Information technology free essay: Impacts of Brand communications on the Social Media
Impacts of Brand communications on the Social Media
The internet technology has evolved rapidly over the last two decades. The development of the internet technology has opened numerous opportunities for businesses. One of the most remarkable components of the internet technology that has an impact on the operations and performance of businesses is the social media. The social media encompasses different social networking sites as well as other sites that allow for exchange of in real time that are established on the internet. The internet sites that make up the social media include Twiter, FaceBook, FunSpace, Blogs and YouTube (Hays, Pageb & Buhalis, 2013). Today, business organizations use the social media sites as channels for marketing their brands. The previous studies have shown that effective and proper utilization of the social media as a marketing channel for communication enhances brand awareness, popularity and reputation (Hays et al., 2013). As explained in this paper, however, not all brand communications in the media are authentic and trustworthy. Improper and negative communications about a brand can be very damaging to the brand’s reputation and popularity. This paper, therefore, explores the impact of different forms of communications on the social media on brands.
The previous studies have shown that proper and authentic communication about a brand on the social media enhances customer awareness and loyalty. As well, a positive image about a brand is developed by positive communication. Laroche, Habibi and Richard (2013) conducted a study on 441 consumers to determine the effect of the social media on their loyalty towards brands. The researchers highlighted the impacts of positive communication about brands. The findings of the study showed that positive communication about a brand on the social media enhances the trust of the consumers towards the brand. In turn, improvement in brand trust leads to an improvement in the consumer loyalty towards the brand. As Laroche et al. (2013) explained, the social media allows for the development of brand community. A brand community, according to Laroche et al. (2013), is a group of people who have an interest on a brand and constantly share information about the brand. Consumers feel the urge to associate themselves to a brand if positive information about the brand is consistently shared. Consistent positive information contributes immensely to the development of brand trust among the consumers. The development of brand trust helps in enhancing customer retention rate.
Further, positive communication about a brand on the social media helps to attract new customers. When people see positive news about a brand consistently on the social media, they become interested in learning more about that brand. Some of the people who are interested respond through searching for more information about the brand on the internet. This increases the chances of the interested persons purchasing the brand (Erdoğmuş & Çiçek, 2012). The previous studies have shown that communication on the social media has positive impacts on a brand when it is relevant, when it offers popular contents and when it involves advantageous campaigns. Erdoğmuş and Çiçek (2012) conducted a study to determine how spreading information about a brand on the social media affects customers’ loyalty to the brand. The researchers gathered information from individuals who were following brands on the social media. The data for the study was gathered from 338 people in Turkey. The findings derived from the study indicated that relevance of the information displayed about a brand is vital in enhancing customer loyalty. Also, the results indicated that customers are attracted to information that explains the value that the customers will derive from a brand.
Using the social media to communicate about a brand is a more effective customer engagement approach than the use of the traditional marketing communication media channels, such as radios, television, magazines and newspapers. The outstanding positive aspect of the social media is that it allows people to engage in conversations or discussions. The traditional marketing communication channels mentioned above do not allow firms and customers to engage in a direct conversation. In the social media, the consumer can ask more information about a brand or seek clarification about the information given. The consumers and the internal stakeholders in firms engage in informal conversations on the social media As such, the consumers feel free to ask any information they may need (Erdoğmuş & Çiçek, 2012). The consumers are easily satisfied since they receive responses to their questions immediately. The direct, informal communication and quick response enhances customer engagement.
Despite having positive effects, the previous studies indicate that communication on the social media about brands is not always trustworthy and authentic. As Hays et al. (2013) explained, the internal stakeholders, such as the employees, in an organization can make communication mistakes that can have a detrimental impact on the reputation of a brand and customer loyalty. Hays et al. (2013) noted that the employees can display deceptive information about a brand or give incorrect information about a brand to the consumers during conversations. For instance, the employees can deceive the customers about the ingredients that make up a product or the value that the customers will derive from a product. Such information can damage the reputation of a brand and even an organizations reputation if the customers realize about the deception. After realizing about the deception, there is likelihood that customers will not be interested to purchase the brand in the future (Hays et al., 2013).
As Okazaki and Taylor (2013) explained, portraying negative emotions when communicating with customers on the social media can make the consumers develop negative attitude towards a brand. According to Okazaki and Taylor (2013), the consumers can use language that is irritating when communicating on the social media. Also, employees can be annoyed by the consumers who ask the same questions even after giving them clear responses. Some employees can portray negative emotions when responding to such customers. In some cases, employees can portray negative emotions even when they are not annoyed or irritated. The consumers are likely to become upset when they perceive organizational representatives as being aggressive when responding (Okazaki &Taylor, 2013). When they become upset, the consumers develop negative attitude towards the organization and even the brand they are seeking information about. As Okazaki and Taylor (2013) explained, showing aggressiveness when communicating with the consumers on the social media reduces the ability of the employees to convey their messages properly. Also, the consumers might misinterpret the information sent by an aggressive employee.
Another mistake that the employees can make when communicating about a brand on the social media is disclosing confidential information about a brand, the organization or organizational stakeholders. For instance, the employees can leak information on the social media about a secret formula used by an organization to create a product brand. The information can be used by the competitors to their advantage (Okazaki &Taylor, 2013). The employees can also disclose personal details about customers on the social media, such as contacts and bank details. Data breach when communicating on the social media leads to negative reputation towards an organization and the brands it offers. When customers realize that the cause of data breach is intentional, they develop fear of conducting businesses with an organization in the future. Ultimately, an organization loses customers.
Some seemingly simple mistakes when communicating in the social media can have a major impact the consumer’s purchasing intentions. For instance, employees can respond to the consumers using language that they do not understand. When such a language is used, the message being conveyed is not understood by the consumers. Frequent use of language that the consumers do not understand alienates them from the fan page (Baird & Parasnis, 2011). When the frequency of reviewing information about a brand on the fan page reduces, the purchasing intentions also reduce. Using complex language has the same impact as using language that the consumers do not understand. Another mistake that can have a major negative impact is giving contradictory information about a brand on the social media to the consumers. For instance, two employees can give different details to the consumers about the value that they will derive from a brand. When consumers realize that they have been given contradictory information, they lose trust with a brand (Baird & Parasnis, 2011).
Sometimes, negative information about a brand can be spread by fired employees. Fired employees may decide to respond through punishing their former employers. One of the ways they can do that is to spread negative information about the brands sold by the former employer on the social media. Also, such employees can decide to disclose secrets about their former employers that can lead to the development of negative brand reputation. Such information can spread very quickly on the social media (Hoffman & Fodor, 2010).
In some cases, the consumers can spread negative information about a brand on the social media. Consumers who become unsatisfied with a brand or the services offered by an organization can become upset and spread negative information about a brand on the social media (Naylor, Lamberton & West, 2012). For instance, customers can decide to share their negative experience of using a brand on the social media. Consumers can decide to spread negative information about a brand out of malice (Naylor et al., 2012). The results derived from the previous studies have shown that negative comment about a brand by the consumers lead to the development of negative attitude towards that brand. Eisend (2006, as cited in Naylor et al., 2012) conducted a study to determine the impacts of negative comments made by the consumers about a brand on the social media. The researcher found that negative comments lead to the development of negative attitude towards a brand, a reduction in the intention to evaluate a brand and a reduction in purchase intentions. According to Naylor et al. (2012), the consumers tend to believe in the testimonies of other consumers who have had an experience in using a product. Also, the previous studies have shown that when consumers read negative comments about a brand on a post in a social media, they are likely to respond through making more negative comments. This is due to the fact that people like to conform to what others are saying. As such, a negative comment by one consumer can have a major negative impact on the reputation of a brand since it will attract more negative comments. However, some consumers can respond to the negative comments through giving positive ones (Naylor et al., 2012).
Bombarding the consumers with too much information on the social media about a brand is an example of communication that is not authentic. The previous studies have shown that the issues lead to loos of commitment to a brand’s fun-page as well as fun space. Hutter et al. (2013) conducted a study to determine how communication about a brand on the social media affects consumers’ perceptions towards the brands being advertised. The researchers gathered the information for the study from FaceBook users who were followers of a fan page of a car manufacturer. The results indicated that, however, bombarding the fans with too much information on the fan page annoys them. The results derived from the study, for instance, indicated that the fans got bored by too long messages. Hutter et al. (2013) noted that the bored consumers either ignore the messages or they ignore the fan page. When the frequency of visiting the fan page reduces, the urge to be associated with a brand reduces. Also, a reduction in the frequency of visiting the fun page leads to a reduction in the purchasing intentions.
Where possible, firms should establish ways of preventing negative communication on the social media. For instance, firms should give adequate training and guidance to the employees on how to use the social media. Precisely, the employees should be given guidance regarding the information that they can post on the social media as well as how they should respond to the consumers (Baird & Parasnis, 2011). Also, firms should constantly monitor the social media so as to notice negative communication about it or its brands. Also, firms should establish effective ways of managing negative communication. In case the consumers post negative information about a brand, for instance, a firm should respond quickly through giving clarification. Effective management of such situations can help to restore brand image (Baird & Parasnis, 2011).
Overall, the social media is an effective marketing tool that presents ample opportunities for organizations to enhance the reputation and awareness of their brands as well as brand loyalty. Ultimately, positive communication enhances the demand of a brand. However, this can only be achieved when the communication about a brand on the social media is positive, authentic and trustworthy. Communication about brands on the social media is not always trustworthy and authentic. Such kind of communication has a negative impact on a brand’s reputation and popularity. As explained in the above discussion, negative communication about a brand can emanate from emanate from malicious intentions of the fired employees. Improper communication can also be caused by mistakes done by the employees. The customers can share negative experience in the use of a brand on the social media. Improper communication can also occur as a result of bombarding the consumers with too much information on the fan page. Firms should establish ways of preventing and managing negative communication about their brands on the social media.
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