Consumer impact on social media marketing. Cases: Finnair and Suomenlinna

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School of Business | Master's thesis
International Business
Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta
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Consumer Impact on Social Media Marketing. Cases: Finnair and Suomenlinna Objectives of the Study: The objective of the study was to investigate the impact of consumer involvement in marketing communications on social media websites. The case organizations were Finnair, a Finland-based airline company, and Suomenlinna, a travel destination in Helsinki, Finland. The study used netnographic methods to answer the research question: "What impact does consumer involvement have on marketing communications on social media forums related to the case companies?" Methodology and the Theoretical Framework: The sources of data consisted of messages posted on four social media forums - Facebook, YouTube, FlyerTalk, and Wikitravel - from January 2013 through June 2013. The interaction between Finnair and consumers was studied on Finnair's Facebook site, on YouTube and in Finnair Plus discussion board on FlyerTalk. The interaction between Suomenlinna and consumers was studied on Suomenlinna's Facebook site, on YouTube and in the Wikitravel page for Helsinki. The theoretical framework of the study consisted of three levels: company, message, and consumer. Consumers had both direct impact on the content and distribution of the message, and indirect impact on the company activities related to social media marketing. Findings and Conclusions: The findings suggest that the theoretical framework of direct and indirect consumer impact can be applied in the cases of Finnair and Suomenlinna. The role of company control in the generation of consumer activity is emphasized. There appears to be a cyclical relationship between the extent of company control and the extent of consumer activity. The level of consumer activity influences the company's need and willingness to control a social media forum. When consumers are active, the company can rely on user-based marketing, which tends to generate trust and customer loyalty among the consumers. When consumers are passive, the company has to take a larger share of content creation and message distribution or completely abandon the social media forum.
social media marketing, user-generated content, electronic word-of-mouth, online trust, channel choice, marketing content, marketing style, travel industry
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