How Does Firm- and User-Generated Content Benefit Firms and Affect Consumers?: A Literature Review

How Does Firm- and User-Generated Content Benefit Firms and Affect Consumers?: A Literature Review

Niray Tunçel (Hacettepe University, Turkey) and Nihan Yılmaz (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2185-4.ch005
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Social media marketing is a new form of communication between firms and consumers. The interactive nature of social media platforms enables consumers to share their perceptions about firms by creating their own content in various forms. Besides, firms are able to attract and engage with consumers through creating effective content on their social media channels. Both user-generated content (UGC) and firm-generated content (FGC) have a significant role in firm performance and consumer behavior. However, the previous studies have mostly focused on the effects of UGC and addressed the issue from the consumer side. Therefore, as distinct from existing studies, the study at hand addresses the specific effects and benefits of UGC and FGC from both the firm and consumer sides, within a theoretical framework. In addition, based on the findings of the reviewed studies, the chapter presents some practical implications for business.
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Recently, social media has become a significant channel for social networking and content sharing. Since it is reliable, consistent, and prompt, it opens a new door for firms to create a new type of online marketing strategy (Nadaraja & Yazdanifard, 2013). As the Internet has revolutionized the ways people communicate, the current generation of technology users prefers to interact with each other online versus to face-to-face. Thus, for promoting their product and services, companies should reach consumers on online platforms, specifically on social media, where consumers spend a lot of time. This is because currently people do not meet in person to talk about what their friends think of the new TV they recently bought; instead they see their posts about the new product and leave their comments on Facebook (Cohen, 2014). Besides, new social media platforms let demographic groups cluster themselves into the ideal target markets for the companies presenting their common interests and brand choices, which in turn closes the gap between businesses and consumers. Thus, the businesses are able to utilize target groups more effectively and take more appropriate marketing and business decisions (Wu, Chen & Chung, 2010).

It is a well-known fact that branded social campaigns allow extra touchpoints to boost continuing interaction between brands and consumers at any time possible, which enable brands to extend relationships with consumers, discover common themes in consumer feedback, and foster consumer engagement toward online content (Murdough, 2009). Any tangible and intangible stimuli from these touchpoints generate a range of associations about the brand in consumer memory (Keller, 2009). Companies also have various options on social media for branding; one of which is sharing branded content, which is also known as content marketing (Tuten & Solomon, 2013). The term “content marketing,” invented by Pulizzi (2010), from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), is not new, but still being developed. To define content marketing is difficult since its meaning differs based on the context. Marketers currently prefer content marketing more than they do interruptive advertising because content marketing is more effective on taking attention from consumers (Du Plessis, 2015; Zahay, 2014). Content marketing is ideal since it uses modest pulling, not pushing, techniques for inviting consumers to branded content (Liu & Huang, 2015). It applies integrated marketing communication and relationship marketing as well (Cronin, 2016). However, content marketing is not promoting a product or a service; rather, it is a branding process that generates and spreads valuable and appropriate brand content in order to attract and involve the target audience. Thus, the brands create and share their stories on online platforms to generate brand familiarity of the target audience (Brieger, 2013). In this manner, content marketing usually resembles publishing, native advertising, inbound marketing, and storytelling (Du Plessis, 2015; Holliman & Rowley, 2014).

Content marketing is a part of the branding function, as creating content for communicating and marketing to audiences can strengthen a brand’s image. Utilizing social media platforms and content marketing opportunities is a part of a brand’s overall strategy. Now that organizations have an online presence, it is important for brands to develop content marketing strategies and tactics that not only help strengthen overall brand image, but also help build trust (Ariganello, 2016). Besides brands or firms, consumers also can create and share their own brand-related content in any form they would like. This content is as important as firms’ content since it spreads very quickly and easily among consumers. Thus, consumers and firms are exposed to each other’s content through various social media channels. Not surprisingly, these two types of content together influence and benefit both consumers and firms.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Content Volume: The quantity of content.

Content Appeal: Attractiveness and persuasiveness of the content for its target audience.

FGC (Firm-Generated Content): All types of content created under the control of firms to be used in their own social media channels.

Consumer Engagement: Connection between consumers and firms through various communication channels.

UGC (User-Generated Content): All types of online content created and published by users for non-professional purposes.

Content Valence: Goodness (positive) or badness (negative) of the content; can be neutral as well.

Brand Equity: Value of a brand based on consumer perception of and experiences with the brand.

Content Marketing: Creating and sharing online content that motivates consumers to have interest in a firm’s products or services.

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