Social media as a marketing strategy to influence young consumers' attitude towards fast-moving consumer goods: a comparative study
Young consumers’ actual purchase behaviour towards a brand is no longer based only on the websites of organisations nor on traditional media, but on social media comment, recommendations, and reviews. Yet there are limited studies focusing on the factors influencing young consumers’ attitude towards fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) brands on social media in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this study was to propose a framework of factors that can be used by marketers to influence young consumers’ attitude on social media towards a FMCGs brand. It was based on a comparative study undertaken amongst young consumers in both South Africa and Nigeria. The proposed framework of this study provides valuable input into strategic marketing management for influencing young consumers’ attitude on social media platforms towards FMCGs in South Africa and Nigeria. A conceptual framework was developed to examine the probable factors that can be used to influence young consumers’ attitude favourably on social media platforms towards FMCGs brands. This is because such a study can have meaningful implications for the utilisation of social media as a marketing tool for influencing young consumers’ attitude towards FMCGs brands. This study is anchored on the theoretical framework of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and the Use of Technology (UTAUT2) model. This study followed the quantitative research approach by employing a non-probability, purposive sample and virtual snowball sampling in the age range of 18-35 years; 401 young consumers in South Africa (246 females and 155 males) and 463 young consumers in Nigeria (194 females and 269 males) participated in this study. Customised research scales were developed for the instrument constructed to research influencing the attitude of young consumers towards social media marketing in terms of achieving marketing goals and objectives, brand awareness, organisation social media participation, rewards, brand integrity, actual purchases and consumer attitude. Seven hypotheses were tested using a series of statistics, such as descriptive, ordinal logistics regression (OLR), cross tabulation and structural equation modelling (SEM). The structural equation modelling analysis results indicate that the structural path linking brand awareness with young consumers’ attitude for both South Africa and Nigeria is in both cases positive and statistically significant, as well as for organisational social media participation and young consumers’ attitude, and also the structural path linking brand integrity with consumer attitude. Notably, the relationship between rewards and consumer attitude for Nigeria is negative and statistically significant (β = -1.35, p<.05), while for South Africa it is positive and statistically significant (β = 0.07, p<.05). Lastly, the SEM analysis results indicate that ‘Brand Integrity’ is the only construct that surfaced as a structural path that links directly with actual purchase among all four of the research constructs in this study. Hence, the directional paths are positive, statistically significant, and supported by both the Nigerian (β = .42, p<.05) and the South African (β = .01, p<.05) results. The findings of this study confirm that brand integrity ought to be considered as a key yardstick for monitoring how FMCGs marketers enhance their brands as a preference in the minds and hearts of young consumers in South Africa and Nigeria. The key recommendations found in this study are that fast-moving consumer goods marketers should embrace both user-generated communication and organisational-generated communication because of its significance. Firstly, it has great influence on brand integrity, brand awareness, and rewards among young consumers on social media platforms. Secondly, advertisers of FMCGs organisations should endeavour to inspire young consumers with current updated information in their respective industries, trending stories and engaging content. This will enhance social media as a marketing strategy platform to influence young consumers’ attitude favourably towards FMCGs brands.