An Exploration into Changing Behaviours within Social Media during Covid-19 Pandemic (2020-2021): A Study of Irish Female Entrepreneurs
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This research explores the experiences and interpretations of Irish (based in Ireland) female entrepreneurs’ changing behaviours within social media during the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020-2021. It explores how Irish female entrepreneurs used social media before the pandemic, how this changed during the pandemic and what the learning, so far, is from the experience. The overarching research question of the study is: How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed the social media use of Irish female entrepreneurs/founders of SMEs? To address this question, the study employs an exploratory research design and a mixed-methods approach. Empirical data was collected through an online survey and four semi-structured interviews. The research finds that social media has played a vital part for Irish female entrepreneurs in aspects of networking and digital marketing during the pandemic. The empirical evidence indicates that the environmental changes led to increased activity on social media, with significant growth in video use and live sessions. These tactics facilitated the entrepreneurs taking a central role in front of their customers, and literally becoming ‘the face of the businesses’, which resulted in more followers, views, interactions and ultimately revenue. Beyond the use of social media for sales and promotion purposes, the data suggests that Irish female entrepreneurs also used these platforms to connect with and support each other, highlighting the critical need for emotional support for female entrepreneurs. This study contributes to the entrepreneurial literature by providing empirical evidence around the use of social media by Irish female entrepreneurs during a challenging time and has practical relevance in guiding entrepreneurs in digital marketing planning, as well as social networking practice.
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