Understanding the Motivations for SMEs in South Africa to Adopt Social Media


  • Stevens Mamorobela Tshwane University of Technology




Since the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, many businesses have relied on social media to stay abreast with the latest news, developments and to predict the future world of business. Many countries around the world instigated lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of the covid-19 virus, and social media platforms were very popular tools used for spreading the news. The proliferation of social media has also increasingly drawn the attention of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa to improve their efforts of sustaining their businesses.  Social media platforms have become popular in the business environments for their ability to increase market reach, transfer knowledge, and sustain the business. While many benefits of social media to enhance business performance have been studied, there are also skeptics on data privacy issues that social medial brings to the business. In the SME sectors in South Africa, social media are adopted due to their cost effectiveness and ease of use. However, little is known about the effect of data privacy issues on SME business performance. The literature of social media adoption indicates that the older generation of SME owners are skeptical about sharing their confidential business insight on social media platforms. This is despite the availability of many other literature studies that report on the increase of social media studies to enhance business sustainability. This study aims to produce knowledge for understanding the key motivations of SMEs to adopting social media despite the existence of data privacy issues on social media. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 13 SME entrepreneurs who were purposively selected based on their knowledge of social media, experience of its application in the business, industries and premises of the SME business in South Africa. The results of the interviews indicated that SMEs are generally aware of the data privacy issues surrounding the use of social media, and the adoption rate differs from younger and older generation of SME entrepreneurs.