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IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE PURCHASE
INTENTIONS OF CONSUMERS OF BANKING
PRODUCTS (STANBIC BANK)
Summary of Research conducted by Jerry Adu-Asare, MBA
Social media (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp) has seen an
explosive growth and become the media of choice worldwide (Dong-Hun, 2010). The rapid
growth in the use of internet and social media has offered consumers many opportunities.
Consumers use social media to search for information and communicate with others without
boundaries (Tsimonis and Dimitriadis, 2014). Due to this phenomenon, firms are increasingly
using them as part of their marketing and brand building activities (Dickey and Lewis, 2010;
Gallaugher and Ransbotham, 2010). In short, social media provides the opportunity to connect
with customers using richer media with a greater reach (Thackeray et al., 2008).
This paper presents a summary of findings of a recent study that examined the impact of social
media marketing on the purchase intentions of consumers of banking products using Stanbic
Bank (Ghana) Limited as a case study. The mixed methodology was used to determine the key
factors that influence consumers to use social media as a means of communication and secondly,
to explore the impact of firm-generated and user-generated social media communication on the
purchase behaviour of consumers. A survey research design, through the administering of
questionnaire was used to gather data from 80 customers of the Achimota Branch of the bank.
One of the Marketing Managers of the bank was also personally interviewed.
2.0 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social Media: A group of internet-based applications that is built on the ideological and
technological foundations of Web 2.0 and allow the creation and exchange of user generated
content (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010: 61).
Social Media Marketing: A form of marketing that involves the promotion of user-generated
and firm-generation contents on a digital platform like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc for the
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purpose of improving customer relationship, enhancing brand awareness and influencing the
purchase intentions of potential consumers”.
Types of social media campaigns include:
Call Back Campaigns
In this type of campaign, a business advertises a hash tag and a keyword to which an interested
customer can send a message. The sender then receives an auto-reply message through their
social media account and text message box- informing him or her that a company representative
will call back. This reply includes important contact company information.
Customers of the bank may receive a call back campaign in the form of notification when they
first register and join the fan page of Stanbic bank.
“Thank you for joining Stanbic Bank on Twitter. Enjoy an exciting experience. Feel free to
contact any of our branches for further enquiries”
This type of campaign is used to grab the attention of new and existing customers. A company
could send out a personalized message to its customers informing them of a competition. The
customer, participating in the competition is encouraged to forward to a friend. This could also
be used to initiate a viral marketing campaign, i.e. a situation in which customers who have
received a message are persuaded to forward it to their friends and other users.
1. “How well do you know Ghana's history? Identify the figure and get free airtime.
Independence Day promotion
2. “Enjoy the freedom as you travel and shop with your MoneyWallet Multi Currency Card.
BANKING PRODUCT PROMOTION MARCH 5, 2015.
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3. “Predict the score and be part of the two lucky people to win airtime, as Arsenal takes on FC
Monaco tonight in the UEFA Champions League round 16”.
Conversational Marketing Campaigns
This type of campaign offers an interactive experience by providing free information (tips, tricks
and insights) as a way of giving value to customers. These pieces of information can be made
available using push or pull campaigns.
Push services provide a standard means to send data or a service to a user without an explicit
request from the subscriber at the time data is delivered.
Pull campaigns on the other hand, provide the required services in reply of customers’ service
orders. This can be seen as one of the ways of initiating a conversation with customers and
gaining valuable feedback on their needs.
1. “Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest #StanbicBankGH#Motivation”
2.“It's a blessing to be different , don't ever change #StanbicBankGH #TGIF”
3.“Remind yourself every morning to dream big, work hard and stay
4.“HAPPY EASTER...Enjoy the Easter Holidays with friends and
A consumer’s attitude refers to an individual’s inclination to respond to a specific entity is as a
result of their favourable or unfavourable evaluation.
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Five types of attitude have been identified:
The ability of an advertisement to inform consumers of product alternatives so that purchases
yielding the greatest possible satisfaction can be made (Ducoffe, 1996: 22).
Trust (sometimes called credibility) can be defined as the extent to which the consumer perceives
claims made about the brand in the advertisement to be truthful and believable (Mackenzie and
When advertising employs techniques that annoy, offend, or manipulate (Ducoffe, 1996).
People’s feeling of enjoyment associated with advertisements play the greatest role in accounting
for their overall attitudes toward them (Shavitt et al., 1998).
5. Monetary benefit/Incentives
Incentive based advertising is an approach that provides specific financial rewards to consumers
who agree to receive ads into their mobile phones (Pietz and Storbacka, 2007).
3.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The principal objective of this study is to investigate the impact of social media marketing on the
purchase behaviour of consumers of banking product, with specific reference to customers of
Stanbic Bank (Ghana) Limited. The study specifically;
i. Determined the key factors that influence consumers to use social media as a means of
ii. Explored the impact of firm-generated and user-generated social media communication on the
purchase behaviour of consumers.
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4.0 WHAT INSTIGATED THIS STUDY?
Not much work has been done on the adoption and usage of social media in the banking sector
especially in the African context (Tsimonis and Dimitriadis, 2014). Chikandiwa et.al (2013)’s
study for instance only explored social media adoption models and social media implementation
models being used by South African banks when adopting social media marketing. The study
however did not address the influence that social media marketing has on the purchase intentions
This paper thus attempted to fill the void in literature, add new knowledge on the subject matter
and also create a foundation on how the banking industry in Africa and Ghana in particular can
also take advantage of the new media to enhance their performance.
5.0 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study present managers of Stanbic Bank (Ghana) Limited new ways of
evaluating the success of their social media campaigns. The study also recommends strategies
that can be implemented to improve the current state of affairs of the social media marketing the
6.0 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING AND THE BANKING INDUSTRY
Banks have seen the need to integrate social media in their marketing communications and brand
strategies (Bonson and Flores, 2011; Ernest and Young, 2011; Gritten, 2011). The reasons are
varied yet most of the banks consider social media marketing because:
The viral diffusion of information through social media has a far greater capacity to
reach the public than “short tail” – media such as TV, radio, and print advertisements
Social media is regarded as a more trustworthy source of information than the traditional
instruments of marketing communications used by companies (Foux, 2006).
Consumers are turning away from traditional media (such as TV, radio, or magazines)
and increasingly using social media to search for information (Mangold and Faulds,
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The use of fan pages on social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn
etc.) has become a common phenomenon with financial institutions in Ghana. Like other
companies, Stanbic Bank (Ghana) Limited use the fan page to create relationship with millions
of online users in order to create traffic to the bank’s website which in turn, enhances brand
awareness (Fanion, 2011; New Media Age, 2010) and boost sales (New Media Age, 2010).
Campaigns that are generated by the banks are also evaluated by online users.
It is expected that consumers who access the firm-generated campaigns would talk to hundreds
or even thousands other consumers around the world about it. This may be done by word-of-
mouth and “liking” the page to create a positive brand evaluation. This means that bank is no
longer the sole source of its brand communication.
7.0 SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
The key findings that came out through the analysis of the data collected are presented as
Profile of Customers/ Respondents
The study shows that Stanbic’s clientele base is evenly distributed in terms of gender. Both
genders were included in the study to ensure that their opinions were widely represented. Most of
the respondents were either between 24-36 years or above 36 years. As much as 80% of the
respondents had saved with the bank for a period ranging from 1year to 9 years.
Assessment: Customers’ Awareness of Stanbic Bank’s Social Media Platforms
Less than 50% of the bank customers are not aware the bank is very active on social media
although most of the customers are members of some social media platforms. The few customers
who know about the bank’s activities on social media were largely informed through word-of-
mouth (i.e. interaction with the bank’s customer service staff and reference groups (friends and
family). Further, as low as 29% customers were informed about the bank’s social media
activities through digital platforms (i.e. text messages from the bank, search engines, and other
social media platforms).
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Assessment: Types of Campaigns that Stanbic Bank Sends Via Social Media
The bank is interested in building a long term relationship with its customers so it mostly posts
“conversational marketing campaigns” rather than “promotional competitions” on their social
media walls. The bank probably resorted to conversational marketing campaigns because this
type of campaign offers an interactive experience by providing free information (tips, tricks and
insights) as a way of giving value to customers.
The decision of refraining from having “a lot of product information” on social media is more of
a policy of the bank. Stanbic Bank believes that it is better to use social media for connecting and
community engagement than selling product; so they now hardly sell on social media, and make
noise about our products and services. The bank is working with a social media implementation
plan that prioritizes the achievement of the organizational objective.
Assessment: Key Factors that Influence Consumers to Use Social Media as a Means of
Majority of the respondents find social media marketing to be informative especially when it
alerts them about raffles and discounts, and the campaign is creatively composed and endorsed
Most of the customers participate in social media based on trust. Additionally, a lot of them
were also likely to back off if they were irritated by the frequency of social media messages and
in cases where they did not have control to personally choose its subject of the message and time
of alert. However, most of the respondents were likely to stay on social media if they anticipate
that they will receive monetary benefits at the end of the day. Most of the respondents also
appreciated social media contents which creative, funny, and culturally acceptable.
Assessment: Firm-Generated Campaigns Vs. User-Generated Campaigns
The campaigns generated by the bank do not influence the purchase decisions of consumers as
much as those generated by the users do. This is because the decisions of most consumers in
online purchases are highly influenced by their reference groups (Ofosu, et.al, 2013).
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A significant number of the bank customers were on social media yet they were not aware that
Stanbic Bank was very active online. The attitudes that mostly influenced consumers’ behaviour
on social media were informativeness of the message, trust, irritation, entertainment and
The study found that firm-generated content is less likely to influence the purchase decisions of
consumers in social media marketing. However, the purchase decisions of consumers are more
likely influenced by the recommendation of their acquaintances (families, friends, office and
school colleagues etc.). This is largely because social networks are often dominated by user-
generated contents where end users share their experiences with a product, service and customer
service. These experiences are mostly not censored and consumers use this to make their own
purchase decisions (Assaad and Gómez, 2011; Skul, 2008).
The findings of this study is consistent with other existing ones (Van der Waldt et. al, 2009;
Petrovici and Marinov, 2007; Ofosu et.al, 2013; Dimitris et. al, 2007).
In spite of the challenges associated with social media, the bank seems to have put in place
measures to curtail any difficulties. As remarked by one of the Marketing Managers of Stanbic
“Social media is very unpredictable so it requires a lot of monitoring, a lot of tracking and a lot
of adjustments and initiatives…we are prepared for it [challenges]”.
With respect to the findings from the study discussed above, the researcher recommends the
following to the management of Stanbic Bank:
Stanbic Bank should adopt an implementation model that prioritizes the strategic objectives of
the bank and its audiences. This takes a more agile approach to social media adoption. It can help
the bank to prioritise its objectives, establish a governance system as well as define activities to
achieve both the organizational objectives and meet the needs of the customers online.
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The social media content of the bank should be short, straight to the point, creative and supply
the relevant information that are of great interest to the consumers. It should also be culturally
acceptable. Possibly, the bank should revise its policy of overly concentrating on “conversational
marketing campaigns” and initiate more “promotional campaigns” on social media since that is
what most of their customers are interested in.
Since most of the customers do not know about the existence of the bank on social media, the
bank should consider introducing new marketing or communication strategies that will create
enough public awareness about the bank’s social media activities.
The posting of messages should be timely but the frequency of the information per day should be
minimal to forestall the tendency of users’ being irritated. The bank should consider rolling out
initiatives on the use of reference groups to ensure viral marketing of campaigns. This is because
the study has confirmed that online consumers and particularly social media users often based
their purchase decisions on the experiences shared by consumers.
It will be advisable for the bank to include permission marketing in its strategies. Personalizing
the message increases its impact, acceptance while reducing the degree of annoyance or
The bank should begin to use customer testimonials in all its marketing and communication
strategies. Quality video and audio contents should be created on social media and the
company’s website. A link should be created on each platform to direct more traffic and create
awareness of the brand the bank wishes to project.
The bank can also encourage the users to like or follow campaigns that are posted on the bank’s
social media platforms. The bank can create a promotional event around this by rewarding users
who will forward the highest number of marketing campaigns to others within a specific period
To win the trust of users, the bank should deliver on any promise they promote on social media.
For instance, terms and conditions should be explicitly spelt out and the initial stage of
promotions. An opportunity must also be given for online users to “opt-in and opt-out” out of a
group as and when they deem it fit. END.
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REFERENCES: Available upon request
RESEARCHER: Jerry Adu-Asare
RESEARCH SUPERVISOR: Dr. Adelaide Kastner, UGBS
PURPOSE: Research conducted in part fulfillment for the award of a Masters Degree in
Business Administration in Marketing and Customer Service at the University of Ghana