Mining for Social Media: Usage Patterns of Small Businesses


Background: Information can now be rapidly exchanged due to social media. Due to its openness, Twitter has generated massive amounts of data. In this paper, we apply data mining and analytics to extract the usage patterns of social media by small businesses. Objectives: The aim of this paper is to describe with an example how data mining can be applied to social media. This paper further examines the impact of social media on small businesses. The Twitter posts related to small businesses are analyzed in detail. Methods/Approach: The patterns of social media usage by small businesses are observed using IBM Watson Analytics. In this paper, we particularly analyze tweets on Twitter for the hashtag #smallbusiness. Results: It is found that the number of females posting topics related to small business on Twitter is greater than the number of males. It is also found that the number of negative posts in Twitter is relatively low. Conclusions: Small firms are beginning to understand the importance of social media to realize their business goals. For future research, further analysis can be performed on the date and time the tweets were posted.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Apenteng, S. A., Doe, N. P. (2014), “Social Media & Business Growth: Why Small/Medium-Scale Enterprises in the Developing World Should take an Advantage of it”, Journal of Business and Management, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 76-80.

  • 2. Barnes, D., Clear, F., Dyerson, R., Harindranath, G., Harris, L., Rae, A. (2012), “Web

  • 2.0 and micro-businesses: an exploratory investigation”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 687-711.

  • 3. (2011), “Social Media Statistics: By-the-Numbers”, available at (14 November 2016)

  • 4. Buettner, R. (2016), “Getting a Job via Career-oriented Social Networking Sites: The Weakness of Ties”, 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-49), January 5-8, 2016, Kauai, Hawaii.

  • 5. Burgess, J., Bruns, A. (2015), “Easy data, hard data: The politics and pragmatics of Twitter research after the computational turn”, in Langlois, G., Redden, J., Elmer, G. (Eds.), Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data, New York, Bloomsbury, pp. 93-111.

  • 6. Cardon, P. W., Marshall, B. (2015), “The hype and reality of social media use for work collaboration and team communication”, International Journal of Business Communication, Vol. 52 No. 3, pp. 273-293.

  • 7. Cebotarean, E., Titu, M. (2017), “Business Intelligence”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics and Information Technology, pp. 1-12.

  • 8. Chesbrough, H. (2003). Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, Boston, Harvard Business School Press.

  • 9. Coen, B. (2016), “Using Social Media for Customer Relationship Management”, available at: (20 December 2016)

  • 10. Community Futures PA and Districts (2012). An Introduction to Social Media for Small Businesses. Blue Beetle Books.

  • 11. Del Rowe, S. (2016), “Take an Adaptive Approach to Analytics: Analytics focused on Business Objectives Should be the Basis of Business Decisions”, CRM Magazine, Vol. 20 No. 5, p. 19.

  • 12. Eid, R. E., El-Gohary, H. (2013), “The impact of E-marketing use on small business enterprises’ marketing success”. The Service Industries Journal, Vol. 33 No.1, pp. 31-50.

  • 13. Felt, M. (2016), “Social media and the social sciences: How researchers employ big data analytics”, Big Data & Society, Vol. 3 No.1, pp. 1-15.

  • 14. Fischer, E., Reuber, A. R. (2011), „Social interaction via new social media: (How) can interactions on Twitter affect effectual thinking and behavior?”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 1-18.

  • 15. Fluss, D. (2013), “Meeting the Social Media Challenge”, CRM Magazine, Vol. 17 No. 9, pp. 38-39.

  • 16. Grewal, D., Levy, M. (2013). Marketing, New York, McGraw-Hill Publishing.

  • 17. Hetz, P. R., Dawson, C. L., Cullen, T. A. (2015), “Social Media Use and the Fear of Missing out While Studying Abroad”, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 47 No. 4, pp. 259-272.

  • 18. Howe, J. (2006), “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”, available at: (27 February 2017)

  • 19. Huff, A. (2015), “TMW Systems shows fleets how to make time with business intelligence”, Commercial Carrier Journal, Vol. 172 No. 10, pp. 41-42.

  • 20. Kaplan, A. M., Haenlein, M. (2010), „Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media”, Business Horizons, Vol. 53 No. 1, pp. 59-68.

  • 21. Kiron, D., Ferguson, R. B., Prentice, P. K. (2013), “From Value to Vision: Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics”, MIT Sloan Management Review: Spring Research Report, pp. 1-19.

  • 22. Levy, M., Powell, P. (2003), “Exploring SME Internet adoption: towards a transporter model”, Electronic Markets, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 173-181.

  • 23. Merrill, T., Latham, K., Santalesa, R., Navetta, D. (2011), “Social Media: The Business Benefits May be Enormous, But Can the Risks - Reputational, Legal, Operational - Be Mitigated?”, available at: (21 April 2017)

  • 24. Mosley, R. (2012), “Social Media Analytics: Data Mining Applied to Insurance Twitter Posts”, Casualty Actuarial Society E-Forum, Vol. 2, pp. 1-36.

  • 25. Smith, N., Wollan, R. (2011). The power and business risks of social media. The Social Media Management Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Get Social Media Working in Your Business, Hoboken, John Wiley & Sons.

  • 26. Stieglitz, S., Dang-Xuan, L., Bruns, A., Neuberger, C. (2014), „Social media analytics: An interdisciplinary approach and its implications for information systems“, Business & Information Systems Engineering, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 89-96.

  • 27. Taneja, S., Toombs, L. (2014), “Putting a face on small businesses: Visibility, viability, and sustainability the impact of social media on small business marketing”, Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 249-260.

  • 28. Tejwani, R. (2014), “Sentiment Analysis: A Survey”, ArXiv, pp. 1-3.


Journal + Issues