Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Influence of Celebrities and User Review for Social Media Marketing

Frannie Seitz
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
WRIT 3577W
Jason Tham

What’s Next in Rhetoric, Technology, and the Internet:
Marketing On Social Media
            Since the introduction of Facebook, Instagram, and other forms of social media platforms, their purposes have expanded into resources such as electronic word of mouth (eWOM) for consumers looking for reviews and conversations on products before committing to a purchase. There are many different ways that eWOM is used to share information regarding a product. There are standard reviews through Facebook pages that allow for discussion and occurs between users and mostly friends or acquaintances. Another form is marketing through social media influencers, who share their review on a specific product directly on their page to reach their followers. The third form comes from online celebrities who have a large influence on the purchase decisions of young female users. By examining three different scholarly articles, I will go into depth in how each of these forms of marketing have changed social media and the purchasing decisions of online users.
            The role of social media has expanded and evolved into a marketing platform. The reviews from online consumers facilitates word of mouth communication, according to a study conducted by Chen and colleagues. The advancement of the Internet has created an unparalleled stage for the sharing of product experiences through eWOM and consumer reviews. Several studies have explored motivations for posting reviews and found factors such as opinion leading, originality, and product-involvement are all drivers for sharing experience. From experience, I use various forms of social media to look for reviews. I use Facebook for reviews from close friends and families which I would consider eWOM. When going to new restaurants, I typically use Instagram to views photos that help decide if it’s good or not and also use Yelp for more in-depth reviews about the service and quality of food. I find it very helpful, and I share my review usually if there is a benefit for me. Some businesses give discounts if a user shares a review or their location to increase traffic to their social media. For example, I have used Yelp to receive a discount simply by using their “Check-In Offers” by posting that I was at an establishment. This example shows Red Stag Supperclub offering a discount for a “$4 for 1 Happy Hour Drink Anytime!”. I have noticed that many users share their reviews to obtain a higher status and influence level on the social media platform. For example, with Yelp, the more you check in a provide helpful reviews the higher your status goes up. I believe users can also be rated based on how helpful a review was. This type of profile status doesn’t only exist on platform such as Yelp. It also occurs on Instagram and Facebook, but is expressed based through different variables which will be explained.
            Along with the Internet and introduction of social media platforms eWOM and consumer reviews have expanded to create new discussions online that wouldn’t exist otherwise. The effect of these dialogues influence buying choices in numerous ways, according to a study conducted by Erkan. The study established a conceptual model to form results the confirm that value, reliability, practicality and variation of information, desires of information and positions toward information are the key considerations of eWOM in social media that encourage consumers’ purchase decisions. The authors research model displayed purchase intention as a construct that is based on the variables mentioned above.  
The results from the study found that the influence of eWOM is highly dependent on consumers’ behavior towards eWOM information. Their study provides marketers a frame of reference to better understand eWOM and alter their product mix to better fit the eye of the consumer and their behavior to ultimately improve their marketing strategies. From experience, I have worked with various businesses who all use social media to market their products and I have found their strategies all differ depending on the product sold as well as their mission/vision. One company sought to reach consumers on an emotional standpoint and favored opinions and reviews that positively reflected their nonprofit aspect of the business model. Another company treated their negative reviews as a strategy to fight back and turn it into humor, by replying to the reviews by reiterating who the company is and what they stand for. They used the reviews to create discussion between other users which increased the volume of traffic. Although these companies had different strategies for using eWOM, they both favored consumers’ attitude towards information to help influence purchasing intentions.
            Companies also rely heavily on the credibility of the reviewers and influencers on social media. I have found this method most used on Instagram; especially with celebrities. As supported through a study conducted by Djafarova, in-depth interviews with female, Instagram users found that consumer buying intention is highly influenced by identification with various types of celebrities. Social media influencers are non-traditional celebrities and include bloggers, YouTube personalities, and ‘Instafamous’ profiles. This type of marketing relying on business connections between a company and the influencer as a middleman to reach a large population of users. For example, a company called FitTea has a marketing strategy that reached out to users by paying Instagram celebrities to post photos that positively reflect their product. I believe this type of strategy is highly impactful especially with women, because they trust and rely on the behavior of who they follow to direct their purchasing decisions. Kylie Jenner’s post is just one example of how FitTea uses celebrities to reach a large audience to market their product. I think it is a very successful strategy, because young women’s purchase decisions are highly influenced by who they follow on social media.
             To conclude, the introduction of the Internet and the creation of social media platforms has provided a new marketing strategy for businesses to not only implement product reviews, but also use online celebrities to influence the purchasing decisions of users. Through eWOM and consumer influence, online reviews impact the purchasing decisions of online users of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms such as Yelp. Companies and users alike rely highly on ethos to sell a product and buy a product. Companies use social media influencers to reach a large audience that relies heavily on the purchasing decision and review of one person. eWOM and consumer reviews rely heavily on the positivity/negativity of a product to influence a purchase decision. As online social media platforms expand, so will the marketing techniques that draw consumers to make purchasing decisions. I believe that eWOM, online reviews, and social media influencers will become one the largest forms of marketing and advertising in the next few years.

Chen, Yubo, Scott Fay, and Qi Wang. "The Role of Marketing in Social Media: How Online Consumer Reviews Evolve." SSRN Electronic Journal (2011): 85-94. Elsevier. Web. 9 May 2017.
Djafarova, Elmira, and Chloe Rushworth. "Exploring the Credibility of Online Celebrities' Instagram Profiles in Influencing the Purchase Decisions of Young Female Users."Northumbria Research Link. Elsevier, 01 Mar. 2017. Web. 09 May 2017.
Erkan, Ismail, and Chris Evans. "The Influence of EWOM in Social Media on Consumers€™ Purchase Intentions: An Extended Approach to Information Adoption." Computers in Human Behavior 61 (2016): 47-55. Elsevier. Web. 9 May 2017.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Blog 19: Ch. 5 & 6- The Conclusion

Chapter 5 and 6 were a great way to conclude Self-Tracking by Neff and Nafus. The authors discussed the implications that self-tracking has and how some people who use various forms of self-tracking for medical purposes are denied their right to their own data. I couldn't believe this and the story of Hugo Campos resonated with me, so I wanted to do a little more research.

Campos wears a heart defibrillator to monitor his cardiovascular muscles. He never had a problem with the machine or the company that created it, until he wanted to see his data to have more control over stress induced activities during his daily life. The company denied him access, and legally had control over all the data that was produced from his body and transmitted to the little machine. The company said that it would be 'too difficult to understand.'

After a little of research I came across a Morning Edition article and clip from NPR. They discussed exactly what the book did in reference to Campos, but gave a little more explanation and insight into who Campos is and why he is seeking the data. For him, he believes that any data that comes from his body should be his, and rightfully so.

NPR wrote that there is hope in the future, and Campos is working hard to receive his data. After two years of hard work and dedication to his rights, Medtronic is working on a way to give him his data back.

You can find the full article here.

Do you agree with Campos, that all patients should have the right to receive data that comes from the devices they wear or are planted in their bodies?

If the data is readily available to patients, could there be implications to the access?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Blog 18: Making Tweaks to Tracking

Chapter 3 from Self-Tracking from Neff and Nafus dives deeper into tracking and how an individual adapts their technology to better suit their individual needs or desires. Every self-tracker has a goal when they purchase a self-tracking technology. Sometimes in order to achieve that goal, they must alter the product to fit their specific needs. In the book, they gave examples such as monitoring the temperature in a home and keeping track of the energy used. Tracking and having multiple uses may require multiple technologies.

Another topic that is brought up in the book is cultivating a habit. Users use tracking to change habits or start new ones. What if tracking habits turns into a habit itself. Many trackers who monitor daily steps, monitor them at an extreme level. For example, for some self-trackers, they NEED to get 10,000 steps in the day or they feel like their day isn't complete.

Do you believe this kind of habit? Do you believe there should be limitations?

I believe that there are many possible positive outcomes for self-tracking, but I believe there are also downsides. Self-tracking does not prove 100% accuracy. How can one be sure that they are successfully tracking what they are attempting to? Especially when the tracking is related to health, the user should be sure that they are correctly using the tracking system and that it is the right fit for them. Many people also decide to purchase self-tracking devices, because they are eye appealing or a current trend. Self-trackers should be sure to connect their needs to the correct self-tracking device rather than settling for what's cheapest or most readily available.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Blog 17: Neff & Nafus- Self Tracking Early Pages

I can already tell that this book might be my favorite of all that we have read this semester. Self-tracking is such an interesting topic, because I feel like it is the most private/personal technology that people use. Even though it is so personal, more and more people have been sharing their fitness, health, and other information via social media.

The authors bring up an important fact that we have been quantified before the technology even existed. Back in the day, paper and pen was used to record the same information that is today. Benjamin Franklin used this early form of self-tracking to record brief entries or short facts laid out sequentially.

Today, people are able to track without paper and pen. It is much easier to track using technology such as wearables or just your phone. Different self-tracking technologies have different capabilities in regards to exactly what they record. After reading this I also realize how small or how large self-tracking can become. Another realization I made is that self-tracking has created various online communities that can brought individuals together who might not otherwise be.

What kind of self-tracking devices are most popular? Which devices do you think have the largest community?

Overall, I am excited to continue reading this book. There is a lot of text that speaks directly to our overall theme, so I think we will be able to apply this book many times and have a great discussion in class.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blog 16: IoT and its Future

I really enjoyed how Greengard ended the book, but I would be lying if I said it didn't make me a little uneasy. The future of technology opens a whole new world of possibilities that will transform developed and developing countries to operate most successfully. I think the advances in medical technology would be astounding, and with them I hope for a healthier future that turns the type 2 diabetes rate around. 

While technological advances can help individuals and businesses operate with ease, there are also many implications that could go awry. For example, if we become accustomed to using these advances in our daily lives, what happens when the technology fails? Will there be a default setting to different devices that allow us to turn off the technology and allow us to take charge? 

For example, the smart home described at the end of the chapter talks about how everything and everyone is interconnected. What if the temperature automated shower malfunctions and the person showering gets a bad burn? 

What if the nephew who is visiting loses his phone or gets it stolen? Access to the phones also grants access to the family's home and all their valuables within. 

I think there are many implications to technology, but it is only a matter of trial and error for the problems to be solved. I am all for a technological future, as long as it benefits that whole and it leaves the world better than we entered it. 

What is one technology that you hope exists in the future? Do you believe we could survive without technology?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Blog 15: IoT Ch. 5 & 6

From chapter 5 and 6, I learned about the boundaries that the Internet of Things must cross in order to function. There are many obstacles related to time, money, and resources. An example would be that companies don't always buy new technology when it comes out. They usually wait until their current system breaks or they meet a return on investment. This means that technology based companies must market their products and be able to profit and find a competitive advantage.

In addition, IoT continuously fights battles on a technological standard. Over the past 20 years, technology has evolved so rapidly that many companies can't keep up. Apple is an example of a success story that has survived the brutal fight to be the best technologically advanced company. They have continuously thought outside of the box. They offer products that are easy to use to the consumer and have also paved the way with new products such as the iPod or the Apple Watch.

Included with these advances are sensors that have become more compact, yet incredibly advanced. As Greengard puts it, "... digital technology radically changes the equation. Today's microelectronics measure many more things-- and measure them far more accurately-- than even the most sophisticated analog and mechanical devices of the past."

As technology continues to advance the most important aspect is that the systems and devices work together, without harmony, all else fails. I stand with Greengard when he ends chapter 5 writing that it isn't a question of whether or not IoT will impact society, it's only a measure of how big and the  direction.

Where do you see IoT being in 5 year? 10 years?

What do you believe is currently the biggest problem with IoT and what do you think it will be in the future?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blog 14: The Internet of Things- Ch. 1 & 2

Samuel Greengard has an attention-grabbing first chapter when his daily life description. While he may leave out other major parts of his day, his focus is on how he uses technology from the moment he wakes up, to the second he falls asleep; in fact he is woken up with technology- a FitBit Watch.

10 years ago, even 5 years ago, this scenario was part of a Sci-fi movie, and today it is our reality. When I have become accustomed to watching shows like Black Mirror, I can't help but ask what our future might hold.

How connected can we get?

As Greenard continues with chapter two he discusses how the Cloud has not only enabled us to connect to our devices, but our devices sync to each other as well. Integrating the Cloud into our lives can simplify and declutter space by moving digital. While this can have its fallbacks, many people have made the switch to a cloud using life.

Would you switch all your files and resources to the Cloud if someone agreed to do it for you? Would you do it yourself, why haven't you?

I am excited to discuss this book in class, because it will be very interesting to hear what others reactions are to his opening in Chapter 1. I look forward to reading on, and I am much more engaged in this book already than I was with Toye. The Internet of Things had been a book on my radar since I first heard of the concept. I've just flipped through the headline's of some chapters and paragraphs and I'm intrigued to know what his believes are repercussions of in the Internet.