While the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) remain critical to the growth of Kenyan economy, these enterprises continue to struggle for survival.
As the complexity of the market environment increases, so does the need for SMEs to devise new innovative ways of positioning themselves.
Owing to resource constraints, it would be sensible for SMEs to adopt technologies that are relatively cheap and easily manageable, yet richly rewarding.
Social media technology comes in handy in such scenarios. This is because most are free and relatively easy to use and do not necessarily require complex tech literacy.
Consequently, these technologies can offer SMEs a fast and low-cost method of engaging with existing and potential customers.
In addition, intelligence derived from such platforms may be used to strategically position themselves, thereby improving chances of survival and competitiveness.
In recent years, there have been advances in the use of social media technology in business.
It enables customers and businesses to interact and engage in two-way communication in which both the customer and the business are active participants in the generation and dissemination of content.
In Kenya, many SMEs struggle to adopt IT because of the scarcity of capital to invest in information technology solutions and a lack of adequate knowledge for carrying out the IT adoption.
While these businesses remain pivotal to the country’s realisation of Vision 2030 — Kenya’s economic blueprint — many of them fail within the first year of inception.
Through social media technologies, SMEs are able to interact, leading to the formation of relationships with customers.
Additionally, SMEs may use social media to extend their market share, produce new products and/or services, and improve efficiencies in their functions.
These capabilities are making social media adoption more attractive to businesses.
Customers reward businesses that have and maintain a social media presence by actively creating conversations with those firms and obtaining a better understanding of their products and/or services, thus, in many cases, becoming their brand ambassadors.
As in the case of other forms of technology, the ecosystem of social media is in constant flux, with new technologies, applications, services and platforms being introduced rapidly.
Consequently, it is imperative that SMEs that are keen to exploit such technologies remain attentive and willing to adapt in response to such changes.
While large firms may have at their disposal the resources to exploit various technological opportunities, SMEs by their nature, are resource starved.
However, such enterprises may still benefit from technologies that offer benefits at no or little cost.
Social media may be seen as technologies whose benefits remain immense for the small businesses even if the cost is minimal.
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