Social Media and rural SMMEs promotion in the information age: A survey study of selected SMMEs in former Transkei Homelands Eastern Cape Province South Africa
The study explores Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) application in terms of social media usage to promote businesses with emphasizes on SMMEs in underdeveloped regions in the information age era.
The application of ICTs platform in terms of Social Media in the information age economies era by Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) especially those operating in an underdeveloped regions, opens up the global markets to them without much hindrances but as noted by Buhalis (2003), SMMEs especially those in developing countries are not utilizing ICTs in their business to its full potential. And even though Internet access and ICTs devices are becoming more common in South Africa (Goldstuck, 2012), literature of the application of Social Media to support SMMEs business activities in underdeveloped regions are limited.
Quantitative and purposive methods were used to collect data through.
The major findings of the study are although in the area of access to ICTs and Internet connectivity the results was encouraging as all respondents (100%) do have one or more means to ICTs and internet, but the results in terms of application of Social Media to project their businesses to the rest of the world and consequently accessing the global market opportunities that ICTs present in the information age is lacking among the respondents.
As explained by Hargittai and DiMaggio (2001) that in order to achieve proper ICTs usage by users, the user will first have to realized the need and what the usage of ICTs will accomplish for them. Therefore, the study recommends that agencies tasked with helping SMMEs needs to come up with educational programmes to educate SMMEs entrepreneurs in the selected regions about the need for integration and benefits of ICTs to businesses in the information age global economies era to encourage the application of ICTs.