Adoption and Use of Social Media in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

  • Christian Meske
  • Stefan Stieglitz
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 151)


In recent years, social media have been increasingly adopted in enterprises. Enterprises use social media as an additional way to get in contact with their customers and support internal communication and collaboration. However, little research is devoted to the adoption and internal usage of social media in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are of high social and economic importance. The purpose of this paper is to examine the adoption, usage, and benefits of social media in SMEs as well as potential concerns that may prevent a wider adoption of social media in SMEs. Therefore, a survey of decision-makers in German SMEs was conducted. Findings based on 190 responses indicate that SMEs started to use internal social media (e.g., wikis, blogs) in order to support collaboration among employees and to improve knowledge management. However, SMEs still face problems to manage adoption and to identify relevant business values. Based on our results, we derive several implications for SMEs, in particular how to overcome the obstacles to a wider adoption of social media.


social media SMEs adoption usage 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Kaplan, A., Haenlein, M.: Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons 53(1), 59–68 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    McDonald, M.P., Aron, D.: Gartner: Amplifying the Enterprise: 2012 CIO Agenda (2012)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Parveen, F.: Impact of Social Media Usage on Organizations (2012). In: Proceedings of PACIS 2012, paper 192 (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bughin, J., Byers, A.H., Chui, M.: How social technologies are extending the organization. The McKinsey Quarterly (2011), (accessed June 10, 2012)
  5. 5.
    Mielach, D.: Skeptical Businesses Slow to Adopt Social Media. BusinessNewsDaily (2012), (retrieved)
  6. 6.
    BITKOM. Social Media in deutschen Unternehmen. BITKOM, Berlin (2012), (accessed May 10, 2012) (retrieved)
  7. 7.
    Zeiller, M., Schauer, B.: Adoption, Motivation and Success Factors of Social Media for Team Collaboration in SMEs. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies (2011)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kim, H.D., Lee, I., Lee, C.K.: Building Web 2.0 enterprises: A study of small and medium enterprises in the United States. International Small Business Journal 29, 1–19 (2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hurley, J.: Relentless social media use a ‘turnoff’ for business. The Telegraph (2012), (retrieved)
  10. 10.
    European Commission. European Commission Enterprise and Industry - Access to Finance (2010), (retrieved)
  11. 11.
    Seebach, C.: Searching for Answers - Knowledge Exchange through Social Media in Organizations. In: Proceedings of the 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 3908–3917 (2012)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Riemer, K., Overfeld, P., Scifleet, P., Richter, A.: Oh, SNEP! The Dynamics of Social Network Emergence - the case of Capgemini Yammer. In: Business Information Systems Working Paper-WP201201, University of Sydney, Australia (2012)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mansour, O., Abusalah, M., Askenäs, L.: Wiki collaboration in organizations: an exploratory study. In: Proceedings of 19th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Helsinki, Finland, pp. 9–12 (2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhang, J., Qu, Y., Cody, J., Wu, Y.: A Case Study of Microblogging in the Enterprise: Use, Value, and Related Issues. In: CHI 2010: Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Atlanta, GA, USA, pp. 123–132 (2010)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Richter, A., Riemer, K.: Corporate Social Networking Sites - Modes of Use and Appropriation through Co-Evolution. In: Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Conference on Information Systems ACIS 2009, Melbourne, Australia (2009)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cook, N.: Enterprise 2.0 - How Social Software Will Change the Future of Work. Aldershot (2008)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Efimova, L., Grudin, J.: Crossing boundaries: A case study of employee blogging. In: Proceedings of the 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2007)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wattal, S., Racherla, P., Mandviwalla, M.: Network externalities and technology use: a quantitative analysis of intraorganizational blogs. Journal of Management Information Systems 27(1), 145–174 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Holtzblatt, L., Damianos, L., Weiss, D.: Factors Impeding Wiki Use in the Enterprise: A Case Study. In: Proceedings of the 28th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (2010)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Stieglitz, S., Dang-Xuan, L.: Adoption and Use of Corporate Wikis in German Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. In: Proceedings of the Seventeenth Americas Conference on Information Systems, Detroit, Michigan (2011)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Chai, S., Joseph, P., Mullins, P.: The Empirical Investigation of a Wiki based group system in organizations. In: Proceedings of the 16th Americas Conference on Information Systems (2010)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Yates, D., Wagner, C., Majchrzak, A.: Factors Affecting Shapers of Organizational Wikis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 61(3), 543–554 (2010)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Arazy, O., Gellatly, I., Soobaek, J., Patterson, R.: Wiki deployment in corporate settings. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 28(2), 57–64 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Fuchs-Kittowski, E., Klassen, N., Faust, D., Einhaus, J.: A Comparative Study on the Use of Web 2.0 in Enterprises. In: Proceedings of I-KNOW 2009, Graz, Austria (2009)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kaske, F., Kügler, M., Smolnik, S.: Return on Investment in Social Media—Does the Hype Pay Off? Towards an Assessment of the Profitability of Social Media in Organizations. In: Proceedings of the 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 3898–3907 (2012)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Steinhüser, M., Smolnik, S.: Towards a Measurement Model of Corporate Social Software Success – Evidences from an Exploratory Multiple Case Study. In: Proceedings of the 44th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-44), Kauai, Hawaii, USA (2011)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kuikka, M., Äkkinen, M.: Determining the Challenges of Organizational Social Media Adoption and Use. In: ECIS 2011 Proceedings, Paper 248 (2011)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stockdale, R., Ahmed, A., Scheepers, H.: Identifying Business Value from the Use of Social Media: An SME Perspective. In: PACIS 2012 Proceedings, Paper 169 (2012)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Li, M., Chen, G., Zhang, Z., Fu, Y.: A social collaboration platform for enterprise social networking. In: Proceedings of the IEEE 16th International Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design (CSCWD), pp. 671–677 (2012)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Stocker, A., Strohmaier, M., Tochtermann, K.: Studying Knowledge Transfer with Weblogs in Small and Medium Enterprises: An Exploratory Case Study. Scalable Computing: Practice and Experience 9(4), 243–258 (2008)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Fuchs-Kittowski, E., Hüttemann, D.: Towards an Integrated Collaboration and Knowledge Environment for SMEs based on Web 2.0 Technologies - Quality assurance in enterprise wikis. In: WM 2009: 5th Conference on Professional Knowledge Management, GI-Edition. LNI, p. 145 (2009)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Chang, H.-L., Chou, C.-Y.: Shaping Proactivity For Firm Performance: Evaluating the Role of It-Enabled Collaboration in Small and Medium Enterprises. In: PACIS 2012 Proc., Paper 125 (2012)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Peris, M., Sperling, A., Blinn, N., Nüttgens, M., Gehrke, N.: Participatory Design of Web 2.0 Applications in SMEs Networks. In: BLED 2011 Proceedings, Paper 51 (2011)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Schaarschmidt, M., von Kortzfleisch, H., Valcárcel, S., Lindermann, N.: Web 2.0 Enabled Employee Collaboration in Diverse SMEs Networks: A CEOs Perspective. In: ECIS 2011 Proceedings, Paper 249 (2011)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Blinn, N., Lindermann, N., Faecks, K., Nuettgens, M.: Web 2.0 in SMEs Networks - A Design Science Approach Considering Multi-Perspective Requirements. In: AMCIS, Paper 402 (2009)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    European Commission: Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (2003), (accessed January 10, 2012)
  37. 37.
    Clearswift: Work Life Web (2011), (accessed October 15, 2012) (retrieved)
  38. 38.
    Levy, M., Powell, P.: Strategies for Growth in SMEs - The Role of Information and Information Systems. Information Systems Series (ISS). Elsevier, Oxford (2005)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Raysman, R.: A Practical Look at Social Media Policies. The Computer & Internet Lawyer 29, 3 (2012)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Stieglitz, S., Meske, C.: Maßnahmen für die Einführung und den Betrieb unternehmensinterner Social Media. HMD - Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik, Heft 287 (2012)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Stieglitz, S., Meske, C.: Zum Einfluss von Social Media auf die Rollenentwicklung des Chief Information Officer. In: Proceedings of the Gesellschaft für Informatik Jahrestagung, Berlin (2011)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Meske
    • 1
  • Stefan Stieglitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of MuensterMünsterGermany

Personalised recommendations