Social Media and Small Entrepreneurial Firms’ Internationalization

  • Pia Hurmelinna-LaukkanenEmail author
  • Lauri Haapanen
  • Saara Holma
Part of the Exploring Diversity in Entrepreneurship book series (EDE)


Small entrepreneurial firms often need to be quite creative when allocating and deploying their limited resources. Especially in grasping international opportunities, social media provides a seemingly affordable and far-reaching medium. However, challenges—such as the controllability of the content and the outcomes of using social media—become apparent as the reach of social media marketing expands beyond certain threshold limits. In this study, we rely on data from multiple case studies to evaluate to what extent and under which conditions social media can support small entrepreneurial firms’ international expansion. Thereby, we contribute to research on SME internationalization and business implications of digitalization. Our findings indicate that small entrepreneurial firms face somewhat different social media–related challenges in the international business environment compared to domestic settings. The controllability of the contents comes with new tones. Furthermore, small firms’ resources, both in terms of social media use and in different functions, play an important role in determining the extent to which the use of social media supports these firms’ internationalization.


Social media Entrepreneurial firms Internationalization 



The authors thank Professor Tanja Leppäaho, Professor Olli Kuivalainen, and Professor Jorma Larimo for their valuable insights into an earlier version of the results, Editor Professor Leon Schjoedt for his helpful advice, and the Foundation for Economic Education for their financial support.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Oulu, Oulu Business SchoolOuluFinland
  2. 2.University of Oulu, Oulu Business School/Duunitori OyHelsinkiFinland

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