Internationalization Via Instagram: An Exploratory Study of Small and Medium Enterprises

  • Suku Sukunesan Swinburne University of Technology
  • Christopher Selvarajah
  • Zelda Mellstrom
Keywords: Instagram, SMEs, Internationalisation, Customer created content, Web 2.0, Leapfrogging


This study used content analyzed ten Australian Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sites for their brand awareness, communication, information, integration and cultural awareness to examine how best they use Instagram to internationalize. In this study, the internationalization process was provided through engaging a 3-stage internationalization process model (no plans to export, potential exporter, exporters) and, training outcomes were identified. Findings showed that owing to reduced barriers of engaging with overseas market, SMEs with the higher brand and cultural awareness, and acceptable online communication practices were primed for internationalization while SMEs who had poor business integration were negatively viewed for internationalization. These findings have implications for theory and practice.

Author Biographies

Suku Sukunesan, Swinburne University of Technology
is a senior lecturer in Information Systems at Swinburne University of Technology. He also holds the position of program director for masters in Business Information Systems and senior research fellow. He has a keen interest in disruptive technologies, social media applications and innovative business models. To date, he has received over 2M in research funding. His extensive experience in working with SMEs and MNCs gives him a great insight towards the challenges of technology implementation and digitalization across South East Asian countries.
Christopher Selvarajah
is professor of International Business at the Faculty of Business and Law at Swinburne University. He has published five books and contributed over 100 refereed articles and cases studies to reputable international journals and as book chapters. His general interest is in management and in international business with a focus on leadership and cultural studies in international HRM. He has acted as consultant to numerous companies in the Asia Pacific region. He has been instrumental in successfully gaining competitive grants for three international projects worth AUD 1.3 million. These are for projects in ASEAN, and the VISGARD nations.
Zelda Mellstrom
is a contract specialist in the mining industry and a research assistant at Swinburne University. Zelda received her bachelor of science in Business and Economics from LuleƄ University of Technology (Sweden) in 2016 and her masters in International Business from Swinburne University in 2018. Zelda has mainly researched about social media, especially cultural differences in communication on Facebook pages and how SMEs can utilize Instagram as an international marketing tool when internationalizing.
How to Cite
Sukunesan, S., Selvarajah, C., & Mellstrom, Z. (2020). Internationalization Via Instagram: An Exploratory Study of Small and Medium Enterprises. Contemporary Management Research, 16(2), 77-121.
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