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Social media use, marketing capabilities and marketing performance of small and medium tourism enterprises in Tanzania

Donatus P. Massawe
Omari Mbura
Tumsifu E. Thomas


This study assesses the influence of cognitive, social, and hedonic use within the moderating role of enterprises marketing capabilities on the relationship between social media use and marketing performance. The data was collected using a cross-sectional survey of 346 small and medium tourism enterprises; and was subjected to analysis with the aid of Smart-PLS, a structural equation modelling for both the structural and measurement models. The results show that the three dimensions of social media—i.e., cognitive, social, and hedonic use—have a positive and significant impact on the marketing performance of small and medium tourism enterprises. Moreover, marketing capabilities positively and significantly moderate the relationship between social and cognitive use of social media, but with no such moderating effect on the relationship between hedonic use and marketing performance. Based on the resource-based view and theory of the uses gratification, we suggest that all the three dimensions are relevant and deserve consideration when using social media in the tourism industry. A further competitive advantage emerges when companies have marketing capabilities that promote social use and cognitive use. In fact, the right mix of marketing capabilities, social use and cognitive use support both theories, and hence extends to the decree that an inside-out and outside-in perspective should be for the competitive advantage to materialise, and for better sustainable performance. As such, capabilities are indispensable and transform social media from a general factor of production to a valuable resource for the better marketing performance of small and medium tourism enterprises. These findings are important for policy makers and practitioners to create an enabling environment for the development of an infrastructure that supports the smooth use of social media by SMEs. Knowledge and skills in social media use for marketing should be nurtured and developed in SMEs for better marketing performance.

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eISSN: 2591-6831
print ISSN: 0856-9622