a study on electronic word-of-mouth in online communities
TABLE OF CONTENT
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 10
What is electronic word-of-mouth?.2
Why do consumers involve in eWOM? 1.5
How do consumers adopt eWOM?3.5
Why should businesses be aware of eWOM? 2
Each month, over 30 billion pieces of content are shared through Facebook (Facebook; Statistics). More and more, people tend to use the largest social network site as a source of information rather than a social instrument. Moreover, not only consumers use social media to interact with each other, but also business to consumer communication takes places online. Therefore, many businesses try to benefit from the popularity and the possibilities of social network sites (de Vries et al., 2012). Both marketers and consumers can easily create platforms to interact with each other. Online communities promote consumer-brand relationships with current and potential community members (Lee et al., 2011). In 2007, Facebook launched the Fan Page feature on their social network. The Fan Page allows companies to post messages including photos, anecdotes, videos, and other material. Besides, consumers are enabled to communicate with the company and online peers by commenting, liking, and sharing (de Vries et al., 2012). Subsequently, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter followed Facebook’s example of creating company pages (Wikipedia). Popular brands like Coca-Cola and Disney attained a number of fans close to 60 and 40 million respectively (Facebook.com). With a multitude of advertising and information opportunities available via social media, consumers’ trust has changed over the years. Adapting to this information overload, consumers seek for information from trustworthy sources, their peers. The ability for consumers the recommend and discuss brands and products on the Internet is an emerging opportunity for businesses. Several researches have proven that WOM and subsequently eWOM play a major role in consumers’ buying decisions (Hennig Thureau, 2004).
Infegy, a social media analytic firm, conducted a research among the popularity of brands in social media. In this research, the number of times brands are mentioned in social media posts were counted, finding that Twitter, Apple, and Facebook are the most social brands of 2012.
Infegy Inc., 2013 top 10 of 50 most popular social brands.
This paper will review existing studies on eWOM. Trough this extensive literature reviewing, this paper will enlarge on the motivations to contribute to eWOM and the possibilities of electronic word-of-mouth. In addition, a recommendation to increase positive eWOM will be written for Dutch Railroad Company De Nederlandse Spoorwegen. Therefore, the following problem statement will be used;
How can NS increase positive eWOM on Facebook?
WHAT IS ELECTRONIC WORD-OF-MOUTH?
Recommending products or brand to one’s peers is an example of word-of-mouth advertisement. Traditional word-of-mouth (WOM) is formulated by researcher Johan Arndt (1967): “Oral, person-to-person communication between a receiver and a communicator whom the receiver perceives as non-commercial, concerning a brand, product, or a service”.
Word-of-mouth is received more credible from person-to-person than from business-to-consumer. Nyilasi (2006) elaborated on this definition, explaining traditional word-of-mouth as a form of interpersonal communication. Therefore, WOM excludes other types of channels like mass communication. Concluding, word-of-mouth can be seen as non-commercial peer-to-peer advertisement.
With the increase of Internet usage, product and brand recommendations have become easily available online. In digital media, word-of-mouth is referred to as electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). The most widely used definition for eWOM is given by...