Application of social media



This paper elucidates how business-to-business (B2B) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can manage antecedents to the application of social media for potential contributions to their business. This in-depth qualita-

tive research study was conducted at four plastic-producing SMEs from October 2013 to October 2014, with fol-

low-up interviews in October 2015. The findings reveal two important antecedents to the application of social media that overcome the gap between acknowledging the usefulness of social media and its actual limited application in practical B2B contexts. First, open collaborative business model innovation is needed to apply social media in local business processes. Second, central and distributed leadership must be integrated to create ownership and responsibility across the SME organisation and beyond to customers and partners. These findings differ from the social media application stages and the gaps between them identified in the previous literature. The developed model makes a contribution to the B2B SME field and to academia by recognising the importance of integrating critical antecedents before social media application can enhance business in B2B SMEs. This understanding is beneficial for the B2B SMEs and for society.


Keywords: Social media, Web 2.0, Distributed leadership, Central leadership, B2B, Innovation, Business processes, Business models.


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