The use of social media and social networks as the promotional tool for rural small, medium and micro enterprises in KwaZulu-Natal
Lekhanya, Lawrence Mpele
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This study aims to establish and develop an understanding of the effect social media and social networks technologies have in developing and sustaining rural SMMEs, by evaluating how social media and social networks can be used to enhance and add value to the marketing promotions and development of rural SMMEs in KZN. A mixed approach of qualitative and quantitative techniques was used to collect primary data from five rural villages in KwaZulu Natal (KZN). Various social technologies appropriate for rural business networking have been identified and recommended. Results of the survey revealed that the majority of respondents do not use social media and social networks for business purposes, these media and networks are, instead, used to socialize with friends and families, with a few respondents indicating that they sometimes communicate with other people about business-related issues. Further research should aim to develop a social media and social networking communication model in remote and underdeveloped areas for unskilled or illiterate consumers. Technological, developmental know-how of rural entrepreneurs in KZN, as well as a reduction in marketing promotional costs, will mean that more and more promotional information will be easily available to more rural SMMEs‟ customers. This will result in unprecedented levels of transparency of dealings between businesses and their customers. The main challenge, when applying social media and social networks, is how to protect the business image and reputation from negative comments about the business. This paper provides practical guidance on how to use social media and social networks as a promotional tool for rural SMMEs.
Lekhanya, L.M. 2013. The Use of Social Media and Social Networks as the Promotional Tool for Rural Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in KwaZulu-Natal. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 3(7): 1-7.