How has social media influenced consumers? Part 2

September 11, 2014

 Written by Peiw en Jiang

The practical example of Levi’s

In this section, the author will introduce the case of Levi’s in order to explain how the company within fashion industry makes use of social media to influence its consumers. Levi’s was founded in 1853 and has developed into one of the most renowned clothing companies in the world for its welcomed jeans (Levi’s, 2014). With more than 150 years’ business operation, Levi’s has successfully shaped the brand image to encourage people to hold a pioneering and energetic spirit regardless of their age, gender and occupation (Levi’s, 2014). Levi’s also attempts to deliver the information to its consumers that they should pursue freedom and express self even when they are confronted with difficulties and challenges (Levi’s, 2014). It should be pointed out that social media plays a pivotal role in helping Levi’s achieve current success.

It is necessary for the company to launch different social media platforms before performing social media marketing campaign. Apart from the blog on Levi’s official website, it has effectively organized its social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. Specifically, Levi’s utilizes Twitter to spread creative promotion information and offer customer services while YouTube allows its consumers to appreciate a wide range of videos (Zog Digital, 2013). At the same time, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram make Levi’s attract more consumers to engage its social media marketing activities (Zog Digital, 2013). Millions of followers and likes on the social media web pages are sufficient to prove that Levi’s has successfully fallen into the social media. In fact, these social media channels not only provide Levi’s with platforms to deliver information and convey brand culture but also create opportunities for consumers to socialize around purchase.

Levi’s can be perceived a business example for utilizing social media to conduct a series of compelling marketing campaigns which succeed to attract its consumers to engage in the activities and improve its sales performance. When making the plan to perform social media marketing campaigns, it is significant for Levi’s to deeply understand its consumers. Only by knowing them can Levi’s reach them. Levi’s focuses its target market on the consumers of upper middle class especially those young people between 13 and 24 years old (Li, 2012). Levis has a wide product range and it sometimes designs, produces, and sells jeans for upper class consumers who are more than 30 years old and have strong purchasing power (Li, 2012).

The most attractive marketing campaign of Levi’s is called “Go Forth. It is for the first time that Levi’s launches such a global marketing campaign in 24 countries and in 19 languages (Li, 2012). Levi’s attempts to present the brand in a new and stimulating manner and improve its sales performance by attracting more loyalty, current and potential consumers for engagement (Mentz, 2012). In terms of the target consumers, it should be explained that not only young people but also old consumers who grow up with Levis are focused by Levis (Miller, 2011). Advertising is generally perceived as one of the most important factors in the marketing campaign. Levi’s designs a global advertisement with the theme of “Legacy” and this is presented in the print and video forms. Even though the Go Forth campaign is conducted with the help of traditional media such as magazines and television, Levi’s puts more emphasis on the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (Mentz, 2012). Specifically, within one month after the advertisement is launched, the number of fans on Facebook and the video viewers on Youtube has dramatically grown. Since young people usually linger on social media platforms, they have a number of opportunities to interact and communicate with peer consumers about their feelings, opinions and perspectives especially about the content of hopes, desires and actions that the advertisement delivers to the audience. With the showing of the advertisement on social media sites, an increasing number of people begin to know Levi’s and purchase its products, which makes Levi’s maintain its top position in the jeans industry (Miller, 2011).

When mentioning the use of social media in the Levi’s marketing campaign, the author has to emphasis the importance of Facebook. Levi’s not only attracts millions of people “like” its page but also maintains high engagement. Zog Digital (2013) points out that customization is the key factor for Levi’s to achieve success on social media platforms. For instance, Levi’s general puts forward open questions to its consumers like “what is your interpretation”, which can encourage consumers to share their feelings and opinions toward the design (Zog Digital, 2013). This will create an intimate feeling to the brand in the consumers’ minds. It should also be appreciated that Levi’s fills its Facebook page with different contents such as company news, promotion and sales information, and fashion tendency prediction.

Apart from utilizing social media to conduct marketing campaigns, Levi’s also launches “Social Plugins” tool which is a social media shopping tool partnered with Facebook (Dilworth, 2010). This online tool allows Levi’s to create product pages on Facebook, which can make consumers “like” items and shop jeans on the social media platform as well. Consumers are able to recommend jean products they like to their Facebook friends by using a widget, which can be perceived as a kind of eWOM. This method allows Levi’s consumers to express their loved feelings to the jeans in front of their friends, which can indirectly influence their friends’ attitudes toward Levi’s. Dilworth (2010) provides an example in his research that if one consumer’s birthday is coming, his or her friends can choose Levi’s jeans that he or she like on Facebook as a secret gift. This kind of social media marketing is totally different from the fan page for the fundamental reason that this allows the consumers to experience shopping at social media platform.



Overall, social media has made great influences upon consumers especially with the involvement of marketers in the company. The company usually utilizes a series of social media platforms to conduct social media marketing campaigns by which it can not only deliver information and convey brand values to its consumers but also stimulate them to purchase its products and services. Another function of social media is to encourage consumers to share opinions, attitudes and feelings regarding the company and its products with their peers on social media platforms.



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How has social media influenced consumers? Part 1

September 8, 2014

 Written by Peiw en Jiang


With the popularization of the Internet, social media has been accepted by more and more online users. People are able to utilize social media to share their opinions, attitudes, and feelings over the Internet. Meanwhile, marketers are also attracted by social media platforms and begin to utilize them to reach its target consumers. In this article, the author will not analyze the nature and essence of social media and the function and importance of social media marketing conducted by marketers from the academic perspective. The author will also introduce a successful business example of Levi’s to discover how the fashion company has influenced its consumers with the help of social media platforms.



Key words

Social media, social media platforms, social media marketing, eWOM, Levi’s.




According to the statistics (Sandes and Urdan, 2013), the Internet was accessible to 2.3 billion people in 2011, which indicates the popularization of the Internet technology in the globe. The Internet has also greatly influenced how people live, work and communicate since it has created an online social environment (Akar and Topsu, 2013). Papasolomou and Melanthiou (2013) even point out that social media has developed beyond traditional media to become an important part of online users’ lives.

With social media on a rise, more and more researchers attempt to understand the use of social media especially when marketers make practical strategies in the marketplace. In this article, the authors will study how social media has influenced consumers from academic and practical perspectives. Specifically, the author will explain the essence and nature of social media and the function and importance of social media marketing. The author will also combine the case of Levi’s to discuss how the fashion company has influenced its consumers by using social media.



The essence of social media

Social media, as the extension in the communications world (Papasolomou and Melanthiou, 2013), can be defined as the online applications with which consumers are able to share information, knowledge, experiences, opinions and perspectives in the virtual world (Di Petro, Crews, Gustafson and Stick, 2013). This means that social media establishes the bridge for consumers to interact with each other and this is the fundamental reason why social media is so popular.

According to Kaplan and Haenlein (2009), there are a number of forms of social media including social networking sites and blogs such as Facebook and Twitter which attract 845 and 100 million active users respectively every day (Hoffman and Novak, 2012), content communities like YouTube which drives 800 million unique users for engagement every month (Hoffman and Novak, 2012), and collaborative projects like Wikipedia which allows anyone to edit the articles. However, in spite of the forms of social media, each platform can exert influences upon consumers and marketing performance (Akar and Topsu, 2013). Therefore, marketers generally conduct marketing strategies and campaigns on several platforms to reach their consumers (Hanna, Rohm and Crittenden, 2011).

Since social media provides consumers with opportunities to engage in expressing views and editing and sharing information, consumers can be perceived as marketers and advertisers as well. In fact, consumers can search for information regarding the company and its products from different channels. Akar and Topsu (2013) point out that the information is acquired by consumers primarily through reviewing online comments and consulting other consumers on social networking sites especially when they plan to make a purchase. The reason is that consumers tend to regard peer opinions as more objective and reliable compared with the information provided by the company (Blackshaw and Nazzaro, 2006). This is consistent with the data provided by Akar and Topsu (2013) that approximate 80% of consumers hold a positive attitude toward the information that they gain from social media platforms.

However, the function of social media cannot be restricted by searching information. The platforms also allow the company to interact with its consumers and even invite them to collaborate such as co-designing products and promotional content (Hanna, Rohm and Crittenden, 2011). It should also be pointed out that consumers will generate positive or negative attitudes toward the company, its products and services, which is determined by the satisfaction degree that the company presents itself on social media platforms (Roberts and Kraynak, 2008).



The function of social media marketing

In terms of social media marketing, Akar and Topsu (2013) define it as an interactive and engaging process during which the company is able to present itself, its products, and services to its target consumers by means of online social platforms. Social media marketing becomes increasingly popular since it can exert influences on the company to make marketing strategies. In fact, social media marketing can not only increase the company’s visibility but also help the company build long-term relationships with its consumers (Papasolomou and Melanthiou, 2013). Besides, social media marketing not only allows the company to interact with its consumers but also enables consumers to communicate with each other over the Internet (Akar and Topsu, 2013). This means that consumers’ participation is one of the most important factors of social media marketing. Besides, the majority of the online content is created by the consumers rather than the company itself in the social media marketing (Akar and Topsu, 2013), which means that the company takes the role to stimulate its target consumers to talk.

To conduct social media marketing successfully, it is necessary for the company to utilize two techniques including targeting and eWOM. On the one hand, Aljukhadar and Senecal (2011) divide online users into three segments according to their motivations, including online communicators, lurking shoppers and social consumers. However, there is no need for the company to reach all the user segments. It is significant for the company to reach their target segments, which depends on its own marketing objective (Eisenbeiss, Blechschmidt, Backhaus and Freund, 2012). Social media provides the company with the opportunity to gather and disseminate market information over the Internet (Eisenbeiss, Blechschmidt, Backhaus and Freund, 2012) and this need the participation of target segments. For instance, social consumers can be encouraged to assist the company to spread information.

On the other hand, eWOM, which is the abbreviation of electronic word-of-mouth, is also universally used in the social media marketing. According to Sandes and Urdan (2013), eWOM can be interpreted as the phases or comments about the company or its products that are left on the online platforms by former, current and potential consumers. Akar and Topsu (2013) point out that eWOM has become the most significant online channel to influence consumers’ willingness for purchasing, which will further influence the company’s sales performance (Sandes and Urdan, 2013). Specifically, consumers can easily access the positive or negative online comments which are generally regarded as the references. This means that online consumer reviews can be perceived as an important form of eWOM. Besides, the research demonstrates that even though consumers prefer to disseminate satisfaction comments to others, they will also utilize online platforms to express their dissatisfaction and complaints (Sandes and Urdan, 2013).



You can read the detailed analysis combined with the case of Levi’s in the next post.