How Small and Medium Enterprises Are Using Social Networks? Evidence from the Algarve Region

  • Ana BeloEmail author
  • Guilherme Castela
  • Silvia Fernandes
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 206)


The evolution of internet created new opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SME), among which are social networks. This work aims at analyzing the potential of these networks for the SME in Algarve, creating a questionnaire for the purpose. The empirical study revealed that some firms have already an integrated business strategy with social networks, as well as a group in the firm responsible for it. Most of their managers consider that social networks enhance performance, but few really measure these results. A categorical principal component analysis identified two dimensions of social networks’ use: social networks for product-client interaction and knowledge; and social networks with potential for marketing. A supplementary analysis (hierarchical clustering) identified three patterns of SME’s involvement in social networks: cluster Social Net Level 1, cluster Social Net Level 2 and cluster Social Net Level 3. These groups validated the results described above, indicating a sustainable methodological approach.


social networks SME patterns performance alignment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Acquisti, A., Gross, R.: Imagined communities: Awareness, information sharing, and privacy on the Facebook (2006), (accessed: February 03, 2011)
  2. 2.
    Amo, M., Constantinides, E., Romero, C.: Profiles of social networking sites users in the Netherlands. University of Twente Publications (2010) (accessed: March 10, 2011)
  3. 3.
    Bernasek, A.: The economics of integrity. Editora Harperstudio (2010)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Boyd, D., Ellison, N.: Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13(1), article 11 (2007), (accessed: February 20, 2011)
  5. 5.
    Brandão, R., Marques, B.: The impact of web 2.0 in the informal learning of the Portuguese SME. AIP-CE, CEPCEP, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (2010)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brandão, M.: O que são redes sociais verticais e horizontais (2011), (accessed: February 12, 2011)
  7. 7.
    Carr, R., Castleman, T., Mason, C., Parker, C.: Factors affecting SME’s willingness to share knowledge on-line: A path model. In: Proceedings of the 23rd Bled eConference eTrust on Implications for the Individual, Enterprises and Society. University of Maribor, Bled (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Constantinides, E., Lorenzo, C., Gómes-Borja, M.: Social media: A new frontier for retailers? European Retail Research 22, 1–27 (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    De Leeuw, J.: Multivariate analysis with optimal scaling. In: Gupta, S., Sethuraman, J. (eds.) Progress in Multivariate Analysis. Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta (1990)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dwyer, C., Hiltz, C., Passerini, K.: Trust and privacy concern within social networking sites: A comparison of Facebook and MySpace. In: America’s Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), USA (2007)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Evans, D.: Marketing de media social, uma hora por dia. Editora AltaBooks (2009)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Falcão, H.: Social technology (2010), (accessed: February 15, 2011)
  13. 13.
    Fernandes, S.: Main differentiating issues in aligning information systems with business performance. International Journal of Information Systems in the Service Sector (forthcoming)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fernandes, S.: Critical information as a success factor in organizations: objective and methodological approach. CIEO Spatial and Organizational Dynamics Discussion Papers 2, 69–82 (2010)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gifi, A.: Nonlinear multivariate analysis. J. Wiley & Sons, New York (1990)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Gudas, S.: Enterprise knowledge management aspects and layers. Paper presented at the 12th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, Florida, USA (2008)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hopkins, M.: The 4 ways IT is driving innovation. An interview with Erik Brynjolfsson (2010), (accessed: April 24, 2010)
  18. 18.
    Inesting, Social media marketing (2011), (accessed: February 12, 2011)
  19. 19.
    Kearns, G., Sabherwal, R.: Strategic alignment between business and information technology: A knowledge-based view of behaviours, outcome and consequences. Journal of Management Information Systems 23(3), 129–162 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lampe, C., Ellison, N., Steinfeld, C.: Profile elements as signals in an on-line social network. In: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, San Jose, CA, USA (2007)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Laudon, C., Laudon, J.: Management information systems: Managing the digital firm. Prentice Hall, New Jersey (2004)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Meulman, J.: The integration of multidimensional scaling and multivariate analysis with optimal transformations of the variables. Psychometrika 57, 539–565 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Minayo, M., Suely, F., Gomes, R.: Pesquisa social, teoria, método e criatividade. Petrópolis, Brasil (2007)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Nishisato, S.: Elements of dual scaling: An introduction to practical data analysis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., New Jersey (1994)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    O’Reilly, T.: What is web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software (2005), (accessed: April 09, 2011)
  26. 26.
    Pei, M., Ramayah, T., Suki, N.: Factors enhancing employed job seekers intentions to use social networking sites as a job search tool. International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction 7(2), 38–54 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Philipson, S.: A specification of an environment for modern product development. Paper presented at the International Conference on Advances in Management, Boston, USA (2008)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Qualman, E.: Socialnomics - Como os media sociais estão a mudar o mundo como vivemos e como fazemos negócios. Editorial Presença (2009)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Rathnam, R.: Alignment of business strategy and IT strategy: A case study of a fortune 500 financial services company. The Journal of Computer Information Systems 45(2), 1–8 (2004)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Robison, L., Ritchie, B.: Relationship economics: The social capital paradigm and its application to business, politics and other transactions. Editora Gower (2010)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Romesburg, H.: Cluster analysis for researchers. Lifetime Learning Publications, USA (1984)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Rosselet, U., Jolliet, Y., Wentland, M.: Knowledge management for IT project portfolio. Paper presented at the 10th European Conference on Knowledge Management, Vicenza, Italy (2009)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Setti, A., Fernandes, S.: The role of the information system’s manager in the organization. Interscienceplace 1(3), 1–10 (2007)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Silver, D.: The Social network business plan: 18 strategies that will create great wealth. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey (2009)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sousa, L., Galante, H., Figueiredo, D.: Qualidade de vida e bem-estar dos idosos: um estudo exploratório na população portuguesa. Revista Saúde Pública 37(3), 364–371 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Spewak, S., Hill, S.: Enterprise architecture planning: developing a blueprint for data, applications and technology. John Wiley & Sons Inc., USA (1992)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Spohrer, J., Kwan, S.: Service science, management, engineering, and design (SSMED): an emerging discipline - outline & references. International Journal of Information Systems in the Service Sector 1(3), 1–31 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Stutzman, F.: Student life on the facebook (2006), (accessed: February 20, 2011)
  39. 39.
    Taborda, M.: A utilização da internet em Portugal 2010. LINI - Lisbon Internet and Networks International Research Programme, Lisboa (2010)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tapscott, D., Williams, A.: Wikinomics, a nova economia de multidões inteligentes. Editora Quidnovi (2007)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Tredinnick, L.: Web 2.0 and business: A pointer to the intranets of the future. Business Information Review 23(4), 228–234 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Vasconcelos, V., Campos, P.: Distributed Informal Information Systems for Innovation: An Empirical Study of the Role of Social Networks. In: Quintela Varajão, J.E., Cruz-Cunha, M.M., Putnik, G.D., Trigo, A. (eds.) CENTERIS 2010, Part II. CCIS, vol. 110, pp. 208–217. Springer, Heidelberg (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Vasilev, J., Georgiev, G.: Tendencies in the development of ERP systems. Paper presented at the International Conference on Computer Systems and Technologies, Varna, Bulgaria (2003)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Zachman, J.: A framework for information systems architecture. IBM Systems Journal 26(3), 276–292 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SandoGago Inc.Portimão AreaPortugal
  2. 2.Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics (Cieo), Faculty of EconomicsUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal

Personalised recommendations