The Emergence of Social Media and Its Impact on SME Performance [chapter]

Ignatius Ekanem, Kayode Samuel Erukusin
Technological Integration as a Catalyst for Industrial Development and Economic Growth  
Objective: This study aims to critically analyse the emergence of social media (SM) and its impact on SME performance. Prior Work: Boyed and Ellison (2008) have indicated that social network have increasingly in recent years attracted the attention of academics, researchers, customers and companies due to the fact it is a global tool. Bughin, Chui and Manyika (2012) , on the other hand, have assessed how the emerging powerful social media technologies have rapidly become popular amongst
more » ... lar amongst consumers faster than previous technologies. However, these previous works have concentrated largely on the impact of social media on large companies. Approach: This study employs a qualitative methodology for gathering information which has been able to provide clear insights, good quality and rich data from the direct source. This approach leads to a better understanding and knowledge of SME's strategy and attitude to social media as opposed to a quantitative means of collecting data as used in previous studies. Results: The evidence from this study suggests that there is a relationship between the growth of a company's market share and the adoption of social media. There is also evidence that SM helps to improve sales figure, brand image and awareness. The findings in this study also suggest that SM helps to improve communication between companies and customers. Implications: The main implication of these findings is that SMEs should be encouraged to establish their presence on different social media networks in order to enhance their performance. The study is limited to the extent that it can be generalised to a wider population of SMEs with an implication for further research. Value: This study makes contribution to the growing body of literature on the impact of social media on SMEs. It also sheds lights on the different aspects of effects of social media such as market share, reduced cost and improved sales, brand building and awareness. The qualitative methodology is novel as it enabled the researcher to get beyond a onedimensional picture by allowing different shades of meaning to be captured and creating a solid foundation for drawing valid conclusions about the impact of SM on SME performance. The approach is unique in terms of the combination of the different threads such as in-depth, semi-structured interviews and direct observation which are lacking in a quantitative method.
doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-2319-2.ch005 fatcat:wcuvuzeoxrhihej2q27xdnl6fi