Encouraging adoption and usage of eWOM: the factors contributing to employee brand advocacy.
Keenan Gaylard, Aisling
Torres, Ann M.
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Social Media platforms offer businesses new ways to strength customer relationships, create brand awareness and develop loyal customers. Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) initiatives such as visually enriched content makes marketing messages from employees more entertaining and appealing for customers. Employee’s within the Irelands Food and Drink Industry enjoys enthusiastic social media skills and expertise, it makes sense for them to inspire and act as brand advocates. This study is driven by three primary research gaps in the existing literature on the social media use by employees within SMEs in the food and drinks industry in Ireland. Firstly, do employees in SMEs in the food and drinks sector promote their business through electronic word of Mouth (eWOM) initiatives? Secondly, do employers in SMEs in the food and drinks sector motivate and encourage employee brand advocacy? Finally, does eWOM initiatives drive employee brand advocacy? While social media seems to gain popularity as a marketing channel amongst business in the food and drinks industry in Ireland, many scholars noted a significant gap between research and practice. This paper includes the four explanatory variables, employee motivation, employer motivation, eWOM Adoption & Usage and Employee Brand Advocacy. Data from usable questionnaires was collected from SMEs in Ireland. A total of 70 companies were contact; 40 companies completed the survey, resulting in a response rate of 43%. Out of the 40 companies, 38 companies used social media, and two did not use social media. The main findings confirms that employer motivations does lead to eWOM Adoption & Usage. In addition, the findings indicate eWOM initiatives drives employee brand advocacy. However, employees themselves are not motivated to use eWOM for their businesses.
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