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Journal of Internet Commerce

ISSN: 1533-2861 (Print) 1533-287X (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wico20

An Examination of the Factors Influencing


Consumers' Attitudes Toward Social Media
Marketing
Erkan Akar & Birol Topu
To cite this article: Erkan Akar & Birol Topu (2011) An Examination of the Factors Influencing
Consumers' Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing, Journal of Internet Commerce, 10:1,
35-67, DOI: 10.1080/15332861.2011.558456
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15332861.2011.558456

Published online: 23 Mar 2011.

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Date: 27 August 2016, At: 20:44

Journal of Internet Commerce, 10:3567, 2011


Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1533-2861 print=1533-287X online
DOI: 10.1080/15332861.2011.558456

An Examination of the Factors Influencing


Consumers Attitudes Toward
Social Media Marketing
ERKAN AKAR
Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Business
Administration, Afyon Kocatepe University, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey

BIROL TOPC U
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics,
, Turkey
Nam k Kemal University, Tekirdag

Social media and social media applications that build consumer


communities involving rich user-generated content are new marketplaces and=or tools for marketers. This study aims to specify
the factors affecting consumers attitudes toward marketing with
social media. Given this context, a 7-factor, consumer-based
attitude scale that contains 32 items was developed, and a questionnaire was completed by undergraduate students between the
ages of 18 and 24. Frequencies, t-test, ANOVA, factor analysis,
and regression analysis were used for data analysis. In the end,
six factors were found to affect consumers attitudes toward marketing with social media.
KEYWORDS consumer attitudes, social media, social media
marketing, social Web

INTRODUCTION
The Web has become a more social environment since its beginning. There
has never before existed such an environment that has the ability to link a
piece of content to another. The Web creates content webs that contain
value. It has been observed that traditional media has fallen to the side since

Address correspondence to Dr. Erkan Akar, Faculty of Economics and Administrative


Sciences, Department of Business Administration, Afyon Kocatepe University, ANS Kampusu,
Afyonkarahisar, Turkey. E-mail: akar@aku.edu.tr
35

36

E. Akar and B. Topc u

the widespread use of social media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook,


and other Web 2.0 platforms (Awareness 2008c). Today, social media
sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, attract more than 100 million visitors
a month (Chui, Miller, and Roberts 2009, 1). Social Web sites have
rapidly become one of the component parts of hundreds of millions of
Internet users everyday lives all over the world. However, there are
few academic studies on social Web sites, and most of the studies are comprised of newspaper and magazine articles, Wikipedia writings, and blogs
with limited topics related to social Web sites (Kim, Jeong, and Lee
2010, 234).
Social media is now a developing phenomenon in marketing. Marketers
are beginning to understand the use of social media as a component in their
marketing strategies and campaigns to reach out to customers. Promotions,
marketing intelligence, sentiment research, public relations, marketing communications, and product and customer management are sub-disciplines of
marketing that may use social media (Tanuri 2010).
Each social media platform (such as blogs, online discussion forums,
and online communities) has an effect on marketing performance (e.g.,
sales), so it is vital to understand their relative importance and their interrelatedness (Stephen and Galak 2009).
Social media marketing can be simply defined as the use of social media
channels to promote a company and its products. This kind of marketing can
be thought of as a subset of online marketing activities that complete traditional Web-based promotion strategies, such as e-mail newsletters and
online advertising campaigns (Barefoot and Szabo 2010, 13). Social media,
in a way, converts consumers into marketers and advertisers, and consumers
can create positive or negative pressure for the company, its products, and its
services, depending both on how the company is presented online and on
the quality of products and services presented to the customer (Roberts
and Kraynak 2008, 146).
Consumers using social media platforms can generate, edit, and share
online information about companies, products, and services. They can also
create online communities and networks that direct where information flows
out of a businesss control. Customers perceive this information as more
reliable than straightforward business communication. Hence, peer opinion
becomes a major influence on buying behavior (Constantinides, Amo, and
Romero 2010).
The list of social media channels includes blogs, cooperative projects
(such as Wikipedia), social networking sites (such as Facebook), content
communities (such as YouTube), virtual social worlds (such as Second Life),
virtual game worlds (such as World of Warcraft; Kaplan and Haenlein 2010,
62), and microblogging (such as Twitter; Borges 2009, 45).
Information about Internet users acceptance of social media platforms
can be obtained from the Wave 3 report by Universal McCann, published

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

37

in March 2008. According to this report, among active Internet users between
the ages of 16 and 54:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

82.9
72.8
67.5
63.2
57.3
54.8
52.2
45.8
45.1
38.7
38.5
33.7

percent have watched video clips online,


percent have read blogs=Web logs,
percent have read personal blogs,
percent have visited photo-sharing sites,
percent have managed a profile on an existing social network,
percent have left a comment on a blog,
percent have uploaded their own photos to a photo-sharing site,
percent have left a comment on a news site,
percent have downloaded a podcast,
percent have started their own blogs,
percent have uploaded a video clip to a video sharing Web site, and
percent have subscribed to an RSS feed.

In the same report, the situation in Turkey can be understood by the


data given below (Universal McCann 2008):
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Internet penetration by market is 22.5 percent,


69.6 percent have read blogs,
39.2 percent have written a blog,
66 percent have created a profile on a social network,
48.4 percent have uploaded their photos to a photo sharing site,
41.2 percent have uploaded their videos to a video sharing site,
93.4 percent have watched video clips,
50.8 percent have downloaded a podcast, and
32 percent have subscribed to an RSS feed.

The numbers show the situation in the world and in Turkeyalthough,


with regards to Turkey, the usage of social media applications is newand
point out that social media is being widely used by Internet users. The fact that
the use of social media is becoming widespread causes it to be used in different fields for different purposes at the same time. Marketing is one of these
fields, and when evaluated in terms of marketing, the notion of marketing
with social media has been found to have gradually become popular. In this
context, studies show that companies view marketing with social media as
being important. On the other hand, the lack of studies that evaluate the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social media draws attention.
The aim of this study is to identify the factors influencing the attitudes of
consumers toward marketing with social media. Within this context, a
consumer-based attitude scale has been developed. In this way, this study
has tried to remove a deficiency in this field. In order to reveal the factors
influencing the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social media,

38

E. Akar and B. Topc u

demographic data, multiple choice questions about Internet and social media
use, and a Likert scale consisting of 32 items have been prepared and applied
to undergraduate students at Afyon Kocatepe University. The reason why
undergraduate students have been chosen for the study is that the research
indicates that people between the ages of 18 and 24 are using social media
more than others. In a study conducted by RapLeaf (2008), those between
ages 14 and 24 are the predominant users of social media. In this study,
46.38 percent of Facebook users are between the ages of 18 and 24, whereas
the same age group comprises 38.69 percent of MySpace users. In another
study conducted by InsideFacebook.com in June 2009, at 30 percent, there
were more 18- to 25-year-old Facebook users in America than any other
age group in the study. The data gathered from the questionnaire applied
within the study have been evaluated with factor analysis, and a 7-factor
scale has been developed. Whether or not these factors affect the attitudes
of consumers toward marketing with social media has been put forward.

LITERATURE REVIEW
User Generated Content (UGC)
During the last few years, users have spent more time and shared more
information, thoughts, and opinions with each other easily via the Internet.
Also, new forms of content generation, communication, and collaboration
have come out on the Internet. For example, UGC allows Internet users to
make comments in various forms, such as photos, videos, podcasts, ratings,
reviews, articles, and blogs (Filho and Tan 2009).
UGC is also known as user-created content (UCC) (Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] 2007) or consumergenerated media (CGM) (Grannell 2009; Interactive Advertising Bureau
2008). It refers to any material created and uploaded to the Internet (Interactive Advertising Bureau) by amateur contributors (OECD). It can be a
comment or review on Amazon.com, a video uploaded to YouTube, or a
persons profile on Facebook (Interactive Advertising Bureau).
After buying and consuming a product or service, some users like to
share their review and evaluation through a social network site. This can create a huge flow of electronic word-of-mouth, particularly when people use
Web 2.0 applications. Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of Web-based
services that enable users to collaborate and share information online, highlighting UGC (Filho and Tan 2009).

Social Media: Social Aspects of Web 2.0


In the past five years, the Internet has changed the way people work, communicate, and live. This new kind of Internet is fed by new types of online

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

39

content, applications, and services called social media. In order to understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to first understand the term Web
2.0 (Postman 2008, 67).
Web 2.0 is a popular term that defines developed Internet technologies
and applications, including blogs (Chui et al. 2009; Warr, 2008), wikis
(Dwivedi, Shibu, and Venkatesh 2007; Tredinnick 2006), podcasts (Boulos
and Wheeler 2007), social networks, mashups,1 Really Simple Syndication
or Rich Site Summary (RSS; Lai and Turban 2008, 388), and information tags
(Harrison and Barthel 2009). One of the main differences between the traditional Web and Web 2.0 is that the content is created by the user and there
is great cooperation among Internet users. Web 2.0, as an umbrella term in
the heart of emerging technologies, trends, and principles, has changed
not only what the Web contains but also how the Web works (Lai and
Turban, p. 388). The technologies known as Web 2.0 as a whole have
become widespread among consumers in the last five years. Due to Web
2.0s increasing popularity, companies have given importance to consumer
loyalty and creativity surrounding these technologies (Chui et al., p. 1).
Web 2.0 can be considered social software, social computing, participative Web, and UGC (Osimo 2008, 17). In general, the terms Web 2.0 and
social media can be used in place of one another, though some people differentiate these two concepts. In this context, Web 2.0 mostly refers to online
applications, whereas the term social media refers to the social aspects of
Web 2.0 applications (Constantinides and Fountain 2008, 232). This study
considers the terms Web 2.0 and social media to be different from each
other. In this context, it is useful to explain social media and its scope.
Social media is the latest form of Web-based applications wherein content is created by participatory communication, building communities, and
creating and sharing information, which could be considered a revolution
(Postman 2008, 7).
The concept of social media, which may be based completely on UGC,
refers to applications where user actions and UGC play a key role (Ahlqvist,
Halonen, and Heinonen 2007). Thanks to social media, the promise of UGC
is now being hyper-realized (Interactive Advertising Bureau 2008).
Social networks (such as Facebook and MySpace), photo sharing sites
(such as Flickr and Photobucket), online communities, microblogging tools
(such as Twitter), social tagging (such as Digg), newsreaders (such as
NetVibes and Google Reader), and video creating and sharing services (such
as Oic, Seesmic, YouTube and Ustream) are examples of social media. With
the help of these services, users can instantly send text, images, audio, and
video without any technical knowledge. That these services enable only
the sharing of content on the Web is not important here. What is important
is that they allow simultaneous sharing in reality. Within this context, content
is generally distributed without ownership or managment. This is achieved
with the help of Web 2.0 technology (Postman 2008, 7).

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Online Customer Review and Electronic Word-of-Mouth Marketing


Consumer-generated product reviews, images, and tags, which serve as a valuable source of information for customers making product choices online
(Ghose, Ipeirotis, and Li 2009), have increased rapidly on the Internet and have
had a great impact on electronic commerce (Forman, Ghose, and Wiesenfeld
2008) following the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies. Electronic word-ofmouth communication has become a dominating channel that influences buying decisions of consumers on the Web (Cheung, Lee, and Thadani 2009).
Consumers can share their opinion (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004), easily interact,
and exchange shopping experiences with other consumers using online discussion forums or any other social network technologies because of the connective nature of the Internet (Cheung et al.). Online consumer reviews, as
consumer-created product information (Chen and Xie 2008), can be viewed
as a new form of electronic word-of-mouth (Cheung et al.). According to
Hennig-Thurau and colleagues, electronic word-of-mouth communication
refers to any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customers about a product or company, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet (p. 39).
Electronic word-of-mouth communication can take place in many ways:
Web-based opinion platforms, discussion forums, boycott Web sites, news
groups (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004), posted reviews, mailbags, electronic
mailing lists, personal e-mail, chatrooms, instant messaging (Schindler and
Bickart 2005), consumer ratings Web sites or forums, blogs, social networking Web sites, and individual Web sites. Online word-of-mouth communication is owned and controlled by consumers, although it is influenced by
traditional marketers and marketing activities. It often has higher credibility
and trust than traditional media (Blackshaw and Nazzaro 2006).
Since blogging uses social networks, UGC, and interactivity for spreading
the message, it can be seen as a form of viral marketing. Engaging the customer
through continuous communications, blogs can play an important role in supporting brand loyalty. In order to reflect their brand experience, both good and
bad, customers use blogs (Singh, Veron-Jackson, and Cullinane 2008).
Chen and colleagues (2008) conducted a study about the relationship
between blog elements on marketing and brand attitude. They suggested that
interpersonal trust, message exchange, and two-way communication have
positive significant effects on brand attitude, which supported previous
research. The finding proves the relationship between message exchange
and brand attitude.

Social Media Marketing and Its Features


Social media marketing is a process that allows individuals to present their
own Web sites, products, or services through online social channels to

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

41

communicate in a wide community and to listen to that communitywhich


is not possible with traditional advertising channels (Weinberg 2009, 3).
Social media marketing uses social media sites in order to increase a companys or organizations visibility on the Internet for the purpose of presenting its products and services. Social media sites are beneficial for creating
social (and work) networks and for exchanging thoughts and information
(Ontario 2008).
Marketing with social media is making a significant impact on the marketing strategies of companies. This kind of marketing is gradually rising,
expanding, and taking the place of older methods in some companies.
For instance, traditional marketing applications, such as direct and brand
marketing, are one-way, push-based, and interrupt-driven techniques.
These types of marketing activities are directed from the company to the
customer. Without a request from potential customers, companies push
marketing activities onto clients, and this can be achieved by interrupting
their activities. Traditional marketing is brand generated. The content is
completely from brand to the customer. On the contrary, social media marketing is comprised of new features, such as the following (Awareness
2008b):
.

Social media marketing consists of multidirectional dialogs. Brands talk


to the customers, customers talk to the brands, andmaybe most
importantlycustomers talk to each other. This situation is a new type
of engagement that was impossible before Web 2.0.
Social media marketing is participatory. What makes it social is that it
depends on user participation. In order for social media marketing to be
realized, user participation is needed.
Social media marketing is user generated. Most of the content and connections in an online community are created by users, not by the brand.
Unquestionably, some content and conversations are generated by the
brand, but these kinds of content and conversations are few. The aim is
to make users talk.

With the emergence of Internet-based social media, it is possible for an


individual to communicate with hundreds of thousands of people about a
product and the company providing that product. This way, the effect of
communication from consumer to consumer is broadened immensely in
the marketplace (Mangold and Faulds 2009, 357). All types of social media
provide an opportunity to present oneself and ones products to dynamic
communities and individuals that may be interested (Roberts and Kraynak
2008, 149). Social media includes a variety of applications that, using technical terms, allow consumers to post, tag, digg, blog, etc. This content
created by social media is a type of newly generated resource for online
information that is created, spread, and used by consumers desiring to

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educate each other about products, brands, services, and problems (Xiang
and Gretzel 2010, 180).
Consumers receive information about products and services from alternative information resources, especially by consulting other consumers via
online comments and electronic social networking Web sites (Clemons
2009, 48). When it comes time for consumers to purchase a product or
service, they search for others opinions again and again (Akar 2010a, 115).
According to a study by Nielsen BuzzMetrics, more than 60 percent of consumers believe what they read in the posts of other consumers (Blackshaw
and Nazzaro 2006, 5). According to Red Bridge Marketing (2008), regarding
products and services, 78 percent of global consumers believe and trust the
suggestions of other people over any other data.
These online consumers are important for marketers because they are
active and effective. They are talkative, and active consumers who try new
products first do not hesitate to share their own experiences with other consumers and to spread their opinions (Blackshaw and Nazzaro 2006, 5).
Among consumers, the opinions of the others are seen as more objective
than the marketing messages of companies (Akar 2010a, 115). This may
mean that consumers do not approve of company-generated advertisements
within social media environments.
Studies about both social media and marketing with social media are
quite new and few. As Correa, Hinsley, and Zuniga (2010) stated, most
studies about the use of social media just focus on social networking sites.
These sites are the virtual presentations of users profiles, which can be
shared to create friend lists in order to keep up contact with them. Most users
(approximately 90%) visit such a site in order to communicate with people
with whom they are familiar, and more than half of them have two or more
online profiles (Correa et al., 248).
There are other studies, such as Universal McCann (2008), MENG
(2009), Awareness (2008a, 2008b), and Barnes and Mattson (2009). Particularly, a study about the viewpoints of consumers toward social media
marketing conducted by DEI Worldwide (2008) is remarkable. One of
the results of this study is that consumers who visited social media sites
make better purchasing decisions compared to ones who did not. Despite
studies such as this one, no studies about determining the attitudes of
consumers toward social media and marketing with social media could be
found.
In studies related to this field, Web 2.0 is mostly emphasized. These
studies relate the companies points of view about Web 2.0 or the use of
Web 2.0 for the purposes of business (Shields et al. 2009; McKinsey Quarterly
2007a, 2007b, 2008; Economist Intelligence Unit 2007). However, when it
comes to Turkey, no studies could be found with regards to either businesses
or consumers with the purpose of determining attitudes toward social media
and marketing with social media; this gap constitutes the motive of this study.

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

43

Attitude Toward Social Media Marketing


According to Kotler and Keller (2006, 194), attitude can be described as a
persons enduring favorable or unfavorable evaluation, emotional feeling,
and action tendencies toward some object or idea. Attitudes can shape peoples minds, making them like or dislike an object, moving them toward or
away from that object. Thus, the behaviors of people are influenced by attitudes and make them behave in a quite consistent way toward similar objects
(Kotler and Keller).
The better the attitude a person has toward a brand, the more likely
he or she is to use the product. Conversely, the less positive the attitude,
the less likely he or she would be to use the product (Chiou et al. 2008).
According to Shiau and Lu (2010, 856867), when users perceive that
blogs are important and valuable, they are likely to use blogs again. Their
level of satisfaction also impacts intent to continue using blogs. Cha
(2009, 85) found in his study that the more people perceive shopping
services on social networking sites as useful and easy to use, the more
favorable they feel toward shopping for real items on those social networks. On the contrary, Cha also found that perceived enjoyment has
a negative association with shopping attitude toward real items on social
networking sites (p. 85).
An iProspect (2007) report stated that social networking sites affect purchasing decisions of a meaningful percentage of Internet users visiting these
sites. Miller and Lammas (2010) stated that the expectations that marketing
with social media applications can cause tremendously effective marketing
are very high. According to a recent study by DEI Worldwide (2008), 70 percent of consumers have visited social media Web sites to get information.
Moreover, 49 percent of these customers made a purchase decision on the
basis of the information they gathered.
In this context, it is required that marketers identify the sites in which
the influence level is high. Also, they can develop methods to have a close
relationship with users who visit these sites (iProspect 2007).

RESEARCH DESIGN
Research Objectives
The main aim of this study is to specify the factors affecting the attitudes of
consumers toward marketing with social media. As well, it tries to present
which factors are effective and which ones are not regarding the attitudes
of consumers toward marketing with social media. Kim and colleagues
(2010, 216) mentioned the lack of academic studies about social networking
sites and social media sites and the abundance of newspaper and magazine
articles, Wikipedia writings, and blogs about them. In this context, the study

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E. Akar and B. Topc u

is important and aims to meet the academic need in the field. This is also one
of the limits of the study.

Research Methodology2
RESEARCH SAMPLE
The scope of the research is comprised of undergraduate students from eight
faculties at Afyon Kocatepe University. The questionnaire prepared for gathering data was distributed from May to June of the 20082009 academic year.
In this academic year, 10,600 students were studying in the faculties of Afyon
Kocatepe University.
2
The size of the sample was calculated with the formula n dz 2  P  Q.
2
According to this, the number of the sample size is n dz 2  P  Q
1:962
 0:5  0:5 384 (5% tolerance with a 95% possibility was taken into
0:052
consideration for P 0.50, Q 0.50) (Serper and Aytac 2000, 48). The questionnaire prepared within this context was given to 400 students using the
basic random sampling method. As Kavak (2000, 197) stated, in this method,
there is a possibility of each entity in the sample being chosen, so this
method is an appropriate population for a probabilistic sample.
It is possible to say that the number of students used for the research
(400) is adequate because it is more than 384, which is calculated with the
formula used for the number of the sample size. Of the participants, 58.5 percent are male, and 41.5 percent are female.
DATA COLLECTION
A questionnaire form was used as a tool for gathering data. The questionnaire form was prepared by benefitting from the studies of Shields and
colleagues (2009); McKinsey Quarterly (2007a, 2007b, 2008); Awareness
(2008a, 2008b); Barnes and Mattson (2009); Economist Intelligence Unit
(2007); Web 2.0 Marketing Survey (2009); MENG (2009); SIIA (2009), and
Huang, Yoo, and Choi (2008) and by adapting to consumers. In the first part
of the questionnaire are questions about demographic information and multiple choice questions about the use of Internet and social media; in the
second part, a Likert scale containing five items is used (1 totally disagree,
2 disagree, 3 no idea, 4 agree, 5 totally agree).
FINDINGS, HYPOTHESES, AND RESULTS
In the analysis of the data gathered from the questionnaire, SPSS version 15.0
statistical software for Windows was used. Cronbachs a test was implemented for the reliability test of the scale, and it was calculated that Cronbachs
zdamar (2002, 673), that
a 0.74. This value calculated shows, according to O
the scale is highly reliable.

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

45

In order to facilitate understanding and interpretation of the relationship


among a wide range of parameters stated in the questionnaire that are
thought to have relations, and in order to reduce the amount to a more basic
dimension (Altuns k et al. 2005, 212), a factor analysis has been used.
For the factor analysis feasibility test of data, the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin
(KMO) test and the Bartlett test (Altuns k et al. 2005: 220) have been implemented. The value of the Bartlett test is 5,510.201. This value is p .000 < .05,
so the result of the Bartlett test is significant. The value of the KMO test is
calculated as 0.882. Therefore, there are high correlations among the parameters. In other words, the set of data is appropriate for factor analysis. In
factor analysis, the Varimax method has been implemented, and eight
factors have been found.
When entitling the eight factors, there were some problems with two of
them. Because of these problems, as Altuns k and colleagues (2005, 348) stated, an analysis was performed again by removing the parameters with
weaker factor values compared to the others. In this context, the parameters
I know that applications such as YouTube, Facebook, Blog are called as
Social Media (question 23) and I think the change of Web in the future will
be positive (question 39) have been removed from the analysis, and seven
factors were found after the factor analysis was performed again. These
seven factors are 62.795 percent of the total variance. The factors
regarding marketing with social media and the value of factors can be seen
in table 1.
The first of the factors can be called attitudes toward marketing with
social media and consists of ten parameters. It explains 18.348 percent of
the total variance. The second factor is social media use and includes three
parameters. It is 8.232 percent of the total variance. The third factor can be
called social media knowledge and consists of five parameters. It is 8.160
percent of the total variance. The fourth factor is being affected by Internet
and social media and includes four parameters. This factor is 7.967 percent
of the total variance. The fifth factor can be called following=monitoring
social media and consists of three parameters. It is 7.052 percent of the total
variance. Factor six is foresight about social media and includes three parameters. It explains 7.049 percent of the total variance. Factor seven can be
called fear about marketing with social media and includes two parameters. It is 5.987 percent of the total variance.
Averages and standard deviations of the seven factors can be seen in
table 2. Despite the participants not having any fear about marketing with
social media (2.77), their attitudes toward marketing with social media are
neither positive nor negative (3.39). They accept that their use of social
media (3.70) is better than their social media knowledge (3.51). They do
not agree with the foresight about social media (2.91), and they do not follow
social media regularly (2.55). Ultimately, the participants are affected by the
Internet and social media neither a lot nor a little (3.14).

46

E. Akar and B. Topc u

TABLE 1 Factors Regarding Marketing with Social Media and the Value of Factors
Value of factors
1
Factor 1: Attitudes toward marketing with
social media (variance percentage: 18.348)
It is necessary for companies to use social
media sites such as Facebook for the
purposes of marketing.
It is a good idea to market with applications
such as YouTube, Facebook, and blogs,
generally known as social media.
Marketing with applications such as
YouTube, Facebook, and blogs,
generally known as social media, is very
interesting.
I think that companies should take part in
social networking sites such as
Facebook.
I like marketing with applications such as
YouTube, Facebook, and blogs,
generally known as social media.
I find it useful to market with applications
such as YouTube, Facebook, and blogs,
generally known as social media.
I believe that marketing with applications
such as YouTube, Facebook, and blogs,
generally known as social media, will be
amusing.
It is necessary for companies to use video
sharing sites like YouTube for the
purposes of marketing.
It is necessary for companies to use Wikis
for the purposes of marketing.
I think that marketing with social media is
the future of marketing.
Factor 2: Social media use (variance
percentage: 8.232)
I use social networking sites such as
Facebook regularly.
I like using applications such as YouTube,
Facebook, and blogs, generally known
as social media.
I use video sharing sites such as YouTube
regularly.
Factor 3: Social media knowledge (variance
percentage: 8.160)
Blogs are important in todays marketplace.
Social networking sites are important in
todays marketplace.
YouTube is important in todays
marketplace.

0.806
0.774
0.766

0.715
0.711
0.696
0.651

0.646
0.570
0.464

0.771
0.759
0.665

0.759
0.667
0.573
(Continued )

47

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing


TABLE 1 Continued
Value of factors
1
It is necessary for companies to have a blog or
blogs for marketing.
I know that applications such as YouTube,
Facebook, and blogs, generally known as
social media, are being used for the
purposes of marketing.
Factor 4: Being affected by the Internet and
social media (variance percentage: 7.967)
Public relations provided by the Internet
affect my purchasing decisions.
Advertisements from the Internet affect my
purchasing decisions.
Reviews for products on the Internet affect
my purchasing decisions.
I regularly look at the reviews of products on
the Internet before I buy something.
Factor 5: Following=monitoring social media
(variance percentage: 7.052)
I follow wikis such as Wikipedia regularly.
I follow photo sharing sites as Flickr
regularly.
I follow blog sites regularly.
Factor 6: Foresight about social media
(variance percentage: 7.049)
I think that social networking sites such as
Facebook will become old fashioned.
I think that YouTube will become old
fashioned.
I think that creating blogs will become old
fashioned.
Factor 7: Fear about marketing with social
media (variance percentage: 5.987)
I think that marketing with applications
such as YouTube, Facebook, and blogs,
generally known as social media, is a
waste of time.
I think that marketing with applications
such as YouTube, Facebook, and blogs,
generally known as social media, is
worrisome.

0.521
0.512

0.814
0.809
0.594
0.513

0.791
0.737
0.698

0.856
0.819
0.694

0.806

0.791

Gender. Even though earlier studies reveal that Internet usage is characterized by men dominantly, recent studies indicate that gender difference in
Internet use is rapidly decreasing (Youn, Lee, and Doyle 2003; Weiser 2000).
According to a comScore (2010) report, globally, 45.7 percent of women are
using the Internet, whereas for men this figure is 54.3 percent (Abraham,
Morn, and Vollman 2010).

48

E. Akar and B. Topc u

TABLE 2 Average and Standard Deviation of Factors Regarding Marketing with Social Media

Attitudes toward marketing with social


media (factor 1)
Social media use (factor 2)
Social media knowledge (factor 3)
Being affected by Internet and social media
(factor 4)
Following=monitoring social media (factor 5)
Foresight about social media (factor 6)
Fear about marketing with social media (factor 7)

Number of
parameters

Average

Std.
dev.

10

400

3.39

0.78

3
5
4

400
400
400

3.70
3.51
3.14

0.98
0.69
0.94

3
3
2

400
400
400

2.55
2.91
2.77

0.91
0.98
0.95

Online shopping was more popular among men than among women
in the late 1990s (Cha 2009). Li, Kuo, and Russell (1999) found in their
study that men were more frequent Web buyers than women. Teo
(2001, 127) also found that males were more likely to use Internet for purchasing when compared to females. Doolin and colleagues (2005, 77) also
found in their study that male respondents tended to have been Internet
users longer and to have more purchasing power, while female respondents were more likely to have shopped using other direct marketing channels. A more recent survey conducted by MasterCard Worldwide indicated
that more women than men are shopping online, and making purchases
more frequently over the Internet (Professional Public Relations [NZ]
Limited 2008).
Although men and women have been shown to differ in their attitudes
toward both the Internet and traditional shopping, there are few studies
about gender differences in online buying (Dittmar, Long, and Meek
2004). Offering no emotional involvement or social interaction, the online
shopping environment may not be a favorable place to shop for women.
However, this can be different on social networking sites (Cha 2009),
because women and men have different drives in purchasing. Women
emphasize psychological and emotional involvement in the buying process
(Jen-Hung and Yi-Chun 2010), and they are more motivated by noneconomic goals (Akhter 2003). On the other hand, men stress efficiency
and convenience regarding making purchases (Jen-Hung and Yi-Chun;
Dittmar et al.), and they are comparatively more motivated by functional
factors. Women think that shopping is an exciting process, so they have a
tendency to enjoy it (Jen-Hung and Yi-Chun). Women look for a relationship
as well as convenience when shopping online (Levit 2010). While other
e-commerce sites limit opportunities for social interaction during shopping,
online social network sites enable users to interact with their friends. For
instance, Facebooks shopping application helps users. With this application,
users can rate and discuss products they want to purchase with their friends.

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

49

In this way, social network users can get the opinions of their online friends
about the products they want to buy (Cha).
According to comScore (2010), globally, women demonstrate higher
levels of engagement with social networking sites than men. Cha (2009,
85) found that women are more likely than men to have a favorable attitude
toward shopping for virtual items on social networking. Lewis (2010) found
in his study that gender does have some influence on attitudes toward social
media; however, the findings are comparatively weak. Therefore,
H1: The attitudes of males and females toward marketing with social
media are different from each other.

Family income. Li and colleagues (1999) found that consumers with


higher incomes were more likely to be in the frequent online buyer class.
An iCrossing (2005) survey revealed that respondents having higher income
are more likely to use the Internet for purchasing. According to Pew Internet
& American Life Project (2007) reports, online teens with high-income parents are more likely to buy items online than those whose parents earn less
money. In this study, it is revealed that there is a difference between years
2004 and 2006 regarding blogging activity among teens in terms of household income or family structure. Teens whose household income is less than
$50,000 per year are considerably more likely to blog than those whose
household income is higher (Lenhart et al. 2007). According to Australian
Communications and Media Authority (2009) research, young people
between the ages of 12 and 17 whose average annual household income
is over $100,000 used the Internet significantly more often than their counterparts whose household income is lower. According to an online survey by
PricewaterhouseCoopers (2010), in Russia, nearly 75 percent of respondents
usually use online social network sites. Females spend more time for social
networking and blogging than males. Blogging was more attractive to
respondents with a monthly income of RUB 20,000 to RUB 25,000. Therefore,
H2: There is a difference in the attitudes of consumers toward marketing
with social media in terms of their family income.

Digital experience. The type and degree of information processing


involving systematic organization, comparisons, evaluation of brand, and
purchasing behavior is known to be affected by consumer prior knowledge.
It is also known that information learned from experience has a strong and
direct impact on attitudes and behavior. Consumers have a tendency to
depend on their personal experiences (Cho and Cheon 2004). Cho and
Cheon found in their study, in which the learning from experience theory
was applied to the context of Internet advertising, that past negative
experience, indicated by overall dissatisfaction and perceived lack of

50

E. Akar and B. Topc u

utility and incentive, causes people to avoid the source of the negative
experience (p. 93).
Previous experiences will strongly influence future behavior. Customers
who have purchased online and have prior experience will be more likely to
go on their online purchasing than those who do not have such experience
(Ling, Chai, and Piew 2010). Therefore,
H3: There is a difference in the attitudes of consumers who shop on
the Internet and those who do not toward marketing with social
media.
H4: There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers who click
on online advertisements and those who do not toward marketing
with social media.

Experience with social media tools. Cha (2009, 80) indicated that the
more familiar people are with a medium, because of their frequent use of
it, the more favorably they feel toward that medium. According to Zajonc
(1968, 1), mere repeated exposure of the individual to a stimulus is a sufficient condition for the enhancement of his attitude toward it. Monroe
(1976, 43) mentioned that the greater the amount of experience a buyer
has with a particular brand, the more information he possesses about the
brand. Aldridge, Forcht, and Pierson (1997) claimed that when familiarity
increases the comfort level of users, they spend more time on the Internet
than others do and tend to shop online more. Hoffman, Novak, and Peralta
(1999, 84) found that the more experience one acquires online, the less
important are the functional barriers to online shopping. Therefore,
H5: Consumers who use the Internet frequently have more positive
attitudes toward marketing with social media than consumers who
use it rarely.
H6: When consumers frequency of YouTube use increases, their
attitudes toward marketing with social media become more
positive.
H7: When consumers frequency of Facebook use increases, their
attitudes toward marketing with social media become more
positive.

Information transfer on social media. When being extremely positive


and satisfied or extremely negative, customers are more likely to provide
information than the ones with more moderate experiences (Jansen et al.
2009). Therefore,
H8: The attitudes of consumers who think that the effect of social media
on information transfer is positive toward marketing with social
media are more positive than those who do not think so.

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

51

Social media usage and social media knowledge. A recent study of


social media usage conducted by market research firm Chadwick Martin
Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies revealed that consumers
engaged through social media such as Facebook and Twitter are over 50%
more likely to buy and recommend than before they were engaged
(Chadwick Martin Bailey 2010). Rozental, George, and Chacko (2010) compared social network users and non-users in their study and found that social
networking use is closely related with younger age, higher level of education,
and computer ownership. Lewis (2010) found in his research that education
affects students understanding of and attitudes toward social media. Because
college students in advertising and public relations fields understand how
social media adapts to the industry in which they are being educated, they
view social media more positively than others. Lewis also found that there is
a significant relationship between use of social media as a primary news
source and positive attitude toward social media as a strategic communication
tool. He suggested that the students who take a class on social media will have
a positive perception of social media. Therefore,
H9: There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers who use
a social media application and consumers who do not toward
marketing with social media.
H10: Consumers uses of social media affect their attitudes toward
marketing with social media.
H11: Consumers knowledge of social media affects their attitudes
toward marketing with social media.

Internet and social media effect. Consumers have begun to use the
Internet for actual purchases and pre-shopping information. They also benefit from the Internet by reading about products (Blackshaw and Nazzaro
2006). Today, people increasingly search for products and services online
before making a purchase. Social media marketing utilizes a pull strategy,
which enables customers to reach products, services, and brands related to
their own experiences (Akar 2010b, 37). In order to make different decisions,
customers use the Internet in different ways. For instance, consumers need to
search for the thoughts of other people by using social media and
product-rating sites, especially when making decisions that involve choices
that have a lot of personal impact, like healthcare options or major electronics purchases. However, they tend to use company-controlled sources
when making transactional decisions on commoditized items, such as utilities
or airline tickets (McRoberts and Terhanian 2008). Every purchasing decision
is always affected by social influence. When making decisions about purchasing, people ask for advice from others. Consumers are making
more and more purchasing decisions online every day. Social media helps

E. Akar and B. Topc u

52

consumers buy online, communicate with each other, socialize, and influence each other online (Singh 2010, 15). Therefore,
H12: The Internet and social media affect consumers attitudes toward
marketing with social media.
H13: Consumers following=monitoring of social media affects their attitudes toward marketing with social media.

Foresight about social media. The attitudes of users toward Facebook


may change in the future. This is because of the changes in the features of
the site or in the types of members, among other reasons (Lampe, Ellison,
and Steinfield 2008). For example, in the future, the users may come to think
that Facebook has become old fashioned. In this context, it might be that
social media sites will lose their significance in the future. Therefore,
H14: Consumers foresight about social media affects their attitudes
toward marketing with social media.

Fear about marketing with social media. Many people are likely to
avoid or even fear things they do not understand (Safko and Brake 2009,
11). Trust is important in online purchasing, and consumers lack of trust
creates a main barrier to the adoption of e-commerce (Cheung et al. 2009).
Heijden, Verhagen, and Creemers (2003, 41) found in their study that
perceived risk directly influenced the attitude towards purchasing online.
Heijden and colleagues continued by noting that perceived risk negatively
influence[s] an unfavourable attitude towards online purchasing, but
[does] not positively influence a favourable attitude towards online
purchasing (p. 46).
By using social media sites, users can share information, communicate
with each other, network, and interact. However, due to the easy transfer
of information among different social media sites, the information that should
be kept private becomes public and causes serious security risks for users
(Rose 2010). Therefore,
H15: Consumers fears of social media marketing affect their attitudes
toward marketing with social media.

Measures.
H1: The attitudes of males and females toward marketing with social
media are different from each other.

There is no difference between the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social media in terms of gender. This is shown in table 3. H1 is
rejected.

53

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

TABLE 3 t-Test Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers Toward Marketing with Social
Media in Terms of Their Gender

Attitude toward marketing with


social media

Gender

Average

Std. dev.

t=f

Male
Female

234
166

3.3748
3.4217

0.80434
0.74883

1.569

.555

H2: There is a difference in the attitudes of consumers toward marketing


with social media in terms of their family income.

There is a difference in the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with


social media in terms of their family income, and it is shown in table 4. H2
is accepted. A difference between families with an income of less than
1.000 TL and families with an income of more than 2.000 TL is observed.
When consumers families levels of income rise, the attitudes of consumers
toward marketing with social media change positively.
H3: There is a difference in the attitudes of consumers who shop on the
Internet and those who do not toward marketing with social media.

There is no difference between the attitudes of consumers who shop on the


Internet and those who do not toward marketing with social media. This is
shown in table 5. H3 is rejected.
H4: There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers who click
on online advertisements and those who do not toward marketing
with social media.

There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers who click on online


advertisements and those who do not toward marketing with social media
This is shown in table 6. H4 is accepted. The attitudes toward marketing with
social media of consumers who click on at least one advertisement are more
positive than the attitudes of consumers who never do.
H5: Consumers who use the Internet frequently have more positive
attitudes toward marketing with social media than consumers who
use it rarely.

TABLE 4 One-Way Variance Analysis about the Attitudes of Consumers Toward Marketing
with Social Media in Terms of Their Family Income

Attitude toward marketing


with social media

Family income
of consumers

Average

Std.
dev.

01.000
1.0012.000
2.001

145
206
49

3.2869
3.4180
3.6122

0.78954
0.74035
0.88073

t=f

3.413

.034

E. Akar and B. Topc u

54

TABLE 5 t-Test Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers Who Shop on the Internet and
Those Who Do Not Toward Marketing with Social Media
Shopping on the Internet
Attitude toward
marketing with
social media

Yes
No

Average

Std. dev.

t=f

97
303

3.5072
3.3581

0.85064
0.75550

1.349

.102

There is a difference in the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with


social media in terms of frequency of Internet use. This is shown in table 7.
H5 is accepted. The difference between those who use the Internet once or
twice a day and those who use it five times or more per day is observed.
When the frequency of Internet use increases, the attitudes of consumers
toward marketing with social media change positively.
H6: When consumers frequency of YouTube use increases, their attitudes toward marketing with social media become more positive.

There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers toward marketing


with social media and their frequency of YouTube use. It can be seen in
table 8. H6 is accepted. It is observed that there is a difference between those
who never use YouTube and the those who use it once a week, four or five
times a week, and six times or more. When the frequency of YouTube use
increases, the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social media
increases in a positive way.
H7: When consumers frequency of Facebook use increases, their
attitudes toward marketing with social media become more
positive.

There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers toward marketing


with social media and their frequency of Facebook use. It can be seen in
table 9. H7 is accepted. It is observed that there is a difference between consumers who never use Facebook and those who use it once a week, four or
five times a week, and six times or more. When consumers frequency of
Facebook use increases, their attitudes toward marketing with social media

TABLE 6 t-Test Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers Who Click on Online Advertisements and Those Who Do Not Toward Marketing with Social Media

Attitude toward
marketing with
social media

Clicking on online ads

Average

Std. dev.

t=f

At least one ad
Never

302
98

3.4887
3.1031

0.76732
0.75470

0.011

.000

55

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

TABLE 7 One-Way Variance Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers Toward Marketing
with Social Media in Terms of Frequency of Internet Use

Attitude toward
marketing with
social media

Frequency of Internet use

Average

Std. dev.

t=f

Once or twice a day


Three or four times a day
Five or more times a day

266
55
79

3.3015
3.4400
3.6747

0.77746
0.74451
0.75744

7.282

.001

increase positively. But participants who use Facebook six or more times
have more negative attitudes toward marketing with social media compared
to those who use it four or five times a week.
H8: The attitudes of consumers who think that the effect of social media
on information transfer is positive toward marketing with social
media are more positive than those who do not think so.

There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers toward marketing


with social media and the way they evaluate the effect of social media on
information transfer. It is shown in table 10. H8 is accepted. There are differences among each of the groups that think that the effect of social media on
information transfer is positive, negative, and mixed. Compared to the ones
that think the effect of social media on information transfer is negative or
mixed, those that think it is positive have more positive attitudes toward
marketing with social media.
H9: There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers who use a
social media application and consumers who do not toward marketing with social media.

There is a difference between the attitudes of consumers toward marketing


with social media and their use of any of the social media applications. This
is shown in table 11. H9 is accepted. The attitudes of consumers who use at

TABLE 8 One-Way Variance Analysis Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers toward
Marketing with Social Media in Terms of the Frequency of YouTube Use

Attitude toward
marketing with
social media

Frequency of YouTube use

Average

Std. dev.

t=f

Never
Once a week
Two or three times a week
Four or five times a week
Six or more times a week

57
99
118
39
87

3.1649
3.2091
3.3797
3.6590
3.6563

0.73836
0.79090
0.77123
0.59636
0.78809

6.643

.000

E. Akar and B. Topc u

56

TABLE 9 One-Way Variance Analysis Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers Toward
Marketing with Social Media in Terms of the Frequency of Facebook Use

Attitude toward
marketing with
social media

Frequency of Facebook use

Average

Std. dev.

t=f

Never
Once a week
Two or three times a week
Four or five times a week
6 or more times a week

68
64
102
55
111

3.1426
3.2047
3.3657
3.5927
3.5856

0.76963
0.85160
0.75708
0.53154
0.80925

4.429

.005

least one of the social media applications toward marketing with social
media are more positive than those who never do.
H10: Consumers uses of social media affect their attitudes toward
marketing with social media.
H11: Consumers knowledge of social media affects their attitudes
toward marketing with social media.
H12: The Internet and social media affect consumers attitudes toward
marketing with social media.
H13: Consumers following=monitoring of social media affects their attitudes toward marketing with social media.
H14: Consumers foresight about social media affects their attitudes
toward marketing with social media.
H15: Consumers fears of social media marketing affect their attitudes
toward marketing with social media.

TABLE 10 One-Way Variance Analysis Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers Toward
Marketing with Social Media in Terms of the Way They Evaluate the Effect of Social Media
on Information Transfer
The effect of social media
on information transfer
Attitude toward
marketing with
social media

Positive
Both positive and negative
(mixed)
Negative

Average

Std.
dev.

134
225

3.7007
3.2902

0.72625
0.75119

41

2.9634

0.77934

t=f

20.343

.000

TABLE 11 t-Test Statistics about the Attitudes of Consumers Who Use at Least One of the
Social Media Applications and Consumers Who Do Not Toward Marketing with Social Media
Using any of the
social
media applications
Attitude toward marketing with
social media

The ones who use


The ones who do
not use

Average

361
39

3.4496
2.8821

Std.
dev.

t=f

0.77779 1.830 .000


0.61468

57

Stable
Factor
Stable
Factor
Stable
Factor
Stable
Factor
Stable
Factor
Stable
Factor
Stable
Factor
Factor
Factor
Factor

3
2
7
4

2.126
0.342
.974
0.689
2.199
0.381
2.656
0.288
3.385
0.003
4.242
0.305
0.582
0.427
0.261
0.161
0.212

Note. VIF variance inflation factor.

Model
0.138
0.036
0.159
0.044
0.121
0.037
0.109
0.040
0.122
0.040
0.111
0.038
0.426
0.108
0.076
0.059
0.082

Standard error

Coefficients not standardized

TABLE 12 Regression Analysis

0.340
0.293
0.195
0.206

0.374

0.004

0.339

0.458

0.613

0.432

Coefficients
standardized
b
15.457
9.544
6.108
15.475
18.118
10.280
24.356
7.185
27.709
.084
38.104
8.057
1.367
3.955
3.451
2.708
2.595

T
.000
.000
.000
.000
.000
.000
.000
.000
.000
.933
.000
.000
.175
.000
.001
.008
.011

0.656
0.673
0.937
0.769

1.000

1.000

1.000

1.000

1.000

1.000

Tolerance

1.524
1.487
1.068
1.300

1.000

1.000

1.000

1.000

1.000

1.000

VIF

Linearity statistics

0.744

0.374

0.004

0.339

0.458

0.613

0.432

0.554

0.140

0.000

0.115

0.210

0.376

0.186

R2

0.535

0.138

0.002

0.113

0.208

0.374

0.184

1.805

1.758

1.730

1.781

1.821

1.816

1.840

Durbin-Watson

58

E. Akar and B. Topc u

Within the scope of the research examined, a regression analysis has been
carried out in order to determine the factors that affect the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social media. A univariate regression analysis
has been carried out by identifying the attitudes of consumers toward
marketing with social media as the dependant variable and use of social
media, social media knowledge, being affected from Internet and social
media, following=monitoring social media, foresight about marketing
with social media, and fears about marketing with social media as
independent variables. The results are shown in table 12.
It is understood that the independent variables use of social media,
social media knowledge, being affected from Internet and social media,
following=monitoring social media, and fears about marketing with social
media are important factors for explaining the dependent variable attitudes
of consumers toward marketing with social media in terms of Model 1,
Model 2, Model 3, Model 4, and Model 6. It is determined that there is a
meaningful relationship between the dependent variable and the independent ones (p .000). H10, H11, H12, H13, and H15 are accepted. No
meaningful relationship can be found between the foresight of consumers
about marketing with social media and their attitudes toward marketing with
social media (p .933). H14 is rejected.
By removing the independent variable foresight about social media,
the variables clicking on advertisements, frequency of Internet use,
and number of times shopping on Internet were added to the other independent variables in Model 7, and a multi-regression analysis was carried out
with the stepwise regression method. It was found that consumers knowledge of social media, use of social media, fears about marketing with
social media, and being affected by Internet and social media have statistically meaningful effects on attitudes toward marketing with social media.
In Model 7, 53.5 percent of the change in the attitudes of consumers toward
marketing with social media was explained. The variables social media
knowledge, use of social media, and being affected by Internet and
social media affected attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social
media positively, whereas the variable fear about marketing with social
media affected it negatively.

CONCLUSION
Development of the main technologies underlying the social media revolution continues. Social media can be established anywhere with an Internet
connection, and it should be considered by marketers, advertisers, and content creators as a basic part of their communications because social media
affects all aspects of the Internet and transforms the role of Internet in
peoples lives (Universal McCann 2008).

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

59

Today, consumers gain a new role with social media. Consumers are
becoming content creators and, thus, functional consumers=marketers
instead of just consuming, as in the past. Social media applications and=or
tools that facilitate this are blogs, microblogging applications (such as Twitter), social networking sites (such as Facebook), podcasts, and video and
photo sharing sites (such as YouTube and Flickr). Given this reality, it is
useful for companies, especially marketers, to integrate social media into
marketing and their marketing strategies.
This study attempted to specify the factors that affect the attitudes of
consumers toward marketing with social media. A consumer-based scale
has been developed for this purpose. This study has contributed to the field
with this component because, in the literature review performed, no scale
that presents the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social
media was found. The research sample includes undergraduate students
between the ages of 18 and 24the age group that uses social media
the most, as gleaned from the literature review performed. It would be
beneficial for the samples of further studies to include people between
the ages of 25 and 34 (according to RapLeaf [2008], this age group, compared to the others, has the highest number of LinkedIn users [51%] and
Flickr users [38.1%]) and those between the ages of 35 and 54 (the growth
in this age group is 276.4% in terms of Corbetts [2009] demographics of
Facebook users).
In the research carried out, it was found that the gender of the consumers is not effective in determining attitudes toward marketing with social
media. The finding of this study (p .555) does not support the existing
literature, which states that the attitudes of women toward social media
and toward shopping for virtual items on social networking are more favorable than mens (Cha 2009; Lewis 2010). On the contrary, Cha found in his
study that a statistical significance was not detected between women and attitude toward shopping for real items on social networking. Also, Lewis found
in his study that the impact of gender on attitude toward social media is relatively weak. Social networking sites highlight social interaction. In this context, it can be reasoned that the attitudes of women toward marketing
activities on social media sites will be more favorable in the future compared
to those of men. As Levit (2010) stated, women ascribe importance to relationships when shopping online.
However, there is a meaningful relationship between the family income
of consumers and their attitudes toward marketing with social media. When
the level of income increases, the attitude toward marketing with social
media positively increases as well. Therefore, it would be beneficial for marketers to improve marketing strategies for the group of people who have an
income of 2.001 TL or more. Also, it was concluded that shopping on the
Internet does not have an effect on the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social media. Our finding (p .102) does not support the existing

60

E. Akar and B. Topc u

literature (Cho and Cheon 2004; Ling et al. 2010). This is because of the past
negative online shopping experiences of consumers responding to this
survey or because of consumers not liking the use of social media sites for
the purpose of purchasing products. However using a social media application and clicking on at least one online advertisement does have an effect
on the attitudes of consumers toward marketing with social media. In this
context, it can be said that it is important for marketers to advertise without
being repulsive in social media environments.
It was found that a very high percentage of consumers (87%) frequently use both YouTube and social networking sites, such as Facebook,
and this use affects their attitudes toward marketing with social media.
Therefore, it would be useful for marketers to develop promotion strategies
and to more effectively use social media to create consumer communities.
However, one of the important results of the study is that consumers use of
social media, their knowledge of social media, their following of social
media, and their fears about marketing with social media all affect their attitudes toward marketing with social media. There are meaningful relationships between these elements, but consumers foresight about marketing
with social media does not affect them, and there is no meaningful relationship between them.
If consumers following=monitoring of social media significantly affecting their attitude toward social media marketing is taken into account, it will
be important for marketers to prepare applications and content that both
help consumers continuously follow social media and help audiences
become participants. Hence, content and applications that are entertaining,
educative, informative, and encouraging of discussions can be created. For
instance, company and brand fan pages can be opened as Facebook
accounts. Special coupons for products or services can be offered on these
pages; entertaining contests can be prepared for customers, and invitations
for events can be sent to these customers. Also, by participating in online customer communities having too many members, it is possible to share educative and informative contents that enable promotion of the product. Members
may be allowed to review, comment on, and rate the products, services, and
brands.
In conclusion, social media as a rising trend creates a marketplace that
attracts a wide range of users. The ways in which marketers can effectively
use this kind of a marketplace should be researched. However, it should
be kept in mind that social media users do not consider activities with marketing purposes in social media applications as positive. In this context, it is
more appropriate for companies and marketers to shape their marketing
activities in social media environments than for viewers and=or participants
to do so. Furthermore, it would be useful to support this study with other studies that examine views on marketing with social media taking into account
companies in Turkey.

Attitudes Toward Social Media Marketing

61

NOTES
1. Mashups define the new generation of Web-based applications that combine at least two different
services (Akar 2009, 51).
2. Dundar and Yoruks (2009) methodology was followed in this empirical study.

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