scale, companies were engaged and promoted brand conversation, and news started to break through the platform faster and more effectively than conventional mainstream media services. As a result, Twitter's slogan has been changed to "The greatest way to discover what's new in your world," which is more appropriate and relevant to the service it provides. However, the issue of how this potential may be fulfilled and put into practice remains. Many people are concerned about Twitter's lack of a viable business model, which may have been a factor in some companies' decision to spend time and money in the site. Because of the absence of a viable business model, there was no clearly defined strategic path for businesses to take, creating doubts about Twitter's relevance and value to them (Stutzbach et al., 2006).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Some Organizations such as Rite Foods Limited are keen to utilize Twitter as an advertising delivery mechanism since it can offer great reach and frequency and also target demographics at a cheap cost. Twitter may be used to attract new consumers, stay in contact with existing customers, and promote new goods, sales/offers, and events, resulting in high-quality, company-specific PR. It is self-evident that they would want to market their products to an audience that is expanding at such a healthy pace.
However, with the ban on twitter by the President Muhammadu Buhari, Rite Foods Limited will not be able to have access to the large target of customers usually hovering Twitter, and this can hinder the awareness of their growing brand in Nigeria.
This study seeks to assess the effects of the Twitter ban on brand awareness of Rite Foods Limited, Lagos state.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study;
1. To determine the extent to which the Twitter ban affected the brand awareness of Rite Foods Limited.
2. To ascertain the effects of the Twitter ban on the sales of products of Rite Foods Limited.
3. To investigate the means through which Rite Foods Limited continued to create brand awareness after the ban.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions guide this study;
1. What is the extent to which the Twitter ban affected the brand awareness of Rite Foods Limited.?
2. What are the effects the Twitter ban on the sales of products of Rite Foods Limited?
3. What means were adopted by Rite Foods Limited in continued creation of brand awareness?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significant as it will bring to the fore the dangers of the Twitter ban to various growing brands and the need for such mediums of reaching core target customers to always be available for organizations. This study will also be an addition to the academic world as it will provide materials for other researchers to make reference to when conducting research on a similar subject matter.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will only cover Twitter and not other forms of social media. It will look at the effects of the Twitter ban on brand awareness of Rite Foods Limited, Lagos, Nigeria.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The only limitation faced by the researcher during the course of carrying out this study was lack of funds.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. BRAND AWARENESS: Brand awareness is the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognize a brand under different conditions.
2. BAN: A ban is an official or legal prohibition of a particular thing or action. In this study, a ban refers to the official prohibition of Twitter.
3. TWITTER: A social media platform for the purpose of communicating to a recipient or target audience.
Battelle, J. (2009). Comparing Twitter’s growth to Facebook and Google. Retrieved from http://www. businessinsider.com/comparing-twitters-growth-to- facebook-and-google-2009-3
Curran, K. & O'Hara, K., & O'Brien, S. (2011). The Role of Twitter in the World of Business. IJBDCN. 7. 1-15. 10.4018/jbdcn.2011070101.