Success in challenging times
Generating social capital
We are pleased to announce the launch of the third report in our SME Success series of academic research projects: Generating Social Capital. It follows our flagship report, Success in challenging times: Key lessons for UK SMEs, which found a strong engagement amongst SMEs with web technology, some of it linked to social media.
SMEs talked about using LinkedIn to target customers and using websites as interactive tools to connect to customers, gauge their needs and even talk to them in real time using live chat. Yet, none of the entrepreneurs regard themselves as experts. The perception was that IT and social media were regarded by many as a “necessary evil”, and there was no choice but to engage very proactively in this area. Respondents saw themselves as using a number of both online and offline communities including their customers, associates and even former employees, as a means of generating social capital.
This new study focuses on how SMEs generate social capital and addresses the following questions:
- What are the key business benefits for SMEs in using online and offline activities to generate social capital?
- What are the relative merits of using online and offline activities to generate social capital?
- Which online and offline communities do SMEs connect with and for what reasons?
- What criteria do SMEs use when judging which communities to connect to?
Gathering data on what SMEs see as the advantages (and disadvantages) of both online and offline, and the communities they connect to (both virtually and physically), will help make clear SMEs’ use of web technologies, as well as their relationship with more traditional ways of accessing social capital.
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