AbstractWe look at the reasonable distinction between consumer recommendations on social networking sites as compared to face to face recommendation. Our findings indicated that consumers are recommending products and services more through face to face conversation as compared to recommendation made on social networking sites. According to our research we find that the mode of communication changes the behavior of consumers. Social perceived risk is a major factor that impacts more on consumer behavior while recommending different products and services on social networking sites. Furthermore we find that self enhancement of the consumers can reduce the difference in the communication modes while using word of mouth face to face versus word of mouth on social networking sites.
Word-of-Mouth, Social Word-of-Mouth, social networking sites, social perceived risk, self-enhancement
Is there any Battle between Traditional Word of Mouth and Word of Mouth on Social Networking Sites?
Effects of other factors, such as social risk and self-enhancement
Introduction”92% of respondents reported that a positive recommendation from a friend, family member, or someone they trust is the biggest influence on whether they buy a product or service” CITATION Ran13 l 1033 (Rand, 2013).
In today’s digitalized world the use of social sites is a major phenomenon around the globe. Social networking sites are web applications use for many motives such as for businesses purpose, for romantic initiation, for sharing experiences with others, for work related context or for maintaining different social relationship on social networking sites CITATION Nic07 l 1033 (Ellison, Steinfield, ; Lampe, 2007). Social media penetration has been increased massively, a total of 71% internet users were engaged in social networking activities through social sites in 2017 and it is still increasing day by day. Statistics shows that in 2017 there were 2.46 billion social media users around the world and estimate predict it to be 2.77 billion in 2019 CITATION sta17 l 1033 (statista.com, 2018). In Pakistan, during 2016-17 users of social networking sites were increased to more than 44 million CITATION Ibr17 l 1033 (Ibrahim, 2017).
CITATION Nic07 l 1033 (Ellison, Steinfield, ; Lampe, 2007) Mention that the nature and classification of social networking sites maybe differ from site to site depend upon its purpose. For example, Facebook or Google+ are exceedingly centered on trades amongst loved ones and are continually pushing association through highlights like photographs, videos or status sharing and social recreations. Other informal organizations like Tumbler or Twitter are about quick correspondence and are relevantly named micro blogs. Some informal communities center on network; others feature and show client created content. Because of a steady nearness in the lives of their clients, informal communities’ social networks have an emphatically solid social effect. The obscuring amongst disconnected and virtual life and additionally the idea of advanced character and online social connections are a portion of the angles that have risen in ongoing exchanges.
Word-of-Mouth (WOM) in marketing termed as C2C (consumer to consumer) discussions help the dissemination of advancements and brand-related data among responsive groups. Consumers of product participate in exchanging Word-of-Mouth to share the experience of product with others and to and give suggestions for new consumers. In that capacity it has been considered for a long time as a strong weapon of marketing in the world CITATION EDi66 l 1033 (Dichter, 1966). One of the immense misguided judgments about word of mouth marketing is that it’s all occurrences on the web. The part of the web and the new ways individuals utilize it to convey are undeniably basic segments of the sudden spread of word of mouth. Social networking sites are a major ordeal since they engage loads of individuals to share thoughts. But studies shows that only around 20 percent of word of mouth happens on the web and rest consumers still prefer traditional word-of-MouthCITATION Ser l 1033 (Sernovitz, 2013). Massive increase in usage of social networking media is a great opportunity for marketers to capture large share through these sites. Due to this and several other reasons word-of-mouth used on social sites (sWOM) and the traditionally used word of mouth (WOM) have been considered lot of attention by different authors CITATION Mic09 l 1033 m Jon01(Trusov, Bucklin, ; Pauwels, 2009; Berger ; Iyengar, 2013).Despite everything we still have a constrained and limited knowledge of how sWOM varies from WOM CITATION Jon01 l 1033 (Berger ; Iyengar, 2013)Importance of addressing the difference between the sWOM and WOM is maybe because of the fact that the assessment and selection made by the consumer depends upon the relationship made with other consumers CITATION Jef12 l 1033 (Simpson, Griskevicius, ; Rothman, 2012).
The Objective of this paper is to identify that is there any difference between the recommendation made by consumers through WOM and sWOM? And if there is any difference between WOM and sWOM then what is the reason behind the difference and how does it affect the consumer? In this paper we will be highlighting social perceived risk causing the difference between WOM and sWOM. And sense of self-enhancement might work as bridge between the gaps of both communication channels.
There are different types of risk which are highlighted in different studies related to consumer behavior such as functional risk, information risk and financial risk CITATION Ell04 l 1033 m Bar05(Garbarino ; Strahilevitz, 2004; Bart, Shanka, Sultan, ; Urban, 2005). Functional risk is refers to uncertainty regarding to the product delivery and quality. The information risk is concerned with the privacy regarding information whereas the financial risk is concerned about the security of the payments made to purchase the products or service. In this paper the center of attention is the positive word of mouth and we will be measuring the willingness of using WOM and sWOM among different consumers. We will be also measuring that whether the self enhancement to the consumers increases sWOM with respect to WOM.
Literature ReviewHistory is the description of how we’ve figured to meet up in ever more noteworthy numbers from smaller and insignificant groups, from tribes, to urban areas and further more to countries. At each progression, we fabricated social framework like networks, media and governments to enable us to accomplish things we couldn’t individually.
Today we are making our next stride. Our most prominent open doors are presently worldwide, or we can say global options. Such as spreading success and opportunity, advancing peace and comprehension, lifting individuals out of destitution, and quickening science. Our most worth mentioning difficulties additionally require worldwide reactions – like closure psychological warfare, battling environmental change, and anticipating pandemics. Advance currently requires humankind meeting up as urban communities or countries, as well as a worldwide network. Along with all these we also cannot ignore the significant importance of global networking for businesses and more specifically for promotion of business. And in continuation of this it is very important for any brand it is very important that common persons are recommending a brand to each other from individuals to even at a massive level. A specific term word-of mouth (WOM) can be used to describe this phenomenon, literature confirm this through definitions of word of mouth described by different authors. A face-to-face communication regarding brand, companies or product between noncommercial people is defined as word-of mouth. CITATION Dwa01 l 1033 (Gemler, Gwinner, ; Brown, 2001) Defines word-of mouth as an informal exchange of words with other consumers regarding different aspects, ownership or utilization of specific services, goods or about their merchants CITATION Rob87 l 1033 (Coulter, Feick, ; Price, 1987)describe WOM as a discussion of a brand, service, product or a company among noncommercial persons, which tends to be informal, oral or person-to-person communication. Word-of-mouth has been a great source advertisement for the organizations as CITATION Ber18 l 1033 (Clive) indicated “Word-of-mouth marketing is the best form of free promotion”. Word of mouth, experience sharing regarding brands between the consumers is an essential source for building brand perception and also an important tool for marketing worldCITATION EDi66 l 1033 (Dichter, 1966). In the world of marketing where a major part of budget is invested word-of-mouth is a magical source of promotion because it doesn’t involve any cost and another plus point is that it is considered as significantly credible because the real consumers express their experiences with other consumers (usually the by the peers, family members or friends) which strongly builds a positive perception for the brand CITATION Jai12 l 1033 (Jain, 2012).
AlsoCITATION Ser l 1033 (Sernovitz, 2013) explained “Word of mouth marketing is about earning that good conversation, giving people a reason to talk about your stuff, and making it easier for that conversation to take place. It’s really a new philosophy of business (and how to live it). It’s about honesty and admiration. It’s about making people happy”. Similarly now social media could also be a key player for the organizations or brands to get their desired level in consumer’s preference lists.
Both word-of-mouth and social media are majorly significant for brand building and if they two combined, the results could be impactful at substantial level positive or maybe negative if ignored CITATION Ran13 l 1033 (Rand, 2013). Evolution in the world has also been touched this area as well and in shrinking the global reached of peoples social media has performed an impactful role. Now almost all business no matter operating at large scale or small, using social media platforms for their business. A renowned author identified in his book “Wind In Your Sails” that Clients frequently find out about your items than you do. Utilize them as a wellspring of motivation and thoughts for item advancement so client discussing their involvement with you is worth ten times what you compose or say in regards to yourself CITATION Gre15 l 1033 (Greer, 2015). The co-founder face book also described the impactful role of social media at every level of life. Facebook is considered one of the largest network site used around the globe with one billion users all over the world which uses Facebook on any given day CITATION Jos11 l 1033 (Gans, 2011).In 2012 Facebook was the first social network crossed 1 billion registered social accounts and became world’s largest social media networking site. Now in 2018 with total of 2.2 billion monthly active users and 1.23 billion daily active users, announced its successful shift to mobile with 84% of its revenue through mobile users and make $7.248 billion and continue the status of “Market Leader”CITATION sta17 l 1033 (statista.com, 2018). and as per PTA in 2016 Facebook users in Pakistan were about 30 million which is also increasing rapidly, a major reason is increase in usage of smart mobile phones and social networking sties applications for users with convenient and comfortable usage, which opened up the opportunities to increase in number of social network users CITATION Ibr17 l 1033 (Ibrahim, 2017).
Using word of mouth on different social sites (sWOM) has some different characteristics then traditionally used word of mouth. CITATION Eis15 l 1033 (Eisingerich, Chun, Liu, Jia, & Bell, 2015), Mentioned different characteristics of WOM and sWOM. According to author the receiver of WOM is individual, the communicator is accountable and identifiable, and the level of interaction is high because of one-to-one interaction. As WOM is used in a face-to-face conversation so it’s a real time communication through speaking and the social connection between communicator and receiver can be weak or strong bond/link. Whereas the receiver of the sWOM are the persons in the social network, that can be accountable and identifiable although it will be moderate level of interaction because of one-to-many interaction. The sWOM is not a face-to-face conversation so it in non-simultaneous communication through writing and the social connection between communicator and receiver is a combination of strong and weak bond/link. Past studies have highlighted that both the WOM and sWOM have strong impact on the buying behavior of the consumer CITATION Dob14 l 1033 (Dobele & Ward, 2014).
“Real word of mouth dips in and out of different spaces”. An interesting example of emergence word-of-mouth is you eat at a good restaurant. You mention it to people at the office. One of them emails your recommendation to his wife. She emails four friends, and they have lunch there. Two mention the restaurant to other friends at a party, and one of them blogs about it. Someone reads the blog and calls a buddy about eating there. They review it online. You get the ideaCITATION Ser l 1033 (Sernovitz, 2013) .
By methods for taking part in word of mouth in social sites, customers can hypothetically accumulate unprejudiced item data from different purchasers and offer their own particular utilization related guidance CITATION Tho04 l 1033 (ThorstenHennig-Thurau, P.Gwinner, GianfrancoWalsh, & D.Gremler, 2004). sWOM fills in as a course for social impact – the procedure in which people roll out improvements to their musings, sentiments, dispositions, or practices because of interfacing with others on the web CITATION Nav11 l 1033 (Amblee & Bui, 2011) Studies proved that ewom is not much credible and marketers often try to manipulate the social networking sites to spread positive awareness or feedback or their brands which is often not from the real consumers and hence not credible as well and ultimately it is shedding negative impact on one of the important platform for marketing which is ewom CITATION Mor17 l 1033 (Moran & Muzellec, 2017).
CITATION Man11 l 1033 (López & Sicilia, 2011) CITATION Ron06 l 1033 (Goldsmith & Horowitz, 2006) Also find that consumers appear to give and look for suppositions on the web, correspondingly impacting the offers of numerous merchandise and enterprises. The sWOM is shared with every day-based circle of people or individuals very frequently such as friends, family companions, classmates, associates etc., these are the everyday based circle of relationships CITATION Oka08 l 1033 (Okazaki, 2008). The person who is maintaining a good reputation on social networking site will be more concerned while recommending and product or service due to the social risk CITATION Bar82 l 1033 (Schlenker & Leary, 1982). As mentioned earlier that the sWOM is among large group of people and that will also increase the social risk as the communicator is easily identifiable to the audience CITATION Shi03 l 1033 (Mandel, 2003) More importantly there are different types of ties among different persons on social network due to which the consumer sharing his views will be tailoring the massages according to all the persons maintained in a network which ultimately makes his views, experiences and recommendation very complex. Whereas in WOM the ideas and experiences are usually shared with one or few others due to which the massage can be customized with respect to audience and it will decrease the perceived social risk. According to this we predict that sWOM have more social risk as compare to WOM. Social risk theory is base of the above argument.
In this paper we first draw a prediction that people differs in recommending other persons about the brand, product or service with respect to the communication mode. The resistance among the persons regarding recommending products, services or brands increases on social sites as compare to face-to-face recommendation. Further by keeping the “social risk” and “self-enhancement” theories as base we also predict that while offering sWOM, the confrontation is high due to the role of social perceived risk.
While the general inclination to give sWOM is not as much as WOM, this distinction is probably going to differ given certain unexpected conditions. Last we suggest that consumer’s sense of self-upgrade or self-enhancement maybe the basic factor that conservatives the impact of correspondence mode (sWOM versus WOM) on individuals’ readiness to offer positive word of mouth. Self-upgrade or self enhancement indicates to individuals’ desire to see them in a positive edge and present themselves positively to others ( CITATION Sed08 l 1033 (Sedikides & Gregg, 2008). Earlier research proposed that taking part in informal exercises can be a way to support a man’s self-enhancement CITATION EDi66 l 1033 (Dichter, 1966).There is correlation confirmation for the connection between self-upgrade and positive word of mouth CITATION Tho10 l 1033 (Hennig-Thurau, et al., 2010)Buyers or consumers could even flag their aptitude through positive verbal, consequently keeping up their notoriety, supporting the self-enhancement, and liking themselves CITATION Woj08 l 1033 (Wojnicki & Godes, 2008)Hence, we expect that individuals value that sWOM is more practicable than is WOM as a path for self-upgrade or self enhancement, and therefore as their requirement for self enhancement builds, their eagerness to offer sWOM will expand more emphatically than will their readiness to offer WOM. Following this rationale, we anticipate that while for individuals with no extraordinary requirement for self enhancement readiness to take part in sWOM will be lower than in WOM, a high self-upgrade need will lessen the distinction in eagerness to offer sWOM versus WOM as the requirement for self-upgrade abrogates a portion of the potential social worries about sWOM.
While there is an agreement that self-enhancement require is connected to word of mouth, the relative effect of self-upgrade require on eagerness to take part in various methods of verbal stays unanswered in the literature. We contend that a consumer self enhancement requires is more impactful on ability to take part in sWOM than WOM, and, as a result, it directs the impact of correspondence mode on eagerness to offer word of mouth.
Research QuestionsHow consumer preferences differ from Word-of-Mouth offer face to face versus Word of Mouth through social networking sites?
What is the impact of social perceived risk on word-of-mouth?
What is the impact of self-enhancement on sWOM?
HypothesesFrom the above research questions we formulate these hypotheses:
H1: Consumers are more willing to offer WOM than sWOM.
H2: Social perceived risk has a positive relation with sWOM.
H3: Self enhancement has a positive relation with WOM.
H4: Self enhancement has a positive relation with sWOM.
MethodologyThere are several methods to adopt when collecting the empirical data within a social survey design: structured interviews, questionnaires and structured observations. Questionnaires are appropriate when conducting an explanatory or descriptive study. The most common questionnaires are the ones sent on paper, by mail, or electronically CITATION Bry11 l 1033 m Tho09(Bryman, Bell, Mills, & Yue, 2011; Thornhill, Saunders, & Lewis, 2009). Therefore, we considered that our purpose would be better served with a questionnaire. This research adopts a random sampling method. Our study gathered empirical data distributed 100 questionnaires and received 99 responses through convenient sampling measured by adapting the three-item scale of CITATION Val96 l 1033 (Zeithaml, Berry, & Parasuraman, 1996). Due to time constraints verified questionnaire was use from previous similar studies with similar variables. CITATION And15 l 1033 (B.Eisingerich, Chun, iLiu, (Michael)Ji, & J.Belle, 2015). There are several guidelines to follow when constructing a questionnaire. CITATION Bry11 l 1033 (Bryman, Bell, Mills, & Yue, 2011). Hypotheses were developed by using same variables of study CITATION And15 l 1033 (B.Eisingerich, Chun, iLiu, (Michael)Ji, & J.Belle, 2015)and social perceived risk and self-enhancement theories and tested by SPSS statistics 21. The research findings were more concerned to Pakistan so all the questionnaire data was gathered randomly from Pakistan.
Reliability Test of Variables
Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure.
Scale: ALL VARIABLES
/VARIABLES=WOM1 WOM2 WOM3
/SCALE (‘ALL VARIABLES’) ALL
/VARIABLES=sWOM1 sWOM2 sWOM3 sWOM4
/SCALE (‘ALL VARIABLES’) ALL
Scale: PSR with WOM
/VARIABLES=PSRWOM1 PSRWOM2 PSRWOM3
/SCALE (‘ALL VARIABLES’) ALL
Scale: PSR with sWOMRELIABILITY
/VARIABLES=PSRsWOM1 PSRsWOM2 PSRsWOM3
/SCALE (‘ALL VARIABLES’) ALL
/SCALE (‘ALL VARIABLES’) ALL
The T Statistic is used in a T test when you are deciding if you should support or reject the null hypothesis. It’s very similar to a Z-score and you use it in the same way: find a cutoff point, find your t score, and compare the two. You use the t statistic when you have a small sample size.
CorrelationsTo find out correlation among our variables we used “bivariate, Pearson one tail test.
Correlation between sWOM and Social perceived risk
Correlation between WOM and self-enhancement
The below table indicates that WOM and self-enhancement have positive relation and it is .31 percent correlated.
/VARIABLES=PerWOM Self Enhancement
Correlation between sWOM and self-enhancement
The below table indicates sWOM and self-enhancement have positive relation and it is 0.134 percent correlated.
/VARIABLES=PerSWOM Self Enhancement
Results and DiscussionThe total questionnaire was distributed among 100 people and out of them 57 was filled by male and 42 were filled by female. One questionnaire was missing. The respondent of the questionnaire were mainly young and middle age persons because these persons are more using social sites in Pakistan. These groups of persons are more inclined towards recommending others and more concerned about their image and social-enhancement need.
Descriptive statistics value 0.481 lies in between range of (-2 and +2) indicates that data distribution is normal CITATION Dar10 l 1033 (George ; Mallery, 2010).The alpha coefficient for the 22 items is (0.788) ; .70, suggesting that the items have relatively high internal consistency. Also individually all the coefficients have high consistency as it is more than (0.70). (Note that a reliability of coefficient (.70) or higher is considered “acceptable” in most social science research situations).Kurtosis is 0.481 and it’s below 3 so data set has normal tails and distribution.
Moving towards main hypothesis analysis tests, this study indicates us that people are more using face to face recommendation with respect to recommendation on social sites. The mean of WOM is high as compare to sWOM whereas the deviation from the behavior is also low in WOM. WOM (Mwom= 3.9192) than sWOM (Mswom=2.9116); and there is significant difference in mean (p<0.001). One sample t-test statistic shows that consumers feel more convenience in offering word-of-Mouth face to face as compare to social networking sites. So, H1 accepted that consumers are more willing to offer WOM than sWOM.
Correlation of sWOM and Social perceived risk with sWOM is negatively associated. P=0.005 the correlation is (-0.225**) which means that if social perceived risk will increase then preference for sWOM would be decreased. Indicates that sWOM and Social perceived risk are negatively related and social perceived risk is associated with word-of-mouth. So, H3 rejected that Social perceived risk has a positive relation with sWOM.
Correlation of WOM and Self-enhancement associated with WOM is positively associated. P=0.380, the correlation is (0.031) which means that if Self-enhancement associated with WOM increases then preference for WOM would be increased as well. It Indicates that WOM and Self-enhancement associated with WOM is positively related. So, H4 accepted that Self enhancement has a positive relation with WOM.
Correlation of sWOM and Self-enhancement associated with sWOM is positively associated. P=0.093, the correlation is (0.134) which means that if Self-enhancement associated with sWOM increases then preference for sWOM would be increased as well. It indicates that sWOM and Self-enhancement associated with sWOM is positively related. So, H5 accepted that Self enhancement has a positive relation with sWOM.
ConclusionIn this research we find that the consumer hesitates while giving recommendation to other consumers on social networking sites as compared to face to face recommendation of products or services of any brand. It is very important from an organizational perspective that the organization or its products and services are advertised through word of mouth used face-to-face recommendation (WOM) or word of mouth used on social networking sites for recommendation (sWOM). It is a type of promotion in which an organization is advertised without any effort, payment or any activity. CITATION Arn67 l 1033 (Arndt, 1967) In his study communicated that ideal informal word of mouth expands the likelihood of a buy. Word of mouth is even observed as a vital contrasting option to customary promoting endeavors since it adjusts business data to an important shape to various network individuals CITATION Mic09 l 1033 (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwels, 2009).
This study indicates that the major reason behind less interest in preference for sWOM is the more social risk perceived by the consumer when contrasted with social risk perceived by the face to face recommendation (sWOM). The reason behind social perceived risk is that, the consumers are more concerned with their reputation build in their network and in social networking sites the image of the consumers can change easily among its network as contrasted with their image change in face to face conversation.
The research finds that the self enhancement reduces the social risk and ultimately leads to the less difference in using WOM and sWOM. According to the findings in the research sWOM is more responsive to self enhancement and to social risk as contrasted with WOM.
The marketers and the organizations should take steps that can increase the self enhancement of the consumer so that the products and services can be promoted more while using sWOM and it is already mentioned in literature the sWOM has more impact as compared to traditional WOM.
This study is conducted on the consumers of Pakistan and we have only focused on the positive word of mouth, so it will be meaningful to further explored negative WOM versus sWOM which will extend the finding of this study.