Assessing social media adoption and maturity in small and medium enterprises: case of Saudi Arabia

Alotaibi, Basmah (2019) Assessing social media adoption and maturity in small and medium enterprises: case of Saudi Arabia. Masters thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The proliferation of social media has changed marketing and branding of organisations around the world. Social media has proved to create business value for companies; however, there is a lack of coherent and sequent studies in the field of social media for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the literature lacks a systematic approach providing a practical means to support SMEs in getting value through social media. Since companies are affected by the social, economic and political circumstances in which they operate, this research focuses on Saudi Arabia-based SMEs.

The research aims to develop an online tool based on a social media maturity assessment model that includes maturity criteria, levels of progress and a formula to automatically calculate the overall maturity and provide guidance. Developing such a tool requires studying different aspects related to the use of social media in business and examining their statistical associations. The areas include investigation of social media adoption factors, examination of the social media value to SMEs as well as identification of barriers to success. Moreover, the research examines the maturity level of SMEs in using social media as well as consumers` social media readiness related to interacting with corporate social media accounts in Saudi Arabia. The research used cross-sectional surveys to collect primary data from SMEs, experts and social media users to answer the research questions.

The findings revealed that there is high awareness of the usefulness of social media as a marketing channel and strong support from the owners and top management in using such interactive technologies among Saudi SMEs. However, there is also clear evidence that there is a need for training in using social media in these companies which is something that the majority of companies do not provide. The main obstacles that SMEs face when using social media are insufficient dedicated staff as well as a lack of time and skills. The main reasons why SMEs do not use social media are the low perceived usefulness, the perception that there are types of businesses that do not need social media engagement as well as the lack of knowledge and skills in the field. Also, the findings demonstrate that Saudi consumers have positive perception towards using social media to interact with brands. However, there are concerns regarding trust and privacy when using corporate social media accounts.

The research develops a social media maturity assessment model for SMES and also discovers new maturity criteria which are statistically associated with the overall social media maturity of companies. These new criteria include: Number of hours dedicated for social media per week, LinkedIn corporate presence, perceived usefulness of social media, consistency of business goals with social media, providing social media training to employees, availability of financial resources and social media infrastructure in the company.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 28743
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 19:17
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:49

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