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Using social media for innovation – market segmentation of family firms

Ramakrishnan Raman (Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India)
Preetha Menon (Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India)

International Journal of Innovation Science

ISSN: 1757-2223

Article publication date: 21 May 2018




The purpose of this study is to understand the strategy adopted by family firms in using social media for their business. Based on the social media usage, this paper attempts to segment family firms. To do so, a reactive – proactive – innovative (RPI) scale was developed for the study. Then, the family firms were categorised as reactive, proactive or innovative social media users. Further, based on the scale developed, clusters were created. Family firms were placed into different clusters based on the strategy that they had for using social media platforms for their business.


A pilot sample of 50 family firms and a main study of 256 Indian family firm entrepreneurs were surveyed through self-administered questionnaires. Factor analysis reduced the 12 scale-based questions to three distinct factors. Confirmatory factor analysis was then conducted on the main sample to confirm the constructs identified using exploratory factor analysis. Cluster analysis was used to build clusters of entrepreneurs who use social media as part of their digital marketing strategy.


Findings reveal that the Indian family firm market is largely divided into four main segments. These segments represent distinct behaviours with respect to the use of social media. The four segments of family firm entrepreneurs were named as high rollers, ignorant inhabitants, trend-setters, combative crowd based on their social media usage behaviour. These clusters give deep insights into the strategic usage of social media by family firms.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of this study is that entrepreneurs from all Indian states were not considered in the sample because of cost implications. This research study has only created the segmentation of the family firms as reactive, proactive or innovative social media users and also has created the clusters as high rollers, ignorant inhabitants, trend-setters and combative crowd. Also, the reasons for their behaviour and root cause for the strategic usage have not been studied.

Practical implications

This study reflects on current practices of family firms with respect to usage of social media and groups them into large identifiable clusters. Equipped with the findings from this study, the RPI scale developed for the study and the clusters created, entrepreneurs can now move towards better use of social media for innovation.


Although past studies have advocated the use of social media to spur innovation in firms, this study segments the current market based on their practices. It allows readers to gauge the proportion of family firms using social media for innovation and paves the way for a change in behaviour amongst these firms.



Raman, R. and Menon, P. (2018), "Using social media for innovation – market segmentation of family firms", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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