Effects of beauty vloggers’ eWOM and sponsored advertising – the case of Sina Weibo
Dr Claudia E Henninger, Dr Marta Blazquez Cano, Dr Rosy Boardman, Ms Weifang Ding
This project investigates the effects of beauty vloggers’ (video bloggers) eWOM (electronic word of mouth) and sponsored advertising on followers utilizing Sina Weibo, thereby exploring the concepts of
eWOM, opinion leadership, and social status. This exploratory qualitative study found that vlogging differs from traditional blogging in that direct advertising that fosters ease of purchase of a product is
appreciated by followers, whilst direct marketing, which in this case refers to simply describing the benefits of products and/or services, is seen as unfavorable. Moreover, this research found a relationship
between the influence of vloggers, expertise of followers, the level of detail in adverts, and the level of trust. This provides valuable insights into attitudes and perceptions of followers of beauty vlogs, which
can utilized as practical implications to develop targeted advertising strategies for companies seeking to promote their products and brands through third party vlogs.
An Investigation Of How Different Social Media Channels Affect Customer Relationships Within The Brand Community
Dr Rosy Boardman, Dr Claudia Henninger and Ms Hao Chen
Social media is changing the fashion industry landscape, with consumers under 40 spending on average 107 minutes daily on their social media accounts (WGSN, 2016), which highlights the importance of
exploring how different social media channels affect customer relationships within a brand community. The study focuses on a well-known British retailer that currently uses Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
as part of their communication strategy. We build upon Laroche et al.’s (2013) model of the effect of brand community on social media by investigating the underpinning type of relations built through
these three social media channels.
This exploratory study follows an interpretivist stance and utilises semi-structured interviews as the basis for collecting data. The open-ended questions allow us to explore what type of relationships
customers build through following, liking, or becoming a fan of the social media channels. For this initial stage of the study 12 in-depth interviews were conducted with female, age 18-26 (matching the
retailer’s target market) users of the retailer’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram communications. The in-depth discussions produced rich data sets that allowed for patterns and clusters to emerge
organically in analysis. With several researchers coding the data sets, individual interviews were coded and recoded multiple times. Any discrepancies were carefully reviewed and discussed.
Our data found significant differences between the retailer’s social media channels and the types of relationships that are associated with them from a customer perspective. Of the four relationship
types created by Laroche et al. (2013), Facebook facilitated the strongest customer-other customer relationship. Instagram facilitated the strongest customer-brand relationship and customer-product
relationship, yet it facilitated the weakest customer-company relationship, and Twitter facilitated the strongest customer-company relationship but a significantly weaker customer-other relationship.
The aim of this research was to explore how different social media brand communities facilitate different customer relationships. However, cultural, demographic and brand-specific factors may also
impact on these relationships, and so future research could extend this study using moderating variables. The main limitation of this research was the sample size, however a significant depth of
responses was collected to justify this. The research enables practitioners to communicate better with their customers as they can have separate social media strategies in order to enhance that
particular brand community and build on the customer relationships, which will in turn enhance brand trust and brand loyalty. The study fills a gap in the academic literature by extending the
model of brand community and brand loyalty in a social media context and through a qualitative inquiry. It contributes to the extant literature by providing an original insight into the differences
between social media brand communities and how they each facilitate different customer-brand relationships.