The INTER-SOCIAL project aims at exploring social networking to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs in the region. Social networks offer new means and forums for world-wide product promotion as well as huge repositories of data for advanced market analysis and trend identification. In particular, the project aims at promoting advanced new technologies as related to the use of social networking to both (a) improve the web presence of SMEs and (b) use information provided by such sites for targeting advertisement and adaptive service provision.
In the frame of the Intersocial Project the University of Patras HCI Group designed and developed a new experimental prototype, the Social Network Analytics Tool (SONETA). SONETA is a tool for enhancing SMEs social presence by permitting SMEs through an intuitive user interface to define sets of keywords in specific geographic areas and thus generate related twitter streams of what social network users are talking about. Tweets from this stream are stored, processed and analyzed and the most important terms used are presented in the form of wordclouds, treemaps and bubbleclouds for specified time periods. The tool has been experimentaly used in the frame of the Intersocial project and is more widely made available after the end of the project (soneta.hci.ece.upatras.gr)
The University of Patras HCI Group conducted a multifaceted study of deployment of social media tools in SMEs. The study examined three perspectives: the deployment, the overall user experience with such tools, and their impact on business objectives. Results showed that SMEs create a positive intention to integrate social media tools in their everyday activities, as soon as clear usage scenarios of the tools are defined and related with business objectives. However, creating a positive intention to use such tools does not necessarily mean a successful integration, since a social media policies need to be identified, organizational and operational changes might be required and appropriate training activities should be undertaken