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The Role of Paid and Earned Social Media on Consumer Behavior for Apparel Brands in China’s Market

A quantitative method study

Written by P. Zhou, A. Mickus & X. Guo

Paper category

Bachelor Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Bachelor Thesis: Social media marketing With the rapid development of global digitalization, a new marketing method is used to capture business opportunities. With the growth of digital business, social media has become more and more important for the development of the company (Venciūtė, 2018). Berthon and Shapiro (2012) pointed out that the content of social media includes various types, such as pictures, networks, texts and videos. In terms of channels, social media includes a large number of channels and individuals spread through interactions between organizations. Therefore, social media marketing is defined as the application of social media technology, communication and social media channels in the commercial market to expand commercial communication and achieve brand goals (Tuten & Solomon, 2015). The emergence of social media has challenged traditional marketing methods. In the digital marketplace, social media methods have strengthened customer connections with marketing distributors and retailers (Ramanathan, Subramanian, and Parrott, 2017). In addition, an experimental analysis pointed out that social media channels and activities have a positive impact on sales (Chang & Wu, 2018). 2.1.2 Social media marketing channels and traditional marketing techniques Although social media marketing represents a rapid development trend, traditional marketing occupies a large part of marketing work because most marketing budgets are spent on traditional marketing (Brown, 2014). In addition, Batra and Keller (2016) pointed out that traditional marketing still plays an important role in marketing, not the emergence of social media. Advertising and communication services through radio, television, newspapers and e-mail are traditional marketing methods to establish contact with customers. However, traditional marketing media methods are difficult to target customers individually (Webster and Lusch, 2013). At present, with the emergence of digital media, marketing strategies have undergone relative changes. At the same time, with changes in marketing models, customer behavior has also changed (Tuten & Solomon, 2015). Social media has been challenging traditional marketing techniques and has significantly affected customer behavior (Lamberton & Stephen, 2016). Mangold and Faulds (2009) pointed out that a large number of people prefer to choose social media rather than traditional sources to find information about products. Furthermore, consumers have obtained a variety of marketing content, and traditional marketing methods have lost their effectiveness. In addition, social media marketing can be used as a complementary tool to traditional marketing techniques and communication strategies (Baines, Fill, Rosengren, and Antonetti, 2019). 2.2 The impact of social media on customer behavior 2.2.1 Brand loyalty The study of Nisar and Whitehead (2016) found that there is a strong relationship between brand, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Therefore, branding and positive customer relationships help build customer loyalty. The study also emphasized the role of two types of user loyalty: behavior and attitude. For behavioral loyalty, people pay attention to brands only because they like a particular brand and are more likely to buy goods and services from companies they follow on social media. Due to the rise of technological advancement, it is easier to access users through social media not only to find new customers, but also to retain existing customers (Nisar and Whitehead, 2016). According to Oliver (1999), attitude loyalty is a deep commitment to “repurchase the preferred product/service in the future”, which will lead to “repurchase of the same brand product despite the situation.” The importance of social media makes customer satisfaction a more important factor for companies to consider, because disappointed customers can express their dissatisfaction with the product on a larger scale and damage the brand image. Returning to Nisar and Whitehead (2016), it is worth mentioning that the researchers pointed out that the buyer-seller relationship affects brands and personal interactions. Ahmed et al. (2018) further emphasized the role of social media marketing in building brand loyalty in their research. The study also confirmed that companies need to distinguish their online marketing strategies from traditional marketing strategies. In addition, the concept of "co-creation" is becoming more and more popular in today's marketing, which means that customers need to participate in multiple aspects of business strategy. In addition, customers with high brand awareness and social media awareness are willing to pay more for products promoted by well-known brands. 2.2.2 Brand awareness According to Darell (2008), if employers encourage employees to participate in the network and help create online communities, brand awareness can increase. For companies that increase brand awareness, it is important to consider setting goals that are easy to control and worry about the fact that an online presence has not been established in a short period of time. Especially for companies with fewer resources or budgets (Bija and Balas, 2014). One way for Western companies to build brand awareness is to use social media activities, as shown in an article by Ammerman (2015). However, as of 2020, the formulation of theories regarding the promotion of brand awareness in China is not enough. Read Less