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impact of Social Media Advertising on Small Businesses in Buea

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This essay is an analysis of the effects of social media advertising on small businesses in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon. Social media, a new dimension of marketing promotion mix, has made it possible for users to express their views about the companies, as well as their advertising.

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of social media advertising on small businesses in Buea. This objective was carried out through a purposive sampling technique, through semi structured interviews with 15 proprietors of small scale businesses, where they were asked about their usage of social media advertising for their business, its positive effects and challenges. The result identifies a common increase in customers due to advertising on social media.

It equally revealed that, social media advertising has served as a tool in building brand and customer trust and relationships. This study provides some indications for using and developing social media platform to make it an ideal method of advertising.

In order to achieve the aforementioned, the government should facilitate the creation of a house numbering system which will enable home or door to door delivery of goods purchased online. Equally, curriculum in higher institutions especially in the social departments or degree programs should be designed that will teach students how to effectively manage a social media page and market online.




The need to make great sales alongside maximizing profit, is the primary goal for all business persons. Making a juicy and desirable amount of profit requires a lot of in-put. Given that a company is still to seduce and capture a wide range of audience, such goals cannot be achieved without the company’s service, good or brand name being known and well recognized in the market. To conquer this challenge of brand awareness, small businesses in Buea, have resulted to the use of social media, to advertise their company’s businesses, goods and services they have to offer. This method of conquering the market has had positive, likewise negative impacts on small businesses in Buea municipality.

1.1 Background to the Study.

Advertising has come a long way since the age of mad men, (MARSHABLE: Emily Sielgel, Oct 03. 2014) digital marketing which was a relatively new practice in the early 2000s, has become increasingly smart and sophisticated in this millennium. Social media are websites and applications that allow users to create and share content, or participate in social networking.

Advertising is a marketing strategy where an identified sponsor pays for time and space in the media, to sell his product, good or service. A small business is an independently owned and operated company that is limited in staff and revenue depending on the industry.

With a definition in place, it is possible to define social media marketing as “using social media channels to promote your company and its products” (Barefoot and Szabo, 2010). Different forms of advertising such as native and mobile are redefining the digital landscape and the way brands engage customers.

An explosion of new devices has caused fragmentation. Data has become an increasingly hot commodity informing the tactics brands use to reach customers. Marketers and their agencies are fighting to keep up with the trends, and a new crop of start-ups and platforms have sprung up to meet demands. Social media platforms in particular have become key players in the marketing mix.

According to SolomoFy, (2017) Facebook founded in 2004 published its first ad with images in May 2005. In August 2011, Facebook introduced advertising API. Same year in November, Facebook introduced subsidized tales, 2012, March, Facebook introduced cellular ads. While many social media purists tout the power and reach the organic social media marketing, it is still a network that is difficult to be discovered in without promotion.

Social media advertisements offer the opportunity to build awareness, target based on geographical, demographical, behavioral data, as well as many of the ads can be placed adjacent to relevant topics. Many of the platforms also offer re-marketing opportunities for visitors who abandoned sites or shopping cart and returned to social media.{Douglas Karr, A Brief History Of Social Media Advertising, (07/2016)}.

The main theory on which this research is going to be centred is the theory of Agenda setting of mass communication. Most of the information that people get come from the media and these information either has as an ability to better or worsen individuals thought as such, the theory of agenda setting seek to focus the audience attention to what is believed to be the most important information for the day. A better explication of this theory and how it relates to this study will be explained below. But firstly let’s understand the concept of advertising, social media and their relationship with small Businesses especially in Buea.

1.14 Problem Statement:

So far, advertising has proven to be an ideal way to sell a brand’s image. Today, it is used by almost every company on the globe. Small businesses in Buea use social media advertising to promote sales and build brand awareness. With the presences of constant shutdowns, due to the present crisis in the South West and North West regions of Cameroon, alongside too many similar small scale businesses, small scale businesses, find it difficult to carry out their activities and make sales smoothly.

The presence of social media and its advertising function it provides enables businesses to carry out their activities online. This research will first of all explore the mitigating factors that hinder small businesses from standing out, amongst other businesses and building brand awareness. This topic is proposed after a keen observation on some issues and challenges faced by small scale businesses.

It is therefore in this light that the researcher seeks to exploit this area and discover why small businesses choose social media advertising under the topic “effects of social media (Facebook, whatsapp and instagram) advertising on small businesses. Case study: Buea.

1.15 Objectives of the Study

* To evaluate the effectiveness of social media advertising on brand awareness about products or services of small scale business in Buea.

* To determine whether social media advertising has increased the sales of products for small businesses in Buea.

* To find out if social media advertising has improved the relationship between small businesses and their customers.

1.16 Research Questions

The following questions will serve as a guide to achieving the desired results from the research objectives mentioned above;

  1. In what ways do small scale businesses share adequate information about their products and services to their customers online?
  2. How has the number of customers and sales of a brand or product increased due to the use of social media advertisements?
  3. How has social media advertising impacted relationship between small businesses and their customers?




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