General Online Research 2011

March 14-16, 2011, Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf


Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or room to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview

C2: Social Media in Marketing and Communications

Time: Tuesday, 15/Mar/2011: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Session Chair: Maren Heltsche


The impact of facebook communication on brand perception

Thilo Trump, Busse Matthias

result gmbh, Germany

Social Media is a challenge for brand communication. Word-of-mouth-communication on twitter, blogs etc. is becoming a more and more vital part of a brand’s media image. We would like to address the following question: “How does this kind of web communication affect brand perception?”.

As a subject we chose two different beer brands and their facebook accounts. One of them uses a more networking style approach on its facebook account with features of co-creation. The other one uses its account in a more traditional media style with mostly one-to-many announcements.

All participants are regular facebook users. They are split into two groups per brand: a) main brand users and

b) potential.

In order to measure the accounts’ impact on brand image and KPIs we ask a sample of facebook users (n=360) to join one of the companies facebook account by clicking “I like”, thus getting the brand’s facebook communication on their personal “wall”.

In a pre-post design we measure the brand’s image before and four weeks after starting following them on facebook. To gain further qualitative insights concerning perception and attitude we select n=40 participants to talk part in a “result blog diskurs” , a blog-style online discussion. (To avoid effects “blog diskurs” participants will be excluded from the post measurement.)

Social Media as a Chance for Credible Communication in Times of Crisis: a Comparison between Lufthansa and airBaltic during the Ash Cloud Crisis in 2010

Anne Linke1, Baiba Abelniece2

1University of Leipzig, Germany; 2University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Relevance & Research Question: The Internet has become an integral part of the way people and organizations communicate (Hallahan, 2010). An even more vibrant field has emerged with the digital evolution to social media - internet-based applications built on the web 2.0 to create and exchange user generated content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). They allow personal publishing of potentially influential commentary (Trammell & Keshelashvili, 2005) and connection with others. Previously isolated commentary turns into a force with potential impact on public opinion (Lariscy et al., 2009). This becomes especially important for organizations in times of crisis. Therefore, the aim of this study is to look at how enterprises use social media to communicate credibly and restore their image in a crisis.

Methods & Data: This is comparatively analyzed for the aircraft enterprises Lufthansa (Germany) and airBaltic (Latvia) during the ash cloud crisis 2010. Qualitative content analysis of both companies´ presences in social media allow insight into when and how actively airlines engaged, what kind of image restoration strategies (Benoit, 1995) they showed and what they did to demonstrate credibility.

Results: Even though the crisis arrived simultaneously in both countries and showed similar characteristics, enterprises reacted differently. Lufthansa showed fast communication and a proactive strategy of image restoration. They have been using social media for years and own corresponding resources. Regarding the ash cloud crises, they can be considered a benchmark - strategically applying dialogic communication on many platforms and consequently receiving positive feedback. By contrast, complaints dominated in the profiles of airBaltic. Most problems were caused by questions, the company did not answer. Here, a learning process was visible, developing from a silence strategy to actively but still only spontaneously communicating. At the end, they adapted quite well to the special rules of the social web.

Added Value: Research shows new general implications for theory and practice. The value of social media in crisis communication seems to depend on the organizations’ experience and strategic integration in the general corporate communications. Social media, when applied correctly, can then help to demonstrate credibility with the help of proactive strategies of image restoration.

Linke-Social Media as a Chance for Credible Communication-122.pdf

Characteristics of Popular Brand Facebook Pages

Laura E. Buffardi

Universidad de Deusto, Spain

Relevance & Research Question: Retailers are rapidly establishing a presence on social networking web sites. For example, most major retailers now have a Facebook page for users to browse, “like,” or become a fan of. Though retailers are investing time and money into these new social marketing strategies, little research has been conducted on their composition and effectiveness. In the present research, we ask (1) what features of brand Facebook pages correlate with number of fans and (2) what features predict positive consumer outcomes?

Methods & Data: Approximately 125 of the most popular product and restaurant brand Facebook pages (i.e., those with the most fans) were saved. First, a variety of objective features of these pages were collected (e.g., numbers of fans, wallposts, videos). Second, five independent coders rated the extent to which the content and tone of the pages reflected positive subjective qualities (e.g., excitement, interactivity, visual appeal). Third and finally, research participants each viewed five brand pages and reported consumer attitudinal (e.g., Brand Facebook Page Love, based on Carroll & Ahuvia, 2006) and behavioral (e.g. desire to become a fan) outcomes.

Results: First, correlations between the number of fans and objective features of the brand Facebook pages showed that greater numbers of fans related to more media (photos and videos) posted by fans, more iPhone apps offered, providing a mission statement, and higher rates of wall posting. Second, correlations between the number of fans and subjective features showed that pages with more fans were rated higher on interactivity, visual appeal, and offering quality content. The pages with more fans were also viewed as more modern, multicultural, and exciting. Third, correlations between positive consumer attitudes towards brand pages and the page features revealed that positive consumer attitudes were related to the pages appearing interactive, visually appealing, modern, and exciting. However, reports of positive consumer behavioral outcomes did not correlate with many page features.

Added Value: This research provides initial information about what features of Facebook brand pages might be valuable in marketing strategy. It also provides new methodology for future examinations of social media brand pages.

Buffardi-Characteristics of Popular Brand Facebook Pages-179.pdf

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