Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Peter Anthony

Abstract

Social media is a cost-effective marketing tool, and in a 2014 survey, 75% of small business owners reported that they used social media to market. However, many of these businesses merely set up social media profiles and do not use social media to its full potential. Microenterprise owners face barriers such as lack of time, financial resources, and marketing knowledge, preventing them from adopting social media as a marketing tool. This multiple case study explored what strategies microenterprise owners in the artisan economy need to market using social media. Data were collected from 5 custom bicycle framebuilders in a Southwestern U.S. state through semistructured interviews with open-ended questions. Company documents and social media reviews were also used for data collection and triangulation. The diffusion of innovations theory was the conceptual framework of this study to aid understanding of framebuildersâ?? social media adoption process and social media usage. Thematic analysis identified 7 themes that emerged from the data: technological competence, the establishment of social media presence, effective utilization of social media platforms, effective communication skills, the establishment of brand identity, time management, and acquisition of external support. The study findings are expected to help artisan microenterprise owners harness social media and, in turn, improve business practices, increase sales, and promote their crafts, which may lead to positive social outcomes. The results of the study will assist artisan microenterprise owners source materials locally from other small businesses, a process that prevents money from leaving the local economy and helps to build strong communities.

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