Audience Drives on Social Media: An Investigation Into the Motivational Factors Behind Customers Involvement With SMEs’ on Social Media Platforms in a B2B Environment

Seyed Hamidreza Hashemi

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

During the last decades, rise of social media has influenced many aspects of humankind’s life, and now, these online communities are considered as an undetachable part of modern life. Similar to many other aspects of our life, the world of business has experienced many impacts of this phenomenon, both positive and negative. Today, with over 2.6 billion social media users, companies are able to communicate with their brands’ audience all around the world and outreach their potential customers. Possessing such capabilities has brought undeniable opportunities for businesses to excel their sales via creating a genuine and meaningful relationship with their audience online.
This thesis is aimed to understand how B2B SMEs’ brand pages could contribute to an improved customer-brand relationship. This is done through multiple-case studies, Queue-it as the main case study, Intechnica and STACHPATH as the complementary ones. To achieve the purpose of this thesis two major areas are investigated. First and for most, the thesis is concentrated on understanding the customers’ motivation behind being online and getting involved with brand pages. Secondly, different social media platforms are discussed and their role in enhancing the relationship is evaluated.
To achieve primary objective of this thesis, six motivational factors were presented based on the relevant literatures review. The factors are: information, entertainment, social integration, personal identity, empowerment, and remuneration. After the analysis of interviews and online observation data, three factors are found strongly relevant to this thesis context. The factors are information, personal identity, and social integration. Also, empowerment and entertainment showed some insignificant relevancy, which highlights the opportunity for further investigation. Finally, remuneration was labeled as not applicable, due to complexities posed by cultures and regulations within B2B environment.
As to the secondary objective, four social media platforms were taken into accounts, all based on literature reviews, industry statistics and case companies’ use case. The findings of the two Europebased companies showed that LinkedIn is the main platform to focus on, in their business context. However, the result and analysis of the US-based larger company showed a different pattern and emphasized on usage of Facebook and Twitter over LinkedIn.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages99
SupervisorsLiana Razmerita