Exploring Youth Entrepreneurs' Social Media Strategies for Venture Creation and Growth

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Embargoed until 2022-04-01
Copyright: Ranasinghe, Roshini
Youth unemployment is a severe issue facing many nations with a global youth unemployment rate of 13% (United Nations, 2018). It is estimated to double by 2050, with 90% of the youth living in developing nations (Vogel, 2015a). Entrepreneurship has been suggested as a way to reduce youth unemployment (Burchell & Coutts, 2019). The spread of information communication technology (ICT) has led to the emergence of social media (SM), which is central to the entrepreneurs’ work. SM benefits business ventures, products, services, and brands by supporting entrepreneurs’ resource acquisition; transforming consumer behaviour, and adding a method to generate revenue through ventures that use SM. However, to benefit from SM, it needs to be used strategically. The impact of the SM on ventures, when (especially youth) entrepreneurs strategically use SM to create and grow their ventures in developing nations is under-researched (Lokuge, Sedera, & Nanayakkara, 2018; Mumi et al., 2018; Nambisan, 2017; Olanrewaju et al., 2020; Weerawardena, & McColl-Kennedy, 2013; Smith, Smith, & Shaw, 2017). Strategically using SM in developing nations is essential because youth entrepreneurs deal with restricted resources. The current study argues that, by using SM strategically, youth entrepreneurs strive to overcome the restrictions they face. This research explores youth entrepreneurs’ use of SM for their micro-level venture creation and growth in Sri Lanka. From the two-phases of 40 semi-structured interviews that provide data to this research, it was found that participants used SM to create awareness, acquire customers and to conduct marketing activities. Participants’ use of SM for their venture creation and growth involved them frequently communicating, engaging in network expansion to include new contributors, showcasing shared values, establishing transparency and continuous learning. It was also found that five main strategies were adopted by the participants to use SM: managing content, engaging consumers, handling reviews, using technical details, and creating brands. The value of SM was extended through this research by shedding light on some strategies that youth entrepreneurs develop and use to build successful and sustainable ventures, contributing to the literature on the strategic entrepreneurship and computer-mediated-communication.
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Ranasinghe, Roshini
Buick, Fiona
de Klerk, Saskia
Moon, Katie
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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