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School of Business | Department of Communication | International Business Communication | 2014
Thesis number: 13566
Use of social media in managing customer relationships in a Chinese SME - A communication perspective
Author: Wei, Jie
Title: Use of social media in managing customer relationships in a Chinese SME - A communication perspective
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Communication
Academic subject: International Business Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; pk-yritykset; smes; media; media; sosiaalinen media; social media; asiakashallinta; customer relationship management; asiakkaat; customers; suhdetoiminta; public relations; Kiina; China
Pages: 99
Key terms: Corporate Communication; Social media; Customer relationship; SME
The objective of this study:

The objective of this study was to investigate the use of social media as a means to communicate with customers in an SME context. Two particular aspects were analyzed in this study. First, the role of social media was to be identified. Second, the study focused on the most important characteristics of social media in meeting the challenges in managing customer relationships. International business creates challenges for international business communication. International business communication perspective was taken into consideration in the present research.

Methodology and Data:

This is a single case study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Interviews were conducted with the case company representative and communication specialists from other SMEs. A survey for the case company customers was used to collect data for this study. The respondents of the survey amounted to 2226 in total.

Findings and Conclusion:

From the interviews, four associations of the role of social media in corporate communication were identified. They are distributer, contact, listener, and attention grabber. The characteristics of social media use in SMEs were identified as 1) content can be perpetually fresh, 2) customers can select information, 3) community can form, unbounded by location and time. 4) digital interactivity redefines privacy and identity, 5) interactivity enables hyper impulsivity. During the study, "Water Army" (people who are paid to write posts), as a new phenomenon in the Chinese Internet environment, emerged. This phenomenon has a significant impact on the ways of using social media in SMEs in the Chinese context.
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