Exploring entrepreneurs' business-related social media typologies: a latent class analysis approach

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Purpose: This paper aims to present typologies of entrepreneurs using entrepreneurs' engagement and use of social media (SM) for business purposes as a means of categorisation. Based on this categorisation, four types of entrepreneurs are proposed: the hopefuls, the assureds, the opportunists and the passengers. The emergent typology should serve as the basis for further thought and empiricism. Design/methodology/approach: A two-phase quantitative opportunistic sampling approach was employed. First, entrepreneurial experts' (n = 8) structured interviews informed the survey design. Secondly, an online survey, based on theory of planned behaviour (TPB), was completed with entrepreneurs at business incubation centres (BICs) in Ireland. Latent class analysis (LCA) identified a number of entrepreneur typologies using participants' (n = 124) business-related SM activities. Differences in entrepreneurial types were explained using the TPB, trust, security and demographic variables. Findings: Results indicate that there are four distinct types of entrepreneurs based on their business-related SM activities. Once the typology was created, comparisons were conducted between each type based on the psychological drivers of the TPB. Trend differences were identified between the distinct typologies. Originality/value: The value of this research is that the research proposes a typology of entrepreneurs categorised based on SM engagement and use. The typology can be used to identify and compare the differences between entrepreneurs based on perceptions regarding SM, abilities related to SM and the support entrepreneurs need in relation to this. This research is novel in that the research addresses calls to segment the increasingly diverse and complex entrepreneurial population using the pillars of social and digital technology as a focus. The research also provides a framework for examination and replication in other geographic and entrepreneurial settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1272
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
Issue number5
Early online date28 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Entrepreneurs
  • Typology
  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Social Media
  • Theory of Planned Behaviour


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