In preparation for an upcoming research assignment, I have been reading up on the impacts of social media. Broad, I know. In an attempt to narrow my search, I have specifically been researching the impact social media has on marketing.
It was along this line of research that I came across a paper recording a Turkish-based study conducted by İrem Eren Erdoğmuş, of Marmara University, and Mesut Çiçek, of Yalova University (other than these small details, and their contact information, there is little information provided about the authors or their qualifications). The aim of their research paper was to focus on the how social media marketing has been utilised as a means of building brand loyalty.
As a CMS and Commerce student, with an interest in Marketing and Public Relations, this topic really stood out to me. The Internet has become a driving force in marketing, especially in the past decade with the emergence of social media. In this paper, social media is defined as “activities, practises, and behaviours among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversations media” (Safko & Brake 2009, s.6, cited in Erdoğmuş & Çiçek 2012). Social media are communicative tools with the distinct properties of Web 2.0, in that they are participatory, collaborative, knowledge-sharing and user-empowering tools that are available on the web (Robinson, 2007, cited in Erdoğmuş & Çiçek 2012). By utilising social media for marketing purposes, companies can better communicate with customers, and build relationships and loyalty, that would be hard to achieve via traditional methods (Jackson, 2011; Akhtar, 2011, cited in Erdoğmuş & Çiçek 2012). This background information is from Erdoğmuş & Çiçek’s Literature Review and Hypothesis Building section of the paper. This section not only provides the reader with background knowledge of the topic, but shows what research and information was available prior to this study being conducted.
Erdoğmuş & Çiçek collected their data through questionnaires, designed to measure brand loyalty; the reasons to follow brands on social media; and content categories shared on social media. Their sample was refined using two filter questions to make sure that participants fit the requirements of the research. If the answers to both of the questions were positive, then the respondent was given the questionnaire. I thought this was a very clever way to filter, to actually find people who were relevant to the study, to save both time and money.
The research paper is set out in a typical style, written in a formal format with sections of information broken up under relevant headings. I found the paper read progressively, with the information flowing from one section to the next. After the Data Collection and Methodology section comes the Findings, which includes methods of analysis and tables presenting the data and findings. This is then followed by the paper’s Conclusion. The aim of the study was to understand the effect social media marketing is having on brand loyalty formation, from the perspective of the consumers (Erdoğmuş & Çiçek 2012). The results from the study concluded that a significant contribution was to practise and literature. Social media marketing, at that point in time, was defined as a new, albeit growing platform for building those positive relationships with customers and developing positive brand images. A drawback to this paper is that it was written in 2012, and when dealing with such a rapidly changing and evolving medium, three years can be seen as a long time.
I don’t believe that this paper, or its findings are out-dated, but this was written in a time when social media was only just developing as a tool for modern marketing. I still believe it to be a well-conducted study and a well-written paper. I still find this information relevant, and even helpful to my own studies.