BACKGROUND : Marketers are interested in taking advantage of the capabilities of social mediabased
brand communities to develop long-term relationships with their customers. This
research investigated the usage of a South African Facebook page to understand user attitudes
and attendant pressures on users related to social norms and user loyalty.
OBJECTIVES : The research investigated the extent to which perceived value, service quality and
social factors influenced the customer’s intention to continue using a global motor vehicle
firm’s social media-based online brand community (OBC).
METHOD : We used an online voluntary survey to collect data from social media-based brand
community members. In total, 303 responses were collected over a period of 4 weeks from a
population of 3100 members. We analysed the relationship between trust, perceived
responsiveness, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, social norms and the members’
intention to continue using the firm’s OBC. 293 usable observations were subjected to
descriptive, correlation and regression analysis.
RESULTS : The age of the respondents varied from 18 to 58 years with a mean age of 32 years. Of
these, 60% were men and 40% women. About 86.7% of the respondents reported having at
least some form of tertiary education. The results of the multiple regression analysis indicate
that service quality factors such as trust (25.5%) and social influence factors such as social
norms (12.5%) explain a greater part of the variance in OBC continuance intention compared
with utility factors such as perceived usefulness (18.2%). The effects for responsiveness and
ease of use were not statistically significant.
CONCLUSION : Social media-based brand communities are playing an important role in
enhancing the overall trust relationship, value offering, sociality, knowledge and information
sharing between customers and firms. Practitioners should note that the loyalty of customers
using a firm’s social media-based brand community is still associated with customers’ historical trust in the branded goods or services, and real-world relationships with the firm
and brand community members.
R.N. was the study leader and L.M.P. was the Masters
student. Both authors made equal contributions in terms of
the writing and analysis of this article.