Linking social media to customer relationship management (CRM): a qualitative study on SMEs

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Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owner-managers were interviewed to understand the underpinning factors of social customer relationship management (social CRM), customer engagement behaviors, and social CRM as dynamic capability. Findings show that SMEs’ customers use social media to generate content, influence other customers through positive reviews, and mobilize others’ actions toward the brands or products. However, SMEs tend not to use social media for making important strategic decisions or calculating CRM indicators. Key issues are around a lack of resources, data management, and privacy and control. Resource constraints force SMEs to manage their social media on a reactive and ad hoc basis. This study confirms that social CRM can be characterized as a dynamic capability in SMEs, and recommends that automated and sustained ways of collecting and integrating social data with CRM can help SMEs realize the true benefits of social CRM, and thus outweigh their resource constraints in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-214
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018


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