Social media adoption challenges of small businesses: the case of restaurants in the Cape Metropole, South

09 Feb 2018

Regardless of the claim that there is a large uptake of social media, it is reported in both scholarly and mainstream media that more than half the world?s population remains offline. Several fingers point in the direction of the high cost of devices, lack of infrastructure, and poor/intermittent supply from providers and many more as reasons for the low uptake. A major concern that emanates from this state of affairs, especially for small firms that have to embrace technology for its acclaimed virtues, is that they have to find creative ways of reaching out to their customers, expand their customer base and generally improve their businesses. Worryingly, considering the value of small businesses in a developing economy such as South Africa, there should be sustained inquiry into the factors that prevent small businesses from blossoming. This study examines social media adoption challenges of small businesses. The purpose of pursuing a study of this kind was based on, among others what is generally considered as: (1) the necessity of social media in business, and (2) the inevitability of social media. Specifically focusing on restaurants in the Cape metropole, the study applied the quantitative method to obtain data which were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Perhaps surprising, the results suggest that access to the internet in this digital age is one of the most prominent factors that inhibit the adoption of social media by the restaurants surveyed. Other factors include a limited understanding of the role of social media, the capacity of social media, marketing strategies and lack of interest. While there is the urge to associate non-adoption of information technology to limited education, this was not the case as most of the respondents were moderately educated with specific insights in marketing. With digital technology driving marketing efforts nowadays, clearly businesses that choose to ignore or optimally deploy this new media may suffer or continue to suffer excruciating losses.