Analyzing the determinants of the UK consumer's engagement in Viral Marketing on Social Networking Sites : A university Student's perspective
- Publisher: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management
Social media, especially the social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook.com, has experienced exponential growth all across the globe in the last decade. It is rapidly attracting the consumers and replacing the traditional media. Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) through social media has acquired substantial position in the marketing mix as well as integrated marketing communication of the business organizations. This research aimed at analyzing different social relationship factors or determinants of engagement of the UK consumers in the process of viral marketing from the perspective of the university students in the UK. The process of viral marketing on SNSs is initiated by the manufacturers, marketers or distributors but the process is controlled by the consumers. To meet the main objectives of the research, quantitative research methods were followed through deductive approach. Convenience and purposive sampling were utilized in order to select a sample of 130 students from the population of the UK university students. Only 105 students responded and took part in the survey. All the ethical issues involved in the survey were catered and participants were informed about the purpose of investigation through consent letters prior to email the questionnaire. The questionnaire was emailed to the students to collect primary data that was statistically analyzed by using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences). The data for each variable was subjected to univariate analysis in order to evaluate the significance of each social factor under study. The results obtained from univariate analysis were graphically presented and interpreted. Correlation (Bivariate) analysis of different factors including trust, homophily, interpersonal influence, love for exchanging information etc. was also conducted and results were presented in a tabulated form. The analysis revealed that all the factors under investigation showed positive relationship and some showed positive correlation with the activity of the consumers on SNSs, especially in seeking opinion or information and passing it to others. The correlation analysis revealed that some social constructs e.g. trust, homophily and normative influence was positively correlated with the consumer’s activity on the social networking sites. Tie strength showed positive correlation with homophily, frequency of communication or contact between the online consumers on social networking sites. Gender showed negative correlation with most of the social factors under study. The results are discussed in light of existing literature on word of mouth marketing and social media marketing. The implications (theoretical, managerial and strategy related) of these results are along with the main findings of the study.