Social networks utilised by SME's within the tourist destinations of eastern Free State
Wessels, Althia Chavianca
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South Africa the development of small tourism businesses are extremely vital for job creation and a development of a new economy. The South African tourism industry has to look at more innovative ways for marketing their products and services to develop the small tourism businesses. The arrival of web 2.0 led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services and web applications such as social networking sites. Social networking sites have encouraged new ways to communicate and share information on the web. When it comes to online networking, websites are commonly used. These websites are known as social networking sites and function as online communities on the internet. Social networking sites are currently one of the applications of Web 4.0 developments. This means creation by the majority and web participation a necessity. The importance of customer engagement enablement is recognised. Operating systems are in cloud-computing. The communication medium became social media systems and people sell everything via desktop, mobile, tablets and iTV. This study focuses on the Eastern Free State tourism destination and its development through social networks. The main aim of the study is to critically analyse the application and effective utilisation of social network site technologies within the Eastern Free State tourism industry and to explore this objective of social network applications used within the small businesses in Eastern Free State tourism industry. The empirical study was conducted by means of a field study using a structured questionnaire and interviews with key stakeholders. Data from 60 small tourism businesses were collected and a total of 55 businesses restricted to Eastern Free State Drakensberg were analysed in the process of collecting the peer-aided questionnaires. The biggest problems in the use of digital media are knowledge to develop a proper product that has measured marketing outcomes for the small business.