Social Media has taken the world by storm. We also know that big brands are influencing consumers with their Social Media advertising on a daily basis, but how much do we know when it comes to the Social Media use of small and medium enterprises (SME´s) in emerging economies? A recent study by Odoom, Anning-Dorson and Acheampong (2017) has researched what benefits SME´s located in Ghana, Africa see and experience when using Social Media.
The quantitative study used a questionnaire that was gathering data about the firms in terms of personal interest when it comes to Social Media usage (e.g. cost effectiveness, interactivity, compatibility, social media usage and performance benefits) whereas the second category gathered demographic data about the companies involved (industry, staff size, etc.). In this context, 66.7% of the companies promoted physical products whereas 33.3% offered services to their customers. Approximately 91% of the companies involved, existed for more than five years. In reference to the firms Social Media usage, 53.8% did solely use Facebook, 34.3% solely used Twitter and only 11.9% were using both social networks.
The overall findings refer to SME´s in Ghana using Social Media mainly for the purpose of interactivity, cost effectiveness and compatibility. Analysed data about the benefits of Social Media also confirmed many known results from previous studies, e.g. like the benefit of interactivity by Cone (2008); Michaelidou et al. (2011); Ainin et al. (2015); Sundar et al. (2003) as well as Kietzmann et al. (2012). The benefit of interactivity as seen by the firms mainly laid in the exchange of feedback with consumers or clients.
The cost effectiveness was another big reason for SME´s in Ghana to use Social Media. In this context, previous studies by Hawn (2009) as well as Hanna et al. (2011) were confirmed by the authors. Interestingly firms that offered services saw a higher importance in interactivity, whereas firms that were producers were more oriented towards the cost effectiveness as a reason for Social Media use. Furthermore, firms that were using both networks, i.e. Facebook and Twitter had a better performance compared to companies that solely used one of both platforms.
Raphael Odoom, Thomas Anning-Dorson, George Acheampong (2017) “Antecedents of social media usage and performance benefits in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)”, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 30 Issue: 3, pp. 383-399.