How do small firms learn to develop a social media competence?

Jessica Braojos-Gomez, Jose Benitez-Amado, F. Javier Llorens-Montes

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Social media can be leveraged to improve the firm's business activities to create value. Because small firms have a lower portfolio of financial resources to compete more effectively in the market, social media capabilities can become more important for small than large firms. However, prior research has failed in explaining the variables through which small firms can learn to adopt social media. Our study is a first effort to address this research gap. We propose a conceptual model in which social competitor pressure, IT infrastructure capability, two organizational capabilities (marketing management and innovation management) and firm size enable small firms to learn to develop a social media competence. The model is tested using the partial least squares-based structural equation modeling technique employing a unique secondary dataset on a sample composed of the 100 small U.S. firms included in the 2013 Forbes America's Best Small Companies ranking. The empirical analysis suggests that IT infrastructure capability, social competitor pressure, marketing management and innovation management are key mechanisms through which small firms learn to develop a social media competence. The empirical analysis also suggests that social media competence is more important for the smallest manufacturing firms even among a sample of small firms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1407
Pages (from-to)443-458
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • IT infrastructure
  • Innovation management
  • Marketing management
  • Social competitor pressure
  • Social media competence


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