Abstract: With the growth and popularity of social networks, companies have increasingly using this new media to get close to their customers. Accordingly, this study sought to analyze the use of Facebook as a marketing channel through the analysis of the use of this tool for enterprises that enjoy ecommerce. For the study, the daily collection of data, such as number of likes and shares of posts on the pages in question, during 60 days. The data were analyzed and compared in a qualitative and quantitative research. As a main result of these analyses, it was observed that companies present similarities in the use of their pages on Facebook.
Keywords: Commerce; social networking; Facebook.
With the advent of the internet and its popularity, people are increasingly included in the virtual universe, in which access to information and interaction with others are increasingly fast and easy. It was only a matter of time until companies reveal the great potential existing in Web Shopping, taking advantage of these facilities to strengthen relations with your customers and increase your sales. There is no doubt the growth of electronic commerce (EC) in recent years. The consumer has adapted quickly to the convenience that virtual shopping can offer and the ease of access to products and promotions. According to Costa et Ruiz. (2011), the EC did not come to do away with the traditional retail, but rather to complement it. The contribution of e-commerce revenue of the companies, which initially was marginal, has become the potential.
Thus, companies seek to get closer to their customers, and a tool that is being used are social networks. Following this trend, several studies (Petry et Simonetto, 2013; Thoring, 2011) have investigated the marketing actions of organizations in Brazil and in the world, denoting how the growth of social networks as a communication channel with your customers.
Second Ramalho (2012), social media are an integral part of modern society. Many social networks on the internet have a population that would put them in second or third place in the ranking of countries ’ population. This shows how important it is to have a presence with your brand on social networks, and, among these, the largest and most popular is the Facebook.
The Facebook has been an important channel of marketing, information and assistance to customers, and a good image before those users can mean a big increase in the results obtained by a company in the market. On the other hand, a bad reputation on Facebook can quickly damage the image of an institution due to the large capacity of its viral posts.
The participation of social networks intertwines between users and content, making it suitable for dynamic customer-centric and knowledge management strategies. Due to the range of services that facilitate the three strategies of knowledge management, social networks, these become more efficient in giving a smart content to the client.
Companies can get the knowledge of customers, seeking customer oriented innovations in its design, in addition, the microposts monitoring to analyze the feeling of being discussed on networks keeps companies better informed about your customers (Castellanos et al., 2011). This helps organizations better manage the potential areas of concern for customers.
Thus, this article aims to analyses the performance of the companies, with regard to marketing, inside Facebook and is structured as follows: in section 2, is made a presentation of online social networks and a brief description of Facebook. In section 3, are made e-commerce considerations and the use of Facebook in between. Section 4 demonstrates the methodology performed. In section 5, is made to display the analysis performed on the collected data, both collective as individually. In section 6, are exposed the results obtained. And, finally, in section 7, are displayed the final considerations.
Social networks are modern means by which people interact with each other. They allow that anyone can register and use tools made available by them to establish links with other users located in different locations around the world. This first contact happens by an invitation sent from one user to another. Social networks can be classified into different levels, among them include: networks of relationships (Facebook, Orkut, Twitter), professional networks (LinkedIn), community networks (social networks in neighborhoods or cities), political networks etc. The main element in which shall be recorded all personal data of an individual is called the user profile, through which one can identify other users with tastes, activities etc. in common.
Social networks, second Ramalho (2012), has as main purpose the socialization between friends, colleagues and others, having vested interests in which information can be split between them, applications that can connect over the relationship of certain group of friends or co-workers. According to the report "quality of customer service of Brazil", released in November 2013, social networks are the most efficient customer service these days.
Deriving from a concept of being a community not geographical, social networking happens to represent a set of participants, uniting ideas and resources around shared values and interests. According to Marteleto (2009), on social networks, there is an appreciation of the informal links and relations to the detriment of hierarchical structures. Today, the informal job network is a form of human organization present in our everyday life and in many different levels of structure of modern institutions.
The Facebook is a social network created on 4 February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, all students of Harvard University. In this day and age, is one of the most popular social networks. Since its inception, the Facebook aimed to set up a space where people could find their friends and share reviews and photos. From its creation until the year 2014, the Facebook has undergone major changes in its inception the social network access was allowed only for students of Harvard University. Gradually, its expansion was increasing, allowing access to people from other institutes and universities, and, finally, on 27 February 2006, the site has allowed secondary students and workers of companies also have access to the network. So all the people above 13 years could connect to this social network.
The Facebook is a tool that allows you to maintain a network of contacts, both personal as professional, offering services such as: chat with friends, share photos and videos, games, etc., in addition to offering a number of stock options that can be used in marketing, such as creating groups and promotional pages. According to Reed (2012), Facebook has become one of the marketing tools online more widely used by companies.
This media is widely used for scheduling meetings, advertise products and events, and being very used by several companies with the purpose of promoting their products or even some private events.
According to Reed (2012), a Facebook page is the singular most important thing you can do on the site, and one of the easiest. There are more than 160 million pages, groups and events there, and an average user is connected with 60 million of them. Your customers are on Facebook, so you also need to be. In the current context, the EC II indicates several trends for the future, and one of which have been shown to be most promising is to use Facebook as a marketing channel and online sales. Many companies and marketing agencies are already including Facebook in their campaigns. It is important to put your brand in the spotlight and as close as possible to their consumers, and social networks, like Facebook, are a great opportunity that should not be ignored.
Through Facebook, you can reach users, and potential consumers, very specific, through specific actions and low cost. To carry out these actions, Facebook offers a good variety of tools: in addition to profiles pages, there are the options of creating ad groups and fan pages. All the dynamic offered by social networks makes the Facebook one of the marketing tools online with greater growth at present, which is being widely used by companies and marketing agencies.
The article is characterized by a study of two dimensions: the qualitative and quantitative. The quantitative method in accordance with Hair Jr. et al. (2003), it is an analysis which comprises objective grading techniques and descriptive data. Already the qualitative method, to Malhotra (2006), is characterized by being exploratory nature unstructured and based on small samples, with the goal of providing insights and understanding of the problem. As previously described, will be analyzed the current state of the use of Facebook by the largest e-commerce companies in Brazil.
This research aims to analyze the use of online social networks, more specifically, the Facebook as marketing channel for 5 (five) largest companies active in e-commerce in Brazil in 2010/2011 (E-Commerce, 2012), which denotes a study with multiple cases, as Yin (2005). In this study, we tried to observe the behavior of these organizations with respect to the use of the social network as a marketing channel with consumers. The data collection was carried out between 5/11/2013 and 7/10/2013, being carried out with the aid of software Quintly (2013), available for use on the web. The software allows you to get various information from a fan page for the e-mail address of the company on Facebook with a simple and friendly interface.
The collected data were stored in spreadsheets, and statistical research was elaborated according to a study of Twitter conducted by Thoring (2011), in which the quantitative analysis of the data was based on frequency, time and day of the week of the tweets. In the same study, was held also a qualitative analysis of the tweets, using the model proposed by the researcher, in that the tweets were classified as dissemination of information, promotion, relationship with the client and retweet.
To conduct the study on the Facebook, it was necessary to make some adjustments in the data sought, primarily on quantitative analysis, in which the comparison between a company and another was based on the number of likes, posts, comments and shares that occur daily in each fan page. For the qualitative analysis, the posts made by the companies were classified as: informative, customer relations or promotion disclosures. After being made the statistical analysis, the results that are exposed in the course of this article.
For this study we have selected five companies that are among the 10 best placed in the ranking of the site Brazil E-Commerce (E-Commerce, 2012). Such companies were named as Company A, B, C, D and e to preserve their identities. The Chart 1 shows a short presentation of the companies studied:
Chart 1. Companies analyzed
|COMPANY A||Is a Brazilian company in the retail segment, founded in 1929 in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. Currently, the company has more than 465 sales outlets in 22 States of Brazil and also in the Federal District. Operates in both physical facilities and e-commerce. Is a departmental undertaking which operates in several market segments, including food and fashion, as well as in the field of tourism. On Facebook, your fan page already has more than 2.2 million likes.|
|COMPANY B||Company B is a Brazilian venture based in Franca (SP), founded more than 50 years by Luiza Trajano Donato. Has approximately 728 stores located in 16 States and also operates in electronic commerce. Is a departmental undertaking which operates in various market segments. On Facebook, your fan page already has more than 1.3 million likes.|
|COMPANY C||Company C was founded in 1946, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, from import and sale of products such as sewing machines and refrigerators. Is one of the largest national retail appliances, being present in 10 Brazilian States with a total of 456 commercial units, is also quite active in e-commerce. On Facebook, your fan page already has over 990 1000 likes.|
|COMPANY D||The company D is a Brazilian company which was founded in February 2000. This company manages a set of virtual stores of sport and leisure, and ranks as one of the main strengths of this segment in Latin America, with large operations in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico in. On Facebook, your fan page has already received more than 6.6 million likes.|
|COMPANY E||Is a Brazilian Enterprise founded in the year 1999 that operates exclusively in electronic commerce. In November 2006, was announced its merger with the company, creating the largest company in the sector of online sales of Brazil. The company offers its customers products for hobby and leisure, health and beauty, electronics, telephony, computers, appliances, books, CDs, DVDs etc. On Facebook, your fan page has already received more than 2.4 million likes.|
After collecting data from companies, the analysis of activities related to the use of Facebook during the stipulated time for the research. The companies were assessed jointly and individually. After the analysis, considerations were made with regard to research, both in quantitative and in qualitative analysis, and these observations are set out below.
Table 1 presents the results of the total activities of each fan page, classified in comments, blog posts, likes and shares.
Table 1. Total activities of the companies in the analysis period
The first point noted is that the amount of likes on a fan page is not directly related to the amount of posts held in each fan page. Observing figure 1, note that the company D was the least posted, but it was also the most had likes on your page, on the other hand, company C was the second that more posted, however, was the second-worst performance, taking into account the number of likes on your fan page.
Another factor analyzed is that company B was the one that posted on your fan page in the period researched was also received the most comments on your posts and a greater number of shares. She is also the second page more tanned, taking to believe that, in addition to using daily and often the social network, she managed to keep posts interesting, drawing the attention of the public and also attracting new customers.
Among all the companies analyzed, note that the company and was the one that received a less positive feedback from the public, and it was the third that more posted on the social network, however, he received fewer shares, and comments on your fan page, Moreover, was the least received likes the public.
The company kept a regularity between all items analyzed, company D was the one that knew better use social networking, your posts were more objective and more attractive to customers, all information posted in your fan page was really shared among customers of the company social network users.
In table 2, the percentage of each item analyzed. Note that the highest percentage of data collected from the number of likes each page received. Company C is that has a lower percentage of likes, but, on the other hand, has the highest percentage of comments.
Table 2. Percentage of total activities
We can say that one of the strengths of using marketing online these days is that the person responsible for this area in an organization can develop their work from any device (from computers to portable devices) to access the internet, IE, can work anywhere and at any time. Analyzing this point, was made a comparison between the use of the social network during the days of the week and over the weekend, as can be viewed in table 4. Understand clearly that companies keep their posts even during the weekend. The company has a slightly higher volume of posts in this period (comparative relation with days of the week), as well as the company and the company d. company B Already and company C have a higher volume of posts during the days of the week.
Figure 1. Comparison between posts, Likes, comments and shares
Source: Authors (2013)
Table 3. Analysis of posts with respect to the days of the week x weekends
|Company A||Company B||Company C||Company D||Company E||Total|
To determine what day of the week each company used more social networking, added all the posts every day. With these data, it was found that:
In the following table, you can see such information in more detail:
Table 4. Percentage analysis of posts per day
|Day||Company A||Companya B||Company C||Company D||Company E|
A general analysis was performed to find out which was the most used by companies as a whole. Were added all the posts, and noticed that there is a slowing of the posts after Monday. Monday is the day that has the highest percentage of posts. After that, the amount of posts decreases until you reach 8.13 percent on Sunday, which is the day with the least amount of posts.
Table 5. Total percentage analysis of posts companies per day
For the qualitative analysis, were taken into consideration the kinds of posts, which companies used their posts to inform their products, connect with your customers or disclose promotions. The overall results are expressed in table 6.
Table 6. Content of the posts from 5/11/2013 and 7/10/2013
|Company A||Company B||Company C||Company D||Company E|
|Relationship with customers||18||147||66||24||27|
After all the data collected, it should be noted that, in General, companies have used their posts to disseminate information to customers. The only company that fled the habitual behavior was company B, who used their fan page primarily to connect with your target audience, giving less importance to the newsletters and announcements of promotions.
Analyzing only the disclosure of promotions, again the company B, which was the enterprise that had a greater concern in this area. Company C also presented good figures in this regard, the second being that more launched promotions to their customers. Already the company less reported was the company and promotions.
The relationship with customers was featured in company B, since that was his greatest focus between all your posts. Company C was the second that had greater relations with client. However, this relationship was not his main focus, she prioritized the posts with customer information. The company less bothered to conduct a relationship with the client was the company.
Next, have the table 7, with the percentage of each company. Note-If the difference of use of each company in relation to the content of each post. All companies have used their posts to inform about your product to all followers of your fan page.
Table 7. Content of the posts from 5/11/2013 and 7/10/2013
|Company A||Company B||Company C||Company D||Company E|
|Relationship with customers||13,4%||36,1%||18,3%||28,6%||12,3%|
Exposes, individually, the collection held, reporting particularly the focus and the differences in use of the fan page of each company, starting by the company, which was the third that received likes on your fan page, in addition to being the fourth in terms of posts. In the general classification among all companies, she occupied the fourth place.
Company B was the most used their fan page, getting the highest number of comments and shares, but came second in number of likes, second only to the company D. In the General ranking, she was the one that obtained better performance. The second best was the performance of company D, which had the fan page that received a greater number of likes. A fact that differed from other companies it has been the least posted and, anyway, the second that received comments and the second who received their shares posts. That said, the company uses very well his fan page, by this fact, he excelled in this factor.
Company C was more regular. She is the third with better performance. It was the second that more posted, but it was the fourth in number of likes and shares of their posts, in addition to being the fourth most tanned page between the analyzed.
The worst company, in general terms, it was the company and his best performance was a third in the number of posts. In the remainder, she always showed worse performance, because it was the least received likes, shares and comments. Finally, even though it was the least used the social network.
In table 8, total data collection of posts from all companies. You can check that the companies used more space on the fan page to disseminate information about a particular product. The disclosure of promotions was the second most used, and least used was the relationship with the client.
Table 8. Total analysis of posts
|Relationship with customers||282||23,4%|
All the study prepared in this article had as its main purpose to analyze the behavior of Brazilian companies, presented on website Brazil E-Commerce (E-Commerce, 2012), which are among the 10 largest users of e-commerce. One of the points to note, which might be displayed in table 1 and Figure 1, was the difference between "post a lot with little feedback" and "post bit with higher return." It was observed that the company D was the least posted, but like their messages have been well addressed, was the one who received most likes on your fan page. In contrast, company C was the second that more posted and only the 3rd runner-up in number of likes. These data are clearly exposed in Figure 1, and also in comparative graphics among the other items analyzed.
Observing the total data, it is possible to notice that the company which best used the social network (Facebook) as a marketing channel online was the company D, possessing 39.50% of total activities collected on fan pages in the period of the survey, and the less used was the company and who had only 4.6%, other interesting data in relation to the classification of posts. The 1205 posts, 43.3% of them had to inform product features to the client; 33.3% on promotions of products; and the question less used, the relationship with the customer, had just 23.4 percent of posts generated. Among all the collection, 74.8% of the data were of likes on fan pages; 13.4% of shares; 11.6% of comments; and 0.20% of posts.
There is a comparison made between the days of the week and the weekend, that the amount of posts is constant. However, if compared each day of the week, it is clear a downswing in the number of posts after Monday.
This study was important to analyze the way each company uses your fan page for information and also disclose their brand among all users. Notice the difference of focus presented between them and also noticed the public’s preference for particular public company. There have been also some points in common between some of these companies, in addition to the differentiation of the frequency of posts during the week, noting that such companies use social network in question with a similar load during the week and on the weekend.
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