Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the modern technique of gaining website attention through social media websites. It is adopted by many firms for the purpose of promoting their business. The SMM programs emphasizes on creating efforts that attracts and influence readers to share the business details all over the social network channel. It is the type of e-marketing practice which promotes the business to a wider area of network. The core advantage which is provided by SMM is direct interaction of company with clients and build regular relationship which could be carried out for a longer period of time. Other than company people, the existing satisfied customers also promote the business by increasing the popularity of website over social media.
Customer loyalty refers to the development of long term relationship with existing customer's by the company people. It aims at developing the influential mentality of people to purchase the product and services from that particular firm only over a longer period of time. As per the (Kassim and Abdullah, (2008) it has been said that by maintaining customer's loyalty, organization could enjoy various kinds of benefits. Most commonly, it includes word-of-mouth promotion of products and services of the company by its satisfied customers. Moreover, it also influence people to buy products repetitively from the same place and increase the ratio of customer's retention. It also enhances the competitive advantage of company in the industry in terms of goodwill.
In past period of time, many researches have been done for impact of SMM on gaining financial strength by many researchers, but there are very limited number of studies which have been done on creating customer's loyalty which is very important part from company's perspective. In the following study, identification of such gaps will be performed to get detailed knowledge regarding impact and significance of SMM on creating customer's loyalty. Burberry PLC group in UK is taken as the organization to understand the relevant topic in detailed manner. Burberry PLC has been chosen because it is commencing business since decades and they have developed strong brand image which is popularized over social media websites which act as the medium of marketing. The statement of problem in the following study will be to determine the impact of SMM on creating customer's loyalty. What kind of impacts could be realized after adopting the social media marketing technique on customer's loyalty will be the content for discussion.
Research aims and objectives
Aim: The aim of presented report is to identify the impact of social media marketing on creating customer's loyalty by Burberry PLC group.
- Determining various methods of customer retention by the way of social media marketing.
- Identification of information which is required for the purpose of customer's loyalty by social media methods.
- Obtaining the effectiveness of social media marketing in creation of customer's loyalty.
- Ascertaining different ways to analyze how customer loyalty could be helpful in retention and creating new clients for the company.
- Evaluating different social media marketing strategies followed by Burberry PLC group in creating customer loyalty.
- Examining the buying behavior of customers after getting various benefits of customer loyalty from the company's perspective.
Rationale of the topic
The following research is conducted with an aim to determine gaps which have not been covered in the previous studies. In the current report, latest information related to use of social media marketing for creating customers loyalty will be presented. Considering the past investigations, it is found that social media marketing has been proved as a very effective measure of marketing and provides lots of benefits to company in terms of increasing sales and brand awareness. Companies have focused on increasing sales just by promoting their business over websites but they have never paid attention towards gaining clients fidelity. In the following report, impact of social media marketing in creating customers loyalty will be presented as how existing customers could be used as a medium of promoting business through social media. By studying the current report which is based on impact of social media marketing on creating customer's faithfulness of Burberry PLC group, a universal approach of business policies will be developed that can be practiced by other firms also.
Research methodology is considered to be as very important part in every study as it reflects the information about the manner in which the study has been conducted by the researcher. A user or reader gets a complete idea by reading the research methodology about the methods and techniques which the researcher adopted for doing the study. Without including research methodology in the study, a researcher cannot convey the message or justify its findings and analysis to the user. Many authors says, a research would be ineffective or incomplete if there is no inclusion of research methodology (Friese, 2012). The authors say that through research methodology the researcher gives detail about how he or she conducted the study to achieve the aims and objectives. The main parts which are demonstrated by researchers in research methodology are research philosophy, research approach, research type, research design, data collection, sampling techniques, data analysis, accessibility issues and ethical considerations which are followed while conducting the study (Punch, 2009). The research methodology which is followed in the present study for accomplishing of the research objectives is detailed underneath:
In social research, research philosophy means the understanding or rationale of the researcher for conducting the study. In other words, research philosophy signifies the competencies of the researcher related to the selected research topic. In doing a study, a researcher either adopts positivism research philosophy or interpretivisim research philosophy. A positivism research philosophy is adopted by a researcher when the study is objective or quantitative in nature (Robson, 2011). On the other hand, interpretive research philosophy is used when the study is subjective or qualitative in nature. It is said that a researcher also used interpretivism research philosophy when he or she didn't have much knowledge and information related to the topic and thus they make attempt to establish some constructive information and knowledge. From the secondary information it was identified that a researcher also adopts positivism research philosophy when he or she wants to draw findings and analysis by framing hypothesis (Thornhill, 2009). The present study is carried out by adopting positivism research philosophy as the study is objective in nature and numerical would be collected for the study.
Research approach signifies the method or approach with which the researcher has attempted to accomplish the objective of the study. There are basically two types of research approach; one is inductive approach and other is deductive approach. The research approach is selected on the basis of nature of the study and research philosophy adopted. The inductive research approach is used when the nature of the study is subjective and to make generalization from the specific thing (Sapsford and Jupp, 2006). The inductive research approach is also used when the research follows interpretivism research philosophy. Many authors also says that inductive approach should be used when no quantitative data is collected and analyzed. On the other hand, deductive approach is used when numerical data is required to be collected and analyzed and the study is objective in nature in which positivism research philosophy is used by the researcher. The deductive research philosophy is also used when there is need to test the hypothesis or to draw specific findings and conclusion from the generalization facts and information. So by seeing this concept of research approach it can be said that research approach is linked with research philosophy (Scruggs And Masotropieri, 2006). As it is known that in the present study, positivism research philosophy is used thus the study is carried out by following deductive research approach in which numerical data will be collected and analyzed and findings will be drawn with respect to the firm Burberry Group.
The research type signifies the caricaturist of the study. Research type is basically categorized into two i.e. quantitative type and qualitative type. A study is said to be as quantitative when the numerical data is collected and analyzed while when qualitative or theories are gathered and studies then that type of study is said to be as qualitative type. The present study should be considered in quantitative type as here quantitative data would be collected and analyzed by using required tools and techniques (Mathur, 2005). Many of times it happens that a study is done by using both quantitative and qualitative information then that type of study are termed as mixed type of study. Many authors say a research will be more effective and sound when both qualitative and quantitative data are collected and analyzed however it depends upon the nature and objective of the study. Here, the objective of the study would be met by collecting and analyzing quantitative information or data (Golafshani, 2003).
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In every research, a research design is selected by the researcher to achieve the research objectives in the best possible manner. With the help of proper research design, a researcher able to draw appropriate findings and conclusion related to the study. There are basically three types of research design namely exploratory, descriptive and casual research design in which research selects one to achieve the aims and objectives of the study (Thornhill, 2009). In the given particular study, exploratory research design is used as the quantitative data and information would be collected and analyzed to draw adequate outcomes or findings. By using exploratory research design, the study would be carried out in well systematic manner which will ultimately help in attaining the best outcomes which will meet the research objectives. The exploratory research design will effectively help in determining the impact or effectiveness of social media marketing on developing of customer loyalty for the firm Burberry (Goddard and Melville, 2004). The research design will also help in giving evidence that what social media marketing activities of Burberry proving to be significant for the firm. Here, descriptive or casual research design could also be used to identify the relationship between the social media marketing and customer loyalty but here exploratory research design found suitable for the study to get insight information related to the impact of social media marketing on creation of customer loyalty of the firm (Forzano,2011).
Data collection signifies the sources from where the data has been collected for the accomplishing of research objectives. Basically data can be collected either from primary source or secondary source. The primary data are collected by using the sources like questionnaires, interviews filed interview, focus group and observation method. On the other hand, secondary data are collected from the sources like newspapers, case studies, books, journals, websites and magazines (Robson, 2011). In the present study, the data would be collected by using both primary and secondary sources. The primary data would be collected through questionnaires whereas secondary data would be collected from the sources like books, journals and websites. Moreover, online libraries also been accessed to get some of the best information for the study (Punch, 2009).
Research universe demonstrates the population of the study. It is very essential to include the research universe or population in the research methodology as it gives the knowledge to the user about the targeted population of the study on which the study is focused. In the present study, the targeted population is the existing customers of Burberry PLC. Here, the data would be collected from the existing customers of Burberry which are available in large numbers as the company has its brick and mortar store across the globe (Friese, 2012). Here, the findings would be drawn by assessing the buying behavior of consumers towards the firm Burberry through its social media marketing. Here, it can be seen that the research universe is huge thus a sample will be determined by using appropriate sampling method or technique.
Sampling and sample size
Sampling technique is used when there is a need to collect the primary data. As here the primary data would be collected, so it is worth to mention about the manner through which the primary data would be collected (Scruggs and Masotropieri, 2006). Usually, sampling technique is used when the study is required to consider the response of large population but due to the resource and time constraints it takes a sample respondent to undertake the study in defined time period and with allocated resources. There are different sampling techniques namely simple random sampling, cluster sampling, stratified sampling, purposive random sampling etc used for the collection of primary data (Mathur, 2005). In the present study, the primary data would be collected from a sample size of 50 respondents which would be selected by using purposive random sampling method. The particular sampling technique is used because the data would be collected from the existing customers of Burberry firm who also have presence on social media websites like Facebook and related websites.
Data analysis is the part of research which is done after collecting of primary and secondary data. A research can do data analysis by using different methods and techniques. The quantitative data analysis can be done by using descriptive statistics, measure of dispersion, bar graphs, pie charts, cross tabulation, t-test, z-test, chi-square test, Annova test etc. The statistical test are applied on the basis of hypothesis or objective of the study. On the other hand, the qualitative data are analyzed by using thematic analysis (Golafshani, 2003). In the present study, the analysis of primary quantitative data would be done by using bar graphs, pie charts, frequency distribution, percentage and cross tabulation to draw constructive findings and conclusion. The analysis of data would be done by using SPSS Statistical Software. Firstly the collected data would be coded in Microsoft Excel and then it will be imported in SPPS software. Once the collected data would be imported in the SPSS then value and labeling against the variable would be defined so that the analysis would be carried out without any error (Sapsford and Jupp, 2006). The output which will be derived from the SPSS Software would be again exported to Microsoft Excel to make the well presented report or study.
Consideration of ethical issues
In doing of particular study, number of ethical aspects were considered in order to carry out the study in the best possible manner so that required results can be drawn. The first and foremost ethical aspect which was considered in the study was that to give proper citation to the authors whose findings and conclusion were included in the review of literature. This is the most important academic protocol which is required to be followed in doing of any research. Providing of citations to the author means giving of credit to the work which they have contributed in the field of research (Thornhill, 2009). The second ethical aspects which was considered is related to reviewing of only those studies which had high impact factor. This particular ethical consideration gives validity and reliability to the study. The third ethical issue which was taken into account was related to doing of study with complete dedication and commitment. In the study, no action was performed which is against the academic protocol like plagiarism etc (Mathur, 2005). Here, the complete work is done by the person to whom the work has been assigned. Last but not the least, ethical issues were also considered at the time of collection of primary data. Here, respondents were firmly asked to fill the questionnaires so that purpose of the study can be met in required manner (Goddard and Melville, 2004).
Validity and reliability issues
In every study, it is very necessary to ensure validity and reliability aspect as it justifies the aims, objectives and findings and analysis of the research. In the present study, the aims and objectives were determined by identified research gap from thorough review of past literature. From the past studies, it was identified that there were no such studies which were made to determine the impact of social media marketing on customer loyalty with respect to the Burberry firm. Thus, by seeing this aspect the study was undertaken (Forzano, 2011). The review of literature was done by accessing information from different reliable sources like books, journals and websites. Further, the primary data which will be collected by framing appropriate questionnaire in which all the questions would be included in align with the research objectives in order to achieve the best results or outcomes (Scruggs and Masotropieri, 2006).
In every research study, a researcher undertakes review of past literature in order to understand the findings and analysis which were laid down by the past authors. Doing of literature review significantly helps researcher in developing comprehensive understanding related to the research topic. In addition, doing of through literature review aid researcher in identifying of research gaps in the past studies which yet not have been determined or studied by any researcher. The identified research gap directs the actions of researchers towards the framing of research aims and objectives which ultimately help in deriving new information and knowledge related to the selected research subject. Many of times, researcher also undertakes conceptual research papers on the basis of reviewing of literature. In the conceptual paper, lot of review of literature is done to demonstrate the findings and analysis of different authors on the selected topic. In the conceptual papers, findings are derived by analyzing the findings that is derived by majority of researchers. Thus, it can be comprehended that review of literature has significant importance in carrying out of research. Hence, by seeing this significance of literature review in a research, the present study also undertaken a considerable amount of literature review to develop substantial understanding related to the impact of social media marketing on creation of customer loyalty. In the above task, objectives were framed by firstly doing review of literature in various books, journals, magazines and online articles and websites which published information related to effectiveness of e-marketing related activities on the development of customer loyalty. The study is undertaken on the particular topic because in the past studies several authors have gives their views and findings about the way customer loyalty is generated but there is no such studies or statements of authors which gave evidence that social media also develops sound customer loyalty for the business organization. Thus, by seeing this aspect, the particular study is chosen to find new insight information that whether social media is also effective in developing of long term customer loyalty. In the given below literature review, evidences which were derived from different past literature are presented so that the study gets a sound base of review of literature.
E-Marketing and its significance to the business organization
According to Dibb and Simkin (2013) e-marketing is modern form of marketing activities which are done with the help of internet and digital gadgets or applications. The author further stated that the scope of e-marketing has enhanced widely as it has been done through various number of mediums like internet, social media websites, social networking messaging apps, email news letter, company own website, third party website, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing, blogs, opt-in emails, RSS feeds, SMS and Pay Per Click (Waarden and et. al., 2013). In the year 2008 , a study was conducted by the Jones on the subject e-marketing. In the particular study, the author identified that e-marketing is helping business organization in number of ways. The author gave evidence that e-marketing is deriving significant monetary benefits to the business firms in form of incremental growth in sales revenue and net income. The author laid down the fact that the business organization who have been using e-marketing for last couple of year able to expand their business at large level as they able to market their product beyond the national boundaries. On the other hand, the study of the Kim and Ko (2012) concluded that e-marketing has significance beyond the increase in sales revenue and net income of the firm. The author determined from his study that e-marketing is creating huge monetary as well as non-monetary value for the corp orates. The author stated that the monetary value which business entities are deriving from e-marketing are increase in sales revenue, heighten-up in net income, decrease in selling and distribution cost etc. On the other hand, the non-monetary value which business entities are reaping through e-marketing activities are creation of brand awareness, developing of brand image and brand loyalty, increase in customer market share and addition in customer relationship and public relation activities.
The study of Xiang and Gretzel (2010) drawn the findings that e-marketing is one of the marketing activities which is expanding exponentially in present era due to large internet adoption and accessibility among people. From the particular study, it has been identified that e-marketing truly surpass the traditional form of marketing as it has been benefiting business organization in significant manner with all aspects whether it is related to monetary return or non-monetary return. In the year a study 2012, it was conducted by the ErdoÄŸmuÅŸ and Cicek in which it was found that traditional form of marketing only communicates a message to the customers whereas the e-marketing establishes two form of communication between the firm and customers (Burberry Group Plc. 2014).
Social Media marketing and its significance
As per the Oly Ndubisi (2007), it is the process of gaining website attention through social media websites. It usually focuses on creating content which attracts the customer to get influenced towards the particular product or services. In recent time, social media marketing is the most modern approach to promote the business in the market. Simultaneously, it is also very cheap method of advertising the product and services. There is no cost over investment of the business to promote their products or services online over social media. It is very effective medium and carries significance for the business. Most importantly, it allows you to observe your target market more closely and personally. Some of the social media websites which are used by business firms in the modern times includes Facebook, twitter, Google plus and many more. The business content could be published over these websites and promoted all over the world covering major and wider market area. Other than target market, it allows the business people to respond towards the problems of clients immediately and solve their queries. It leads to greater amount of customer satisfaction.
According to Sashi (2012), People are fond of using social websites in the recent period of time and they are addicted to online shopping. After receiving the advertisement clip over social media, they usually gets attracted. Hence, it increases the sale of company as well. It leads to coverage of greater market area and entertain customers who are out of the physical reach of business. Most importantly, it results to match between demand of people who are out of the market coverage of business. There are many people who have the demand of any product but they are difficult to be found out in market. such kind of products could be easily searched out over social media websites. There are many companies in the recent time who are using the social media techniques to promote their products and services. Therefore, the competitive and rival firms could be identified by business. It leads to creation of better strategies to overcome opponent firms and capture major portion of the market.
Types of Social media marketing
There are many types of social media marketing which could be used by firms in order to carry out the promotion of their business activities, products and services. The first and the most common type of social media marketing is creation of social network over websites. These services allows you to get connected with the other people who have similar interest in the product profile and possess identical background. Generally, they consists of various ways to interact with other users using media chat box or creation of groups over site. The most popular websites which provide these features are Facebook and LinkedIn. The other type for social media marketing comprises of social news. It is another innovative approach of social media marketing which allow different users to vote on the items which have been promoted by the firm. It is very effective technique as the item that secure maximum votes is displayed more prominently. The community people itself decides which item should be visualized and preferred more among people. Websites like Digg and Reddit are the key providers of social news.
Other than these types, another mode of social media marketing prescribed by Barwise and Farley (2005) is media sharing. This feature allows people to upload and share various media elements such as pictures and videos of any product which have been liked by them. They are interacted by other users in the form of likes and comments over the posted videos. YouTube and Flickr are the leading websites which enable users to share media over sites. According to Kotler (2011), blogging and comments over them is also a key social media marketing method which is in the trend in modern period. Under this approach, the members are allowed to hold the conversation by posting their messages over certain blogs or comments posted by companies. It is a kind of discussion which highlights the image of product and company according to the clients reviews. There are many blogs which are presented over internet such as blogspot which allow user to get entered into discussion panel and present their views over any product or services by a company. Considering the role of search engines, many social media marketing websites displays the feature of bookmarking website. It allows user to easily access the website frequently. It increases the chances of product to be displayed and liked by people to purchase them.
The way customer loyalty is created
Social media marketing is a very useful approach for the purpose of creating customer's loyalty. There are several methods, through which customer's loyalty and retention could be created. As per the views of Bernhardt, Mays and Hall (2012), classic media allows company to give real time feedback to their customer's on their queries on an immediate basis. It can be done by the way of phone calls where customer's are allowed to provide their contact details over sites which will be kept confidential by the firm's authorities. Other than over mobile phones, the feedback response could be provided over websites also by the company people. It provides help to other people also who are suffering from similar kind of problems. The Bruhn, Schoenmueller and Schäfer (2012), suggests that social media method of marketing is also beneficial to the company as it keeps the customers up to date with the latest activity of firm. The existing clients who are regular users of product from any particular company gets regular details of the firm's operation. As a result they could be kept as the leading player in target market who mostly gets influenced towards the organization.
In the opinion of Evans, (2012) since social media websites are published over internet after all kinds of trusted certifications, the firms which are using them for the purpose of promotions are also proving their trust factor. As a result, it builds a feeling of confidence among customers that the firm with which they are planning to deal is genuine. It creates the trust factor among users and eventually increase the customer's loyalty with the firm. The Kozinets and et. al., (2010) said that company who are commencing marketing over social media gets an advantage that they could be always stick with their customers all over the day. Users could operate the portal of the firm anytime and gets a computerized response which allows them to get connected with the client throughout the day. It eventually leads to customer's loyalty as they get the trading facilities and overview of the product anytime and increases the proportion of customer's retention with the firm.
Impact of customer loyalty on business organization
According to Luo, Wang and Han, (2013) it has been said that every company works with the motive of increasing their customers database because they are the leading elements in the growth of firm. Customers are the asset to a firm as they leads to increasing operational activity for the organization. Considering the factor of customer loyalty, it creates a huge impact over business firms to observe growth in the lifetime of business to gain sustainability. As per the Mangold and Faulds, (2009) it is said that with increase in the customer's loyalty, company could increase their sale. When greater number of clients gets associated with the firm, it leads to increasing turnover which is essential for every business firm.
Other than increasing sale and focusing towards turnover, the Martell, (2008) said that customer loyalty also results to increase in the rate of client's retention which is also a very essential aspect to be considered. It reduces the effort of company to search out for the new market share. They could retain their customers and make them their target people who easily gets influences towards the product and services of the company. When they are satisfied with the past performance of firm, they will stick with their priority to purchase the item from the same place. According to Strauss, Frost and Ansary, (2009) one of the most important benefit which business organization observes from customer's loyalty is self publicity and promotion. When the existing clients are satisfied with the services which they have received in the earlier period, they eventually promotes them to other people also and social media marketing is the best method for such kind of publicity. People are allowed to provide their opinions in the form of comments. Hence customer's loyalty is the best method to promote business. Safko, (2012) prescribed that there are various means of providing customer loyalty such as discounts, bonus and coupons which could be availed by customer's over purchase of products. Such practices influence people to visit over the same firm multiple time to avail benefits of them. It results to customer retention which provides huge positive impact over the business organization. Customers also plays a very crucial role as they contribute for the effectiveness of firm. By gaining customers loyalty, company will be able to increase their sale as their market share eventually increases.
Relationship between Social Media Marketing and customer loyalty
From the past researches which have been conducted, it is observed that companies creates various strategies for increasing their customer loyalty by the mode of social media marketing. As per the Zarrella, (2009), it is analyzed that the service providing companies lay special focus on providing value and information to their customers through social media marketing. They provide high quality data to their clients which influence them to visit over the portal multiple times. It increases the frequency of company to entertain their customers and gain high customer loyalty for future benefits. Many firms under similar industries provide stellar customer services especially on their problems. When the conditions of client queries arises, they initiate the customer service programs in which they treat every client individually over mails and social media websites. As a result, the other clients facing similar problems also gets the solution and provides their comments of appreciation for solving their queries (Lagrosen, 2005).
Many companies in the retailing industries promote their products through social media marketing and follows the approach of educating their clients. According to Scheiner, (2014), it is suggested to companies that there is no condition more irritating to client then the dilemma as how to use any particular product. Hence company use to give proper instructions to their clients regarding the method to use the product. It is also a very effective approach of gaining customer loyalty and covering major market area by the ways of social media marketing. Many firms under automobile industry creates bifurcation according to class of the customers. As per the King, (2014), these companies focuses on retaining the most valuable customers who have the potential to spend money. They set them as the target people and highlights them over social media websites to encourage them for developing future business relations also. It is very effective technique because the existing clients also gets promoted which eventually leads to customer's retention over the longer period of time (Hsieh, Chiu and Chiang, 2005). By the help of social media marketing, customer's loyalty increases. The business organization gets the chance to promote their business to a higher level.
From the following literature review,the opinions of many authors have been concluded. The detailed introduction regarding the topic has been done. The opinions of past research related to e-marketing and social media marketing have been discussed with respect to customer's loyalty. For better understanding of the topic, e-Marketing has been explained in detail along with its significance to the business organization that has been presented in an elaborate manner. The broader aspect of e-marketing has been covered in the literature review. Simultaneously, the social Media marketing and its significance is presented in the report. The use of social media marketing is presented along with the opportunities that could be provided to the clients by business organization are also described. Other than the descriptive details and significance, the types of Social media marketing is also described in the literature review. The methods which could be opted under these types are also presented along with the leading websites which support the particular social media marketing methods. The different perspectives of various authors have been provided with respect to different types of social media marketing. Methodologies regarding the way customer loyalty is created is also presented and described in detailed manner for clear and better understanding. The importance of customers in the lifetime of business agencies have been shown in the literature review with their role in promoting business over social media. Moreover, impact of customer loyalty on business organization is also described in the content with effectiveness. The role of customer loyalty on business organization has been presented in relevance to the description of relationship between Social Media Marketing and customer loyalty. The relationship between social media and customers loyalty is highlighted with the impact of loyalty of clients to the organization by the help of social media marketing. Finally, the opinions of authors have been presented in context with different industries including service sector and retailing industries who maintain the relationship between customer loyalty and social media marketing. The complete literature review describes the importance, role and impact of social media marketing as well as customers loyalty towards the organization which is beneficial for them in gaining competency and sustainability in the marketplace which allows them to grow in the future course of business. Finally it has been concluded that customer loyalty plays a crucial role in the lifetime of business in which social media marketing is the easiest source of promoting business and taking it to the next level.
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