Entrepreneurs utilise social networking sites for various purposes for example, social media is widely used for marketing. However, apart from marketing their products and services, entrepreneurs can also use social networking sites to generate new business ideas.
Widespread access to the internet has changed the ways entrepreneurs develop ideas. The growing use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube among others, supports the entrepreneurial journey. Social networking sites support the development of new business ideas as enterprises use these digital platforms to enhance their capacity to convert external knowledge into new market opportunities. They are able to do this through information sharing, collaboration, discussion of common interests and relationship building. One to one communication with consumers helps businesses personalise services and increase brand loyalty and reputation.
As businesses race to create innovative ideas, there is an increased awareness that this cannot be achieved without the use of digital tools. Developing social networking sites strategy helps businesses accelerate and deepen their enterprises’ service innovation and growth.
Social networking sites enable entrepreneurs to create social communities shared by external stakeholders such as consumers, suppliers, other enterprises etc. By creating online communities, businesses can actively interact with customers, public institutions and other businesses. Doing this helps to acquire and absorb external knowledge. Content generated by users provides a rich source of information. Enterprises are able to generate new ideas by integrating implicit and explicit knowledge. The wealth of information available about individuals and their networks can then be applied for business purpose – new ideas can be developed from them.
Consumers assume active role in innovation process because they increasingly use digital media not only to research products and services. They also use it to engage the enterprises they buy from; and engage with other consumers who may have valuable insights. Social media sites give users with a voice in bringing up innovative ideas at reduced costs. The cost of in-house research for innovation can thus be reduced. Consumers valuable insights are inexpensive sources of new ideas generation. Through better engagement on social networking sites, enterprises are able to describe and promote new products or services to potential customers; with whom they co-create innovate business ideas.
The open and collaborative nature of social networking sites also allows for the generation of new ideas. Thus, generation of new ideas is a collaborative process – it not only relates to having highly qualified staff but also depends on stakeholders surfing the virtual environments from which creative adaptations can take place. The online environment therefore contributes to improvement of enterprises’ innovativeness by simplifying coordinated actions and simplifying the flow of knowledge.
Developing a social networking sites strategy would support enterprises seeking to generate new business ideas and enhance value creation at minimal costs and effort.
From: The Effect of Social Networking Sites and Absorptive Capacity on SMES’ Innovation Performance. J Technol Transf (2017). DOI 10.10.1007/s10961-016-9517-0
Authors: Veronica Scuotto, Manlio Del Giudice and Elias G. Carayannis
Categories: Entrepreneurship and Small Business