Original Research

Use of social media in Free State tourism small, medium and micro enterprises to widen business networks for competitiveness

Lentswe Mosweunyane, Patient Rambe, Dennis Dzansi
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 22, No 1 | a2780 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v22i1.2780 | © 2019 Lentswe Mosweunyane, Patient Rambe, Dennis Dzansi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 August 2018 | Published: 29 April 2019

About the author(s)

Lentswe Mosweunyane, Department of Business Support Studies (BSS), Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Patient Rambe, Department of Business Support Studies (BSS), Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Dennis Dzansi, Department of Business Support Studies (BSS), Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: While the proliferation of social media is hailed for increasing corporate business networking and competitiveness, this claim has not been sufficiently tested in tourism small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in African emerging economies where traditional communication modes tend to dominate.

Setting: This study investigates the use of social media in tourism SMMEs to widen their business networks to increase competitiveness.

Aim: This study contributes to the debate on business networking among stakeholders within the tourism sector.

Methods: To close the research gap, the current study employed stakeholder theory and survey data of 123 hospitality SMMEs to explore the influence of social media utilisation for business networking with stakeholders and its effect on business competitiveness.

Results: Findings showed that the majority of tourism SMMEs used social media technologies to retain their customer base, solicit feedback from customers, assert their dominance in the market, maintain contact between their co-workers and share information. Moreover, the findings indicate that there is a significant positive relationship between social media business networking and competitiveness of these firms. The study recommended that tourism SMMEs should create a policy framework for comprehensive stakeholder engagement that serves the interests of all individuals.

Conclusion: To increase the competitiveness of such firms, SMMEs should incorporate social media into their formal internal and external information strategy.


Keywords

Social media; networking; stakeholder; small, medium and micro enterprises; business competitiveness; SMMEs.

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