The use of social media as a marketing communication tool for SMEs in Tanzania: a case of tourism industry

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University of Dar es Salaam
This research report seeks to provide results of the study that aimed at finding out the practical use of social media as part of marketing communication tool to SMEs, taking a case study of tourism industry. The research employed a descriptive research design with a total sample of 130 respondents categorized into three types of sample where 120 were members of TATO, 9 website developers and 1 social media service specialized company. Probabilistic sampling through cluster sampling was employed by clustering SMEs in the tourism sector, and then the simple random sampling was used to identify 20% of them for purpose of the research. The study findings show that there are mainly five ways in which business owners in the tourism industry do promote their businesses, social media taking the lead with 45%, with some SMEs using selectively the social media channels and some using all the social media channels. Findings also shows that majority of SMEs’ social media channels did evolve from nowhere as the channels are opened as SMEs wishes to do so, and the usage of social media is not based on a thorough analysis of whether the chosen social media channel is suitable or preferred by the customer to communicate his/her the business to the market but is influenced by the trend that “currently social media are one of the modern/emerging tools for marketing”. The analysis further shows that to a large extent the usage of social media is not certainly opted from the marketing communication strategy (30%), with the exception of very few SMEs which do have that in their plans. Knowledge on Information Technology is also a barrier as majority (48%) of respondents do not have expertise in running social media. The study concludes that social media is opted as a fashion; no meaningful analysis is done by SMEs in the tourism industry to make sure the social media contributes to growth of an SME in terms of sales and brand recognition.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library.
Social media, Marketing, Communication tools
Secelela, B. (2014) The use of social media as a marketing communication tool for SMEs in Tanzania: a case of tourism industry, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.