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Social media activities: Understanding what consumers do in social media

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Consumers are increasingly consuming, participating, contributing, and sharing different types of online content. This is influencing the marketing activities traditionally controlled and performed by companies. The aim of this chapter is to
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  A volume in the Advances in Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, and E-Services (AMCRMES) Book Series Eldon Y. Li National Chengchi University, Taiwan & California Polytechnic State University, USA Stanley Loh Lutheran University of Brazil (ULBRA), Brazil & Faculty of Technolofgy Senac, Brazil Cain Evans Birmingham City University, UK  Fabiana Lorenzi Lutheran University of Brazil (ULBRA), Brazil  Organizations and Social Networking:  Utilizing Social Media to Engage Consumers  Lindsay Johnston  Joel Gamon  Jennifer Yoder Adrienne Freeland Austin DeMarco Kayla Wolfe Alyson Zerbe  Jason Mull Organizations and social networking : utilizing social media to engage consumers / Eldon Y. Li, Stanley Loh, Cain Evans and Fabiana Lorenzi, editors. pages cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary: “This book provides a broad investigation into the use of social technologies in business practices through theoretical research and practical applications, exploring the opportunities and challenges brought about by the advent of various 21st century online business web tools and platforms”--Provided by publisher. ISBN 978-1-4666-4026-9 (hardcover) -- ISBN 978-1-4666-4027-6 (ebook) -- ISBN 978-1-4666-4028-3 (print & perpetual access) 1. Internet marketing--Social aspects. 2. Social media--Economic aspects. 3. Consumer behavior. 4. Electronic commerce--Social aspects. 5. Management--Social aspects. I. Li, Eldon Yu-zen, 1952- HF5415.1265.O74 2013 658.8’72--dc23 2013001745 This book is published in the IGI Global book series Advances in Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, and E-Services (AMCRMES) Book Series (ISSN: Pending; eISSN: Pending)British Cataloguing in Publication DataA Cataloguing in Publication record for this book is available from the British Library.All work contributed to this book is new, previously-unpublished material. The views expressed in this book are those of the authors, but not necessarily of the publisher.Managing Director: Editorial Director: Book Production Manager: Publishing Systems Analyst: Development Editor: Assistant Acquisitions Editor: Typesetter: Cover Design: Published in the United States of America by Business Science Reference (an imprint of IGI Global)701 E. Chocolate AvenueHershey PA 17033Tel: 717-533-8845Fax: 717-533-8661 E-mail: cust@igi-global.comWeb site: http://www.igi-global.comCopyright © 2013 by IGI Global. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without written permission from the publisher.Product or company names used in this set are for identification purposes only. Inclusion of the names of the products or companies does not indicate a claim of ownership by IGI Global of the trademark or registered trademark. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data  1 Copyright © 2013, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. Chapter 1 DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4026-9.ch001 INTRODUCTION Consumers are increasingly active online. They are consuming, participating, contributing, and sharing different types of online content. Where individuals have traditionally been seen as pas-sive consumers of different marketing content, they are gradually influencing the marketing activities traditionally controlled and performed by companies. Although the use of social media is growing and user-generated content (UGC) is exploding in sites like YouTube, MySpace, Face-book, and Wikipedia, few academic studies have been conducted concerning individuals’ use of social media, and many studies are conceptually oriented. Many emerging studies are currently focusing on the use of social media in different service sectors, including museums, libraries, Kristina Heinonen  Hanken School of Economics, Finland  Social Media Activities: Understanding What Consumers Do in Social Media ABSTRACT Consumers are increasingly consuming, participating, contributing, and sharing different types of online content. This is influencing the marketing activities traditionally controlled and performed by companies. The aim of this chapter is to conceptualize the activities consumers perform in social media. Social media denote content created by individual consumers such as online ratings or verbal reviews, online message boards/forums, photos/video sites, blogs, tags, and social networking sites. A conceptual  framework for consumers’ social media activities is developed and qualitatively substantiated. Social media activities are based on the motives for the activities, including information, social connection, and entertainment. The chapter contributes to research on social media and online communities by describing user behavior and motivations related to the user-created services. Managerially, the study deepens the understanding of different challenges related to users’ activities on social media and the motivations associated with those activities.  2 Social Media Activities sports and entertainment venues (Kidd, 2011; Hall, 2011; Rotschild, 2011). But what citizens and active consumers are doing in social media needs more attention. Studies have shown that consumers’ activity influences the value that is created in the use of a service (Heinonen, 2009; Heinonen & Strandvik, 2009). More studies of social media are needed to respond to consum-ers’ enormous interests in and activity related to social media.Current social media research emphasizes individuals’ motivations for creating content or the role of personality on social media use. The majority of recent studies are exploring individu-als’ reasons to use social media (Park, Kee & Valenzuela, 2009; Raacke & Bonds-Raacke, 2008; Baker & White, 2011; Shao, 2009). Many studies are also emphasizing social networking sites (Ross et al., 2009; Boyd & Ellison, 2008; Utz, 2010), leaving other types of social media unexplored. Some research positioned in the service science field has used activity theory to describe social media services (Multisilta, 2009). However, what is lacking is a deeper understanding of what in-dividuals do and the influence of these activities on individuals’ perceptions and behavior. More importantly, little is known about individuals’ interest in activity and willingness to collaborate in this type of peer-created and-dominated service.The aim of this chapter is to conceptualize the activities consumers perform in social me-dia. Social media denote the content created by individual consumers such as online ratings or verbal reviews, online discussions/conversations, photos/video sites, blogs, tags, and social network-ing sites. A conceptual framework for consumer activities and perceptions of user-created content is developed and qualitatively substantiated. The following research questions are addressed: What activities regarding social media are consumers involved in? What motivates consumers’ activities in social media?The chapter contributes to research on social media and online communities by describing consumer behavior and motivations related to the user-created services. Managerially, the study deepens the understanding of different strategies related to consumers’ activities in social media and the motivations associated with those activities.The chapter is structured in the following way. First is a general overview of the perspective and approach on social media and user-generated content taken in this chapter. Secondly follows a review of previous research on consumers’ moti-vations to use social media as well as a review of research on consumers’ activities on social media. Next, a conceptual framework for consumers’ activities social media is proposed. Thereafter the empirical study is presented, and the findings are used to develop and substantiate the conceptual framework. The findings are then discussed on a more general level and managerial strategies based on social media activities are presented. The final conclusions include implications and recommendations for researchers and managers. Based on issues not covered in the current study agendas for future research are also identified. SOCIAL MEDIA AND USER-GENERATED CONTENT Social media is a rather new phenomenon, the use of social networking sites and user-generated services intensified from 2003 onward (Boyd & Ellison 2008). The social media research has been approached from different perspectives, using various concepts including social networking sites (Boyd & Ellison 2008, Utz 2010), user-generated content (Muñiz & Schau, 2011; Shao, 2009), and social media (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Essen-tially, user-generated content are used to describe the phenomenon where consumers are creating, designing, consuming, or editing content created by others (Krishnamurthy & Dou 2008). Social media in turn are connected platforms for the pub-lic exchange of information between consumers (Boyd & Ellison 2008) in a democratic manner  3 Social Media Activities (Drury, 2008). Although there are implied differ-ences between the many concepts of these media, the concepts social media and user-generated content have been used semi-interchangeably (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). In this chapter, social media are defined as user-created content (i.e., user-generated content (UGC) and social media are seen to represent the same thing).Social media have been classified in many ways, depending on the type and characteristics (Boyd & Ellison, 2008; Krishnamurthy & Dou, 2008). Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) included six types of social media (i.e., collaborative projects, blogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual game worlds, and virtual social worlds). Collaborative projects are websites allowing multiple users to collectively edit or contribute to the content. Blogs are often seen as online diaries by individual users who want to express their views and opinions to be open publicly. Content communities, such as YouTube, Flickr, and Dopplr are websites that allow users to share content with each other. Social networking sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, connect users to each other or to a particular community. The last two social media types, virtual game worlds and social worlds, connect gamers to each other in virtual worlds, such as Second Life or World of Warcraft. The motives to use these six social media types are different, where some are more entertainment-oriented and other more network-oriented. Consequently, the activities consumers engage in are also different. Motivators to Activity Exploring consumer motivations to engage in so-cial media enables an understanding of consumers’ activities. Studies focusing on consumers’ motiva-tion are emerging rapidly. The classic uses and gratification approach (Blumler & Katz, 1974) has been the starting point for many studies on internet usage in general (Ko, Cho & Roberts, 2005) and social media and user-generated content in par-ticular (Shao 2009; Stafford, Stafford & Schkade, 2004). This approach explores the relationships between users’ motives for a specific medium and the consequences of those motives. Research on internet uses and gratifications indicate that consumers’ motives have processual elements, content elements, and social elements (Stafford, Stafford & Schkade, 2004). The motives consist of information, convenience, entertainment, and social interaction (Ko, Cho, & Roberts, 2005). In line with these findings, recent research on user-generated media found similar motives including information, entertainment, social interaction and community development, and self-actualization and self-expression (Shao 2009, Courtois et al., 2009). Similar motives have been linked to social networking sites including socializing, entertain-ment, self-status seeking, and information (Park, Kee, & Valenzuela, 2009). The motives have been linked to consumers’ activities on social media (Shao, 2009). Consumer Social Media Activities Previous research on social media activity has emphasized how actively (or passively) consum-ers behave online. The starting point is frequently consumers’ communication behavior that ranges between different levels of consumption or pro-duction of social media content. The poster-lurker dichotomy (i.e., portraying consumers as either posting or reading content), is a key approach to consumer activity (Schlosser, 2005; Shang, Chen, & Liao, 2006). Based on the poster-lurker communication behavior (de Valck, van Brug-gen, & Wierenga, 2009) consumers can be either active contributors to the community in terms of retrieving, supplying, or discussing the informa-tion, or more passive consumers of the content. Consumption can take various forms where community users discuss information, retrieve and supply information, or maintain and update
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