Purpose – The purpose of this article is to analyze how social media activities, in specifically the Facebook page of a car manufacturer, and user interactions with these brand related activities affect the perception of brands and ultimately influence consumers purchase decision. Based on an online survey with users of the corporation's Facebook fanpage, and in accordance to hierarchy of effects theory the author's findings show the positive effect of fanpage engagement on consumers' brand awareness, word of mouth (WOM) activities, and purchase intention. The findings further indicate that annoyance with the fanpage due to information overload leads to negative effects on fanpage commitment and to decreased WOM activities. From a theoretical standpoint the results of this study contribute to understanding of the value‐enhancing potential of social media campaigns. Design/methodology/approach – To answer the authors' research questions and test their hypotheses, a study was set up in cooperation with the car brand MINI. To test their hypotheses, the authors applied structural equation modeling with AMOS 18. Findings – The article analyzes the influence of brands’ social media activities and participants' social media involvement on the purchase decision process of consumers. Their findings demonstrate that engagement with a Facebook fanpage has positive effects on consumers' brand awareness, WOM activities and purchase intention. Results further indicate that annoyance with the fanpage leads to negative effects in respect to the overall commitment to and involvement with the fanpage and WOM. The authors' research shows that social media activities indeed affect the purchase decision‐making process. Originality/value – New marketing communication reality presents new challenges and opportunities for companies as purchase decisions are increasingly influenced by social media interactions. People rely more than ever on their social networks when making those decisions. Nevertheless, outcomes of social media activities are still disputed in practice. The effects of social media campaigns on consumers' perception of products and brands as well as the effects on purchase decisions have yet to be better understood. This study therefore investigates how social media activities, in specific the Facebook appearance of a car manufacturer, affect the perception of brands, and ultimately influence the purchase decision process of consumers while considering the risk of creating annoyance. From a theoretical standpoint the results of this study contribute to understanding of the value‐enhancing potential of social media campaigns and demonstrate how the perception of brands is influenced through this new communication channel. For brand managers this study is of value, as it shows that social media activities do have a positive influence on brands as they support their management of the purchase process.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2013
Keywords: Social media; Branding; User generated content
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