Assessing social media adoption: learning needs analysis for SMEs in Saudi Arabia

Alotaibi, Basma and Dafoulas, George ORCID logoORCID: (2015) Assessing social media adoption: learning needs analysis for SMEs in Saudi Arabia. EDULEARN15 Proceedings. In: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, 6-8 Jul 2015, Barcelona, Spain. ISBN 9788460682431. ISSN 2340-1117 [Conference or Workshop Item]


Social media has changed marketing and branding of organisations around the world. Large companies integrate social media to their overall marketing strategy as well as allocating budgets for the implementation. On the other hand, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are slower in adopting and using social media even though they could be used effectively, especially during recession periods, when profitability is low and the need for retaining existing customers or identifying new segments is a fundamental component for survival. SMEs are vital to almost all economies around the world, while studies indicate that SMEs contribute up to 45% of employment and up to 33% of GDP in developing economies.

As there is a gap in the literature in studying social media adoption and maturity in SMEs as most studies focused on big companies` adoption of social media, this research proposes a framework for social media adoption and maturity levels in SMEs in Saudi Arabia. The authors’ research focused on developing a multi-methodological study of social media adoption using a series of pilots in an educational context. This paper discusses how the learning experience of higher education students was enhanced as part of the investigation towards learning needs analysis for social media adoption. The authors established a scenario-based model involving student group simulations of SME activities including web marketing, customer relationship management and information processing operations. The paper covers in depth findings from the past two years with emphasis of how learners engaged with social media in an attempt to adopt new technologies in web marketing operations.

The authors propose a framework for assessing maturity in adopting social media for web marketing and integrating such technologies in the marketing strategy. The framework identifies a number of dimensions, as well as associated factors and criteria influencing the adoption readiness for social media use. The paper’s contribution is twofold. First, it provides findings from a literature review regarding analysis dimensions, factors and criteria related to social media adoption readiness and maturity. Second, it discusses two pilot studies using the proposed framework with emphasis on assessing learning needs of participants, while engaging in social media adoption.

The paper also discusses the findings from the two pilots and the impact on the learning experience, using data from analysis conducted with SPSS, NVIVO and NODEXL. The authors will conclude with on-going work in applying the framework on SMEs in Saudi Arabia. This study sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia, aims at supporting the adoption of social media at a national level and providing guidelines for its effective use. It is envisaged that this research will assist SMEs in enhancing marketing performance and affect the formulation of a social media use strategy at national level.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Computer Science
Item ID: 18107
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Depositing User: George Dafoulas
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2015 09:57
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 16:05

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