E-WOM: Do Brand Advocates “Good
Mouth” on Facebook?
Dr. T. Ramachandran
Faculty of Management
SRM University, India
Social networking sites (SNSs) offer a space for
online communities to gather. SNS users interact
with each other through their personal pages by
posting pictures, photos, comments, reviews,
updates and invite others to access the same.
Popular SNSs are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,
MySpace, Google+, YouTube, and so many alike.
Importance of the study
• SNS platforms provide an easy link to their referrals to
connect and engage a two-way communication on
product related discussions.
• Younger consumers, particularly Millennials prefer to
interact with brands and companies on social media
rather than through more traditional channels.
• This preference for digital means younger consumers
can become powerful advocates on social sites.
• Millennials give that social endorsement and letting
friends know is a way that they are able to promote
brands further and ensure its success. (emarketer,Inc ,
WOM (Word of Mouth)
According to Arndt (1967) word of mouth is a
non commercial, peer-to-peer communication
regarding a brand, product or service.
WOM typically occurs between people from
existing personal networks.
WOM is a more important input to the
decision process when purchasing services,
rather than goods (Francis, 1998).
Statements (positive or negative) made by
customers (potential, actual or former) about a
company or product, when made available to
many people over the internet e-WOM takes
place, (Hennig-Thurau., 2003).
Consumers who had many contacts in their
networks were more likely to be influenced by
others and follow their advice about products
This research probes if the recommendation
seeking behavior leads to spread the product
related information (e-WOM) among SNS users.
Once a person buys based on recommendations of
FB friends he may try to spread WOM to others
in the circle.
Hence this research tries to link recommendation
seeking behavior to spreading WOM on purchases
on social networking sites.
Seeking Facebook friends’ recommendations
for product purchases:
Algamdi (2012) has studied on the role of Facebook as
a source of information for consumers seeking product
recommendations from Facebook friends and the
consequent impact of these recommendations on their
Consumers seek product and company information on
social media sites. The interaction among Facebook
users are product or service centric.
More research results show that consumer’s product
choices are influenced by online recommendations.
A consumers' product choice is influenced more effectively by the
recommendations of other consumers on the Internet than by the
recommendations of an expert (Huang & Chen, 2006).
Other online consumers' product recommendations have an influence on
customers' purchasing behaviors (Chevalier and Mayzlin, 2006).
Online recommendations on products have an impact on consumers’
opinions and therefore encourage a purchase thereby increasing a product’s
overall sales (Cheung, et al., 2009).
Web communications over social networking sites influence customer
brand perceptions and purchase decisions, and so consumers use it as a
more trusted source of information, insights and opinions(Bernard et al.,
Consumer generated online opinions on products have a positive effect on
those recipient’s product evaluations and future purchases (Hennig-Thurau
& Walsh, 2004; Park et al., 2007).
Spreading WOM on SNS
In their study, Abed et al., (2010) infer that social
networking websites with a high level of community driven
are predicted to be more likely to share and diffuse viral
Consumers are and will continue to share their opinions on
brands and products with or without company interaction.
Facebook users are not only willing to click the "Like
button" to express agreement and support, but also willing
to share positive product information to their friends (Chen
et al., 2012).
Pei-wen Fu (2011) in his study showed that Facebook users
who have high needs of uniqueness like to share WOM to
Research Conceptual Framework &
The research conceptual framework explains the likely relationship
between factors that influence the consumer’s use of Facebook as a source
of information to seek product related recommendations from friends in
Facebook and the influence these recommendations has on the purchase
This study further probes whether such a behavior leads one to become an
active eWOM referral to others in the network.
From the above factors the following suppositions were made to check the
relationship existing among them.
– H1- Facebook friends’ recommendations regarding products and the
consumer’s purchase decisions are positively associated.
– H2- Purchase decisions based on FB friends’ recommendations on
products is positively associated with spreading WOM on SNS.
Data Collection Method
IT and ITES personnel
212 IT and ITES Professional
Among the respondents 70 % were men and
30% were women. Around 20 % of them are
in the age group of 18-22 and around 64 % of
the respondents are in the age group of 23-28.
The Measurement scale for the research model
factors were measured using items in a seven-
point Likert Scale, rating from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).
The reliability and normality of the adopted
measurement scales were checked using
Cronbach’s Alpha reliability score and One
sample Kolmogorov-Sminov and Shapiro-Wilk
test for normality.
In order to test the research hypotheses,
parametric analysis methods were used. Pearson
correlation was used to examine the relationships
between the independent variables and dependent
The research hypotheses were tested among those who
had bought products based on recommendations from
Facebook friends which is 94% (n=200).
In order to compute the scores of the scaled data simple
averaging method was used (Algamdi, 2012).
In order to check the reliability of the scaled items of
each construct Cronbach’s Alpha was used. The results
of the Cronbach’s alpha showed that all the scales were
reliable and valid for measuring the constructs.
The alpha scores of the individual scales were high
(above 0.7) and showed strong internal consistency
among the items.
Testing the research hypotheses-1
In order to test the research hypotheses H1 to H2,
Pearson Correlations were calculated to determine
the relationships between the independent
variables and the dependent variables in the
A first Pearson correlation was calculated to
assess the relationship in the research model (H1).
There was a significant relationship between
seeking product recommendations from Facebook
friends and purchase decisions based on FB
friends’ recommendations on Products.
Testing the research hypotheses-2
A second Pearson Correlation was calculated
to assess the second relationship in the
research model (H2).
There was a moderate relationship between
Purchase decisions based on FB friends’
recommendations on Products and spreading
WOM on Social networking sites.
Summary of the assessment of the
research hypotheses based on the
Pearson Correlation analysis
H1 Facebook friends’ recommendations
regarding products and the consumer’s
purchase decisions are positively associated.
H2 Purchase decisions based on FB friends’
recommendations on products is positively
associated with spreading WOM on SNS.
Discussion and Conclusion
The results of the present study suggest that product
recommendations obtained from Facebook friends did
reasonably influence purchase decisions among the
Almost 44%(n=187) among the respondents who have
purchased products, have obtained product
recommendations from Facebook friends shows a
strong dependence on friends’ approval for purchase
Purchase decisions based on FB friends’
recommendations did not show strong association with
spreading positive WOM among FB Friends.
Limitations of the study
The usage of Social Networking sites among
the age group of 20 -30 is presumed to be high
compared to other age group and so the study
population identified was limited to that group.
Heavy users of Facebook are assumed to share
more product related information.
The study limits its scope only to those who
use Facebook for product related information
sharing and purchases.
Implications for research
Sharing information on brands, products, services, promotional offers and
past purchases among friends has become essential because SNS users
need instant approval for their selection and reduce their dissonance
Also they wanted to be updated on the latest trends to avoid being outcast
Though Facebook users rely on friends for product related inputs before
they purchase they do not pass on the WOM to others due to reasons not
explored in this study.
Also influences from other marketing stimuli are not taken for
consideration while exploring the relationship between seeking product
recommendations from FB friends and purchase decisions based on FB
friends’ recommendations on products.