Kann man Facebook als Vertriebskanal für KMUs verwenden? Eine Studie von Daniela Castellanos.

dcastellanosKann man wirklich als kleines oder mittleres Unternehmen über Facebook erfolgreich verkaufen? Eine spannende Frage. Frau Castellanos hat sich in ihrer Bachelorarbeit intensiv der Beantwortung gewidmet. Besonders spannend und gelungen fand ich die Ergebnisse der Interviews mit Kleinunternehmern, die sowohl auf Verkaufsplattformen wie Etsy als auch auf Facebook eine Präsenz haben. Frau Castellanos hat herausgefunden, dass es durchaus möglich ist, weltweit Kunden über Facebook zu akquirieren und die eigenen Verkaufszahlen zu steigern. Eine sehr schöne Bachelorarbeit, spannende Ergebnisse und ein positives Signal für alle Kleinunternehmer. Herzlich willkommen in der Hall of Fame.

 Über welches Thema haben Sie geschrieben?

The topic of my thesis was “The path for successful E-commerce by using Social Networks” My hypothesis was, that “Small and medium businesses can benefit from E-commerce, and increase the amount of customers by actively participating in social networks.”

Was waren die wichtigsten Inhalte/Erkenntnisse?

The main outcome was to confirm the positive impact that Social Networks have on companies, for advertising and communication purposes. This positive influence is mainly caused due to the large audience that these channels can reach (worldwide) and also because they boost word of mouth, which is the most trusted form of advertising. By analyzing diverse marketing approaches that multinationals have being applying in recent years, I was able to find out the best strategies for making the most out of Social Networks.

A further important outcome was finding out, which social channels work the best for advertising and communication purposes and also the percentage of customers gained through these channels. These were results that the field study provided me with. This study was conducted with 32 accessory companies worldwide, all of which sell on E-commerce and advertise through social networks. Through the field study I could find out the main reasons why the companies use Social Networks: The highest percentage of them (33%) use Social Networks for advertising purposes; followed by the hope of spreading word of mouth (17%). The research also showed, that the channel that works the best for the majority of the companies (73%) is Facebook.

Furthermore, it was very interesting to find out, that 41% of the companies obtain up to 20% of their customers through Social Networks. But even more impressive was the fact, that 17% of the companies get more than half (61%) of their customers this way. This study reinforced the idea, that making a strategic use of social Networks can help entrepreneurs to gain more customers.

Wie kam Ihnen die Idee für Ihre Arbeit?

I was clear that I wanted to write about advertising and communication, because I would like to work in this field in the future. After having had an E-commerce class during my semester abroad in China, I realized how important the Web has become for communicating with potential customers. This channel allows for an interactive communication, because it is not only the sender who communicates the message, now the receiver can reply back.

With this idea in mind, I met Professor Zich to discuss a possible topic for my Bachelor thesis. It was after brainstorming for a while that he told me that a colleague of him had just told him “Facebook is dead”. I found this statement interesting and combined this with the idea of advertising and communication. This way the topic emerged, and I started investigating strategies for advertising and communicating the best through Social Networks, emphasized on Facebook.

 Was hat Ihnen am meisten Spaß gemacht?

I find the topic of E-commerce and Social Networks very interesting, so I enjoyed researching about this. What probably amused me the most was seeing Facebook and Social Networks from a different perspective. Instead of seeing them as channels to interact and socialize with friends and family, I was seeing these communication channels from the angle of the companies. This created a whole new meaning about Social Networks, their importance and influence potential in the marketing field.

Mit Firma oder ohne Firma geschrieben? Warum?

I wrote it theoretically, without a company. I knew that I did not want to write with a company even before I had a topic for my Bachelor thesis. I think this way I can be more flexible about what I want to write. It turned out to be the right decision, because while I researched for more information, more interesting topics came out. When I liked a topic, I tried to find ways to integrate it into my work, even if it was not planed from the beginning.  I would probably not have had this flexibility if I had written it together with a company.

Was war die größte Herausforderung bei der ganzen Arbeit? Wie haben Sie das gemeistert?

For me the greatest challenge was, not to deviate too much from the initial topic. I was so excited about the facts and the information that I kept finding throughout my research, that it was difficult not to integrate more topics into my Bachelor thesis.

Haben Sie einen guten Tipp für gelungenes Zeitmanagement?

I think it is helpful to take some time to research which books and other information sources are suitable for the topic. Afterwards, I would recommend ordering the books all at once (to save some time) and start reading and making notes of the important aspects. I would advise to start writing only after the reading part has been completed. This way it is possible to know how much time should be allocated for each topic in order to set deadlines for completing each part. Setting deadlines helps to manage the time and to calculate when the Bachelor Thesis can be ready for handing it in. It is important to allocate 4-5 days at the end, for correcting, formatting and printing the thesis.

Wie viel Zeit haben Sie für die BA insgesamt aufgewendet (in Monaten)?

I had my first meeting with Prof. Zich in the middle November and right after that I started with the secondary research for about 3 weeks. However, I had to pause the Bachelor thesis due to other obligations for the university. I retook the work in the beginning of February and handed in my Bachelor thesis in the middle of March. Therefore I would estimate that I dedicated a total of 2 months for writing it.

Was würden Sie heute anders machen?

Social Networks and E-commerce are extensive topics, and they can be approached from innumerable angles. This is why it is hard to decide how to filter the information.

The same happened during the field study, where I opted to investigate about the accessory industry.

However, it would also have been interesting to investigate about a different industry, example in the field of technology (such as cameras) and compare the outcomes between each other. This way we could see, which E-commerce strategies and Social Networks work best for each industry. Unfortunately due to the lack of time, and also because otherwise the topic would have been too extensive, I was not able to conduct this research.  Nonetheless, I believe that it could be an interesting topic for future investigations.

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