Social media marketing and business competitiveness: evidence from South African tourism SMMEs

  • Received January 28, 2017;
    Accepted May 4, 2017;
    Published September 1, 2017
  • Author(s)
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  • Article Info
    Volume 15 2017, Issue #2 (cont. 2), pp. 411-423
  • Cited by
    16 articles

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

The increasing prominence of social media marketing in advancing the global reach and visibility of products and services is ideal for the South African tourism industry, which depends on local and international visitors for leveraging its business activities and competitiveness. However, what remains under-explored in tourism literature is the depth of integration of social media marketing into the competitive strategies of emerging tourism small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs). To address this grey area, this study explored the extent to which tourism SMMEs utilize social media technologies (SMTs) to extend their market share and the implications thereof for the competitiveness of their business operations. Drawing on a quantitative approach, a survey was conducted on 234 tourism SMMEs’ owner/managers in the Free State province of South Africa to establish the impact of social media marketing on the competitiveness of their businesses. Evidence suggests that tourism SMMEs employed social media marketing predominantly for online marketing of their products/services, promoting their products/services, attracting existing customers, and sometimes, for integrating it into their marketing strategies. Results of correlation analysis revealed that social media marketing is positively and significantly related to the competitiveness of tourism SMMEs. The recommendations for leveraging the integration of social media marketing into the competitive strategy of the small business are provided.

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    • Table 1. Reliability testing using Cronbach’s alpha
    • Table 2. Sample demographics
    • Table 3. Status and utilization of social media technologies
    • Table 4. Utilization of social media technologies
    • Table 5. Marketing
    • Table 6. Competitiveness of tourism businesses
    • Table 7. Correlations (competitiveness vs business activity’s variables)