Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Patricia I. Fusch


Social media has changed the way businesses relate to their customers. Since the beginning of social media, traditional methods of communicating with customers have begun to decline. The purpose of this multicase study was to determine the strategies of 5 owners of small restaurant businesses in Western North Carolina who successfully used social media marketing for 1 year or more. Rogers's diffusion of innovation theory was the conceptual framework for this study. Data collection included semistructured interviews, documents pertaining to social media marketing strategies, and social media pages and websites from the participating restaurants. These data were analyzed following Yin's 5-step analysis plan. The themes that emerged were social media platforms, word-of-mouth, and challenges implementing social media. Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram were the most used social media platforms. The participants implied that word-of-mouth has the potential to increase sales and to grow business. Challenges implementing social media included the ability to be consistent and actively engaged on the social media sites to allow business owners to respond quickly to negative posts made by customers. Small restaurant businesses can be successful if they develop and implement a social media presence, encourage customer feedback, and formulate a plan to overcome obstacles and challenges that may arise with implementing social media marketing strategies. These findings contribute to positive social change by increasing the sustainability of small businesses in the community, which may drive economic development and improve community relations.