09 Apr Branding and Social Media
Social media provides an opportunity for services to strengthen branding and connect to customers. In particular, marketers encourage customers to engage with brand content in order to build better brand awareness, loyalty and relationships (Hajli, Shanmugam, Papagiannidis, Zahay, & Richard, 2017). Thus, one of the challenges for marketers is to implement appropriate social media content strategies to entice their audience to engage and popularize content (Swani, Milne, Brown, Assaf, & Donthu, 2017). However, marketers have numerous options in terms of the content they include in their social media communications. In particular, in contrast to goods, many services are better known by corporate names than by product ones (Aaker, 2004).
According to the Service Logic, value as value-in-use, is created by the customers both individually and socially (Grönroos & Voima, 2013). In a customer sphere, the customer is an independent value creator outside direct interaction with the provider where the provider may act as a value facilitator (Grönroos, 2008, 2011). In the realm of customer sphere, social media provides a unique environment where individuals can not only exchange their own service brand related experiences and information with other individuals but can also interact with service brand messages directly sent out by service providers to them. Here the customer creates value independently as value creation is influenced by interactions with other customers.
For service marketers, such customer brand interactions (online word-of-mouth) are useful as they may help the brand. Customer brand interactions have shown to impact both individual level outcomes (e.g., customer spending/purchase intentions, brand trust and loyalty, and customer brand engagement) and firm level outcomes (e.g., sales, ROI, revenues, and stock prices) (King, Racherla, & Bush, 2014). Further- more, for services, online customer brand interactions are essential since customers often rely on others’ opinions and experiences when making service purchases to help reduce risk and anxiety and set their expectations of value-in-use of service brands. Indeed, 71% of in- dividuals indicate making a purchase of a product based on social media referrals and, of those individuals who referred a brand, 40% indicated making a purchase (Invesp, 2014).
Service marketers thus need to create appropriate brand content strategies that entice their fans/followers to engage with content and eventually make purchases. We argue that the choice of brand name in the content is an important factor to consider when crafting engaging content on social media sites.
- Hajli, N., Shanmugam, M., Papagiannidis, S., Zahay, D., & Richard, M. O. (2017).
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- Invesp (2014). How social media influences purchase decisions – Statistics and trends. (Infographic] Accessed 07.20.18).