Purpose: The exchange of knowledge in social networks is fundamental to innovation. Open, interactive, innovation requires collaboration through social networks. This social networking is increasingly carried out across the Internet through social media applications. The purpose of this study is to explore the use of social media in open innovation, and explain how this practice is carried out in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With less resources than large firms, SMEs both have a greater need for open innovation and a less resources to invest in the process. Design/methodology/approach: In this paper, the authors study the case of open innovation in start-up Aurea Productiva and induce a framework for open innovation in SMEs powered by social media. Findings: The authors explore how the main advantages of the Web 2.0 translate into opportunities, challenges and strategies for open innovation that can be directly applied by managers. Research limitations/implications: The authors contribute to research on open innovation by social media and to research on the innovation process of SMEs. Future quantitative research could confirm and extend the authors’ findings. Practical implications: Companies that want to fully exploit the benefits of social media can create a strategy that emphasizes coevolution of innovation and resources, sharing their vision and objectives and providing a framework for innovation. Originality/value: The authors introduce an original analysis of opportunities, challenges and strategies for open innovation in SMEs.