Customer engagement behaviour on social media platforms: how are SME fashion retailers engaging

Ajiboye, T., Resnick, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-4471-7594 and Harvey, J., 2020. Customer engagement behaviour on social media platforms: how are SME fashion retailers engaging. In: CERR 2020 5th Colloquium on European Research in Retailing, University of Valencia, Spain, 1-2 September 2020.

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Firm reputation refers to the way in which customers can recognize and correctly interpret a firm’s identity. It reflects success in fulfilling the expectations of its most important stakeholders - its customers (Freeman, 1984). In regards to firm reputation, customers can have an impact through word of mouth communication with the scale of this impact facilitated through social media and online communications (Walsh et al. 2009). A firm’s reputation is a key prerequisite for engendering high levels of customer engagement behaviour (van Doorn et al. 2010) and customer engagement behaviours on social media has the potential to influence the relationships between firms and their customers (Ajiboye, Harvey and Resnick, 2019). Customer engagement behaviour is perceived as being beyond a purchase and as a series of motivational drivers focused on a brand or firm after purchase (van Doorn et al. 2010). These behavioural manifestations reveal themselves in two ways, positively e.g. through posting positive reviews on a brand page and negatively e.g. through organizing public actions against a brand. Engaged customers therefore play a key role in marketing activity by providing referrals or recommendations for specific products, services and brands to others and through spreading positive word of mouth often via social media.

The importance of customer engagement has special relevance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Small businesses focus on customer engagement as this enables flexibility in terms of adopting new business strategies (Singh et al. 2008). The emergence of social media platforms as a means of engagement is highly advantageous for SMEs as it offers opportunities to engage with customers and to extend communication to existing and future customers (De Vries and Carlson, 2014). Marketing through the web does not require great ‘know-how’, and the use of social media platforms helps to overcome typical SME constraints of limited resources and lack of technical knowledge, and can facilitate communication to niche audiences (Stokes and Nelson, 2013).

Social media technologies use mobile and web-based services to create interactive platforms through which communities, individuals and entities co-create, interact and share user-generated content (Boyd and Ellison, 2008). Today, there exists a diverse and rich number of social media sites with a variety of scope and functionality. For example, the social network site Facebook is targeted at the general population; LinkedIn is focused on establishing professional networks, YouTube and Instagram concentrate on sharing photos and posting videos, and Twitter on exchanging views.

Using observations of social media posting across the three major platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and guided by the COBRA framework as a means of categorising customer postings, this study compares the engagement of customers and SME fashion retailers categorised under three social media engagement behaviours. Termed as sharing and watching brand-related content (consumption), posting brand-related content (creation) and commenting or liking brand-related content (contribution) (Schivinski, 2016) these activities help understand both the type and level of engagement behaviour between SMEs and their customers.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Ajiboye, T., Resnick, S. and Harvey, J.
Date: September 2020
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 18 May 2021 15:12
Last Modified: 18 May 2021 15:16

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