This paper explores how digital technologies have forced small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reconsider and experiment with their business models (BMs) and how this contributes to their innovativeness and performance. Design/methodology/approach An empirical study was conducted on 338 European small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) actively using social media and big data to innovate their business models. Four in-depth case studies of companies involved in business model innovation were also carried out. Findings Findings show that the use of social media and big data in business model innovation is mainly driven by strategic and innovation-related internal motives. External technology turbulence plays a role too. Business model innovation driven by social media and big data has a positive impact on business performance.