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Online word-of-mouth communication on social networking sites: An empirical study of Facebook users

Setenay Kucukemiroglu (The Pennsylvania State University-York, University Park, PA, USA)
Ali Kara (The Pennsylvania State University-York, York, PA, USA)

International Journal of Commerce and Management

ISSN: 1056-9219

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the factors influencing online word-of-mouth communication engagement behavior of college students on social networks such as Facebook.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey instrument designed to measure the constructs assumed to have an influence on word-of-mouth communication on social networks was administered to college students who are actively using Facebook. Structural equation model was used to test the hypothesized relationships.

Findings

Results of the study show that social capital and trust were two important factors that positively influenced opinion-giving and opinion-seeking behaviors, which, in turn, influenced the word-of-mouth behavior on Facebook. Although these results were not significantly different from the findings reported in the literature, the results emphasize that the impact of social capital and trust on word of mouth increased through the opinion-seeking/giving path.

Research limitations/implications

Although the college students are ideal users for Facebook, the use of college students could limit the generalizability of the results to other populations. Furthermore, the authors have only investigated a few constructs that are assumed to contribute to the online word-of-mouth communication behavior. Other studies should include a more comprehensive list of construct and test their impact.

Practical implications

The study contributes to the literature on word-of-mouth communication in online social networking sites. Organizations could benefit from this knowledge by understanding that social networking sites should be considered as a key component of the integrated marketing communication strategy, and specific targeting efforts could be directed for those users with high levels of opinion-seeking/giving.

Originality/value

Although online social networking has been popular, not many empirical studies have been conducted on consumers’ engagement in the word-of-mouth communication in social networking sites, such as Facebook. This study attempts to fulfill the gap.

Keywords

Citation

Kucukemiroglu, S. and Kara, A. (2015), "Online word-of-mouth communication on social networking sites: An empirical study of Facebook users", International Journal of Commerce and Management, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 2-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCoMA-11-2012-0070

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited