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Social media use by SMEs in Greece : a uses and gratifications approach

Siouti, Marianna (2016) Social media use by SMEs in Greece : a uses and gratifications approach.

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Abstract:Context: Social media has been used extensively and very creatively by big brands for marketing purposes. However, it is found to be more useful and suitable for smaller brands, due to their greater flexibility and limited budget for marketing communications. SMEs dominate the European economy and in countries such as Greece, they have borne the brunt of the economic crisis. They state they have a great difficulty in reaching the market and finding customers, in an era that social media offers tremendous benefits in terms of marketing and revenue. As a result, there is a great need for more insights on the use of social media by SMEs, in order for them to rip the benefits they so intensively seek one day . This exploratory study investigates what motivates SMEs social media use in the challenging economy of Greece, how Greek SMEs use social media and the gratifications obtained. It steps on Uses & Gratifications (U&G) theory and develops an SMEs U&G model appropriate to study social media use by SMEs. Moreover, it explores social media uses by small enterprises in typical economies and countries such as Greece. Methods: An online questionnaire collected data about social media use and organizational characteristics from 611 SMEs in Greece. The constructs for motivations and gratifications were further validated with factor analysis. Anova revealed no statistical differences between SMEs in different business sectors. Descriptive statistics and frequency tables explore the actual social media uses of social media by Greek SMEs. Conclusions: Greece consists of mainly micro enterprises (<10 people), with mainly local presence, that outlines a typical environment in which the findings of this study can be applied. 4 constructs were found to motivate Greek SMEs to use social media, information sharing, immediate interaction, brand identity and monetary outcomes. Gratifications were monetary outcomes, interaction and information sharing about their brand. Greek SMEs mainly use facebook, randomly within or outside business hours, to respond to customers questions, distribute content and monitor the brand among there. Lack of time and organization reduces the potential benefits other popular social media may bring to their brand. Detailed conclusions and recommendation are presented in the last part of this paper. Recommendations: Greek SMEs owners are recommend to assign dedicated time and budget to social media, and stop using it randomly and unorganized. In general social media can help SMEs to save time, interact with customers and reach new audiences both in a local and an international level, via targeted advertising, use of popular hashtags locally and internationally, by following/ capitalizing on viral trends and big events, by creating a publishing calendar, scheduling and automating content, as well as reading or seeking help from experts about alternative media and their benefits. !
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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