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CAN QUALITY DRIVE ENGAGEMENT?

An exploratory study on consumer expectations about the quality of social media platforms by MAYA PETROVA

Dissertation Supervisor: Kathryn Waite Word Count: 14,500 Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of MA (Hons) in MANAGEMENT WITH MARKETING at School of Management and Languages Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh

MARCH 2013

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Abstract
This dissertation presents preliminary findings of an exploratory study into consumer expectations about the quality of social media websites. The study also aims to explain the relationships between these expectations and the levels of engagement intensity on social networking sites. To meet these aims, the study investigates the Facebook fan pages of fast-food brands and students' expectations of their quality and engagement activities. An examination of literature on websites service quality ascertained that the majority of measurement scales fail to recognise the importance of evaluating quality from users expectations. In addition, despite the vital role of social media for driving consumer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, the search of its quality dimensions has been of little interest to both practitioners and academics. This study seeks to discover whether the evaluative criteria of websites can be adapted to measure the quality of social media platforms from consumers perspective. Through an exploratory analysis it identifies only three factors that resemble the measures of electronic service quality - shopping support, emotional engagement and product order. The results ascertain that three new factors now emerge to reflect the interactive nature of social media product engagement, brand engagement and social connection and community building. To better understand the nature of these new quality dimensions, the study applies the findings to the intensity of consumer brand engagement on social networking sites. The explanatory analysis suggests a positive relationship between social media service quality and engagement behaviours. The study builds on existing literature on consumer engagement in online communities to explain social media behaviours and provide foundations for future research.

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Acknowledgements
Firstly, I would like to express my greatest gratitude to my dissertation supervisor, Kathryn Waite for providing me with exceptional academic and personal support throughout the completion process of this dissertation. Her invaluable guidance and advice led me to both personal and professional development. I would like to also thank Gillian Grant, my career mentor who helped me research my topic of interest and design my data collection method. I would like to give me special mentions to my two best friends Vera Shkatova and Veselina Yordanova. Vera was my inspiration in moments of low motivation and her great care ensured my dissertation proof reading. Veselina gave me the courage and personal confidence to complete this journey successfully. Lastly, I would like to thank my family for giving me the opportunity to experience the supportive and high quality learning environment of Heriot-Watt University.

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Personal Statement
I confirm that this dissertation is my own work and the content is expressed in my own words. I have also acknowledged and referenced the ideas and work of other authors.

The writing process has been undertaken in accordance with the SML Undergraduate Dissertation Courses Regulations and Procedures.

The research process also gained ethical approval from Heriot-Watt University. An on-line Research Ethics Approval Form was submitted to the Chair of the Schools Ethics Committee.

SIGNATURE........................................... DATE ...........................................

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Table of Contents
Cover Page .........................................................................................................................................1 Abstract ..............................................................................................................................................2 Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................................3 Personal Statement............................................................................................................................4 Table of Contents ..............................................................................................................................5 List of Figures ....................................................................................................................................8 List of Tables .....................................................................................................................................9 Chapter One: Introduction ............................................................................................................10 1.2 Study Context ........................................................................................................................11 1.3 Need for Research .................................................................................................................12 1.4 Scope and Purpose of Research ............................................................................................12 1.5 Dissertation Structure ............................................................................................................13 1.6 Conclusion.............................................................................................................................13 Chapter Two: Literature Review...................................................................................................14 2.1 Introduction to Literature Review ..........................................................................................14 2.2 Service Quality .......................................................................................................................15 2.3 The Internet and Service Quality ...........................................................................................16 2.4 Electronic Service Quality .....................................................................................................16 2.5Measuring e-SQ ......................................................................................................................18 2.5.1 Initial Models .............................................................................................................18 2.5.2 WebQual.....................................................................................................................19 2.5.3 e-TailQ .......................................................................................................................19 2.5.4 E-S-QUAL .................................................................................................................19 2.5.5 eTransQual .................................................................................................................20 2.5.6 PeSQ...........................................................................................................................21 2.5.7 e-SELFQUAL ............................................................................................................22 2.6 Social Media Service Quality ................................................................................................24 2.6.1 The Different Nature of Social Media ........................................................................24 2.6.2 Social Networking Sites .............................................................................................25 2.7 Consumer Brand Engagement ...............................................................................................26

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2.7.1 Social Identity and Engagement ..................................................................................27 2.7.2 The Ladder of Engagement .........................................................................................28 2.7.3 Co-creating with Brands..............................................................................................29 2.8 Measuring e-SMQUAL .........................................................................................................30 2.9 Summary of Literature Review .............................................................................................33 Chapter Three: Methodology .........................................................................................................34 3.1 Introduction to Methodology .................................................................................................34 3.2 Nature of Study ......................................................................................................................35 3.3 Secondary Research ...............................................................................................................35 3.4 Primary Research ...................................................................................................................36 3.4.1 Research Approach .....................................................................................................37 3.4.2 Data Collection Instrument ........................................................................................37 3.4.3 Instrument Design .......................................................................................................38 3.5.2 Pilot Testing ................................................................................................................41 3.5.3 Sampling Strategy .......................................................................................................42 3.5.4 Data Collection ............................................................................................................42 3.6 Data Analysis .........................................................................................................................43 3.7 Ethical Considerations............................................................................................................44 3.8 Summary of Methodology .....................................................................................................44 Chapter Four: Findings ..................................................................................................................45 4.1 Introduction to Findings .........................................................................................................45 4.2 Sample Composition ..............................................................................................................46 4.2.1 Demographic characteristics ........................................................................................46 4.3 Facebook Behaviours .............................................................................................................47 4.3.1 Patterns of Use ............................................................................................................47 4.3.2 Facebook usage and Demographic characteristics ......................................................48 4.4 Expectations of Facebook ......................................................................................................53 4.5 Expectations and Facebook Behaviours .................................................................................56 4.6 Fast-food brands of excellent e-SMQUAL ..........................................................................57 4.6.1 Most Popular Fast-food Brand ....................................................................................57 4.6.2 Examples of excellent social media presence .............................................................58 4.6.3 e-SMQUAL and satisfaction ......................................................................................59 4.7 Expectations from Brand Engagement ...................................................................................59

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4.8 Summary of Findings .............................................................................................................61 Chapter Five: Conclusions and Implications ................................................................................63 5.1 Introduction to Conclusions ...................................................................................................63 5.2 Discussion of Findings ...........................................................................................................63 5.2.1 Facebook Behaviours ...................................................................................................65 5.2.2 E-SERVQUAL and e-SMQUAL .................................................................................66 5.2.3 E-SMQUAL and Consumer Brand Engagement .........................................................67 5.2.4 Fast-food Brands and Satisfaction................................................................................68 5.2.5 Following Fast-food brands and Expectations .............................................................69 5.3 Implications for Business and Research..................................................................................70 5.4 Limitations of Study ................................................................................................................71 5.5 Areas of Further Research .......................................................................................................72 5.6 Conclusion of Study .................................................................................................................73 References ........................................................................................................................................74 Appendix 1 Questionnaire Structure ................................................................................................82

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List of Figures
Figure 1.1 Overview of Introduction ................................................................................................10 Figure 1.2 Structure of Dissertation .................................................................................................13 Figure 2.1 Literature Review............................................................................................................14 Figure 2.2 SERVQUAL Model ........................................................................................................15 Figure 2.3 e-SQ Composition ...........................................................................................................16 Figure 2.4 e-TransQual Model .........................................................................................................21 Figure 2.5 Consumer Brand Engagement ........................................................................................27 Figure 2.6 Ladder of Engagement ....................................................................................................28 Figure 3.1 Methodology Structure ...................................................................................................34 Figure 3.2 Top Reasons to follow brands on Facebook ...................................................................40 Figure 3.3 Pilot Testing Process .......................................................................................................41 Figure 4.1 Structure of Analysis.......................................................................................................45 Figure 4.2 Best Social Media Presence ............................................................................................58 Figure 4.3 Reasons to follow a brand ...............................................................................................60 Figure 4.4 Expectations from Brand Engagement ...........................................................................60 Figure 5.1 Overview of Conclusions ................................................................................................63 Figure 5.2 E-SERVQUAL and e-SMQUAL ....................................................................................66 Figure 5.3 e-SMQUAL and the Social Media ..................................................................................67 Figure 5.4 The Intensity of Engagement on SNSs ...........................................................................68

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List of Tables
Table 1.1 Social Media Platforms ....................................................................................................11 Table 2.2 Theoretical views on e-SQ ...............................................................................................17 Table 2.2 e-SQ Measures..................................................................................................................23 Table 2.3 Adapting e-SQ to Social Media .......................................................................................31 Table 2.4 Research Aims and Questions ..........................................................................................32 Table 3.1 Research Questions ..........................................................................................................36 Table 3.2 Questionnaire Structure ....................................................................................................39 Table 4.1 Demographic Characteristics............................................................................................46 Table 4.2 Patterns of Social Media Usage ........................................................................................47 Table 4.3 Analysis of Facebook Usage ............................................................................................49 Table 4.5 Gender and Facebook ......................................................................................................50 Table 4.6 Year of study and Facebook .............................................................................................51 Table 4.7 Age and Facebook ............................................................................................................51 Table 4.8 Summary of Demographics and Facebook Use ...............................................................52 Table 4.9 Factor Analysis ................................................................................................................55 Table 4.10 e-SMQUAL and Facebook Behaviours ..........................................................................56 Table 4.11 Final Findings .................................................................................................................62 Table 5.1 Research Questions and Findings .......................................................................................6

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction
This study aims to explore consumer expectations about the quality of social media websites. The research process examines this phenomenon by adapting the evaluative criteria for electronic service quality and introducing new insights to reflect the interactive nature of social media. The study also captures information on current social media behaviours and levels of engagement with brands online. This approach allows the study to explore relationships between expectations, customer brand engagement and various socio-demographic characteristics. The industry context that has facilitated the research process is outlined in this chapter, along with the need for research and the purpose of this study. Figure 1.1 outlines the structure of the subsequent discussion. Figure 1.1 Overview of Introduction Study Context

Need for Research

Scope and Purpose of Research

Dissertation Structure

Conclusion

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1.2 Study Context


Social media is conceptualised as the technological component of the communication, transaction and relationship building functions of a business which leverages the network of customers and prospects to promote value co-creation (Andzulis, et al., 2012). Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) distinguish the various types of social media platforms as follows:
Table 1.1 Social Media Platforms Social Media platforms
Blogs and cooperative projects Content communities Virtual social worlds Social networking sites (SNSs)

Examples
Wikipedia Youtube Second Life Facebook, Twitter, MySpace

Among these platforms, SNSs drove the digital media revolution, becoming the most popular online activity (Vogt and Knapman, 2008; Nielsen Online, 2009). These platforms have enabled brands to start a two-way dialogue with consumers who are now more empowered to influence business decisions and marketing communications strategies. In addition, industry reports propound that customers prefer social media platforms to companies official websites when looking for information on brands or products (Dei Worldwide, 2008).

In the UK 52% of all adults use SNSs while the age group of 18-29 years old represents 94% of the users (Pew Research Center, 2012). Facebook has been the dominant SNS claiming to have more than one billion monthly active users (Orlanoff, 2013). Thus brands have embraced this medium as an effective tool of communication and engagement with customers through their own social media presence of Facebook fan pages. In addition, food companies, especially fast-food brands have created some of the most interactive fan pages to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market. In Britain, the fast-food industry has benefited from consumers price sensitivity, accounting for 5.54 billion of the 11 billion meals eaten outside home (NDP, 2011 cited in Wallop, 2012).

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Mintels (2012a) research also indicates that students in full-time education and adults aged 16-24 years old are the heaviest consumers of fast-food on a weekly basis (69%), compared to 51% amongst adults overall. Therefore, with this age group being highly active on social media, it is likely that fast-food brands will aim to design their social media websites to target these demographics.

1.3 Need for Research


Whilst a considerable amount of studies have examined the electronic service quality (e-SQ) of websites and the criteria customers apply in evaluating their shopping experience online, scant research has focused on the service quality dimensions of social media websites. In addition, there is lack of literature regarding the relationships between electronic social media service quality and the intensity of customer brand engagement online. Both service quality constructs have also failed to thoroughly analyse customer expectations prior to the online interaction with the brand. Therefore, with the positive influence of social media on customer loyalty, conversion rates and advertising, exploring consumers expectations about the quality of SNSs should be prioritised on marketers agenda. This lack of research may be because of the difficulty in measuring quality, especially with the constantly-evolving Internet technologies and the interactive and complex nature of social media.

1.4 Scope and Purpose of Research


This exploratory paper aims to generate insight into customer expectations about the quality of social media websites. The research focuses on adapting e-SQ measures, along with additional concepts from the literature that reflect the interactive nature of SNSs. The scope of investigation encompasses the student population within the context of their engagement with fast-food brands on Facebook. In addition, the concept of customer brand engagement is analysed in line with social media quality and individuals expectations from their interactions with brands online. Therefore, this dissertation aims to capture patterns of social media behaviours and explore the quality dimensions of SNSs to identify their relationship with engagement and consumer expectations.

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1.5 Structure of Dissertation


This study commences with background information on the research area in the form of a literature review. It then analyses the key issues encountered and discusses the chosen research strategy to address the research aims. The data-collection method is also explained, along with the analysis selected to answer the research questions. The findings are then analysed according to the purpose of this study. Finally, the results are assessed for their implications and limitations. The study concludes by outlining areas for future research. Figure 1.2 represents this process. Figure 1.2 Structure of Dissertation Literature Review Research Aims & Questions

Research Gaps Research Methodology

Data Analysis

Future Research Conclusion Implications

1.6 Conclusion
This chapter has introduced the focus of this dissertation. It has represented the

research context which is the quality of social media websites dedicated to fast-food brands. It has also justified the choice of research topic and has defined the scope and purpose of the research. The research concentrates on consumer expectations about the quality of SNSs represented by Facebook fan pages of fast-food brands and the relationships between these expectations and the intensity levels of engagement with brands online. The chapter has finished with an overview of the dissertation structure.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW


2.1 Introduction
This chapter presents a critical literature review that forms the foundation for the research in this study. The aim of the review is to discuss key concepts and methodologies that can contribute knowledge of consumer expectations about the quality of the virtual marketplace. The chapter concludes by highlighting the main research gaps that frame this studys aims and questions. Figure 2.1 presents a detailed overview of the structure. Figure 2.1 Literature Review Service Quality

The Internet and Service Quality

Electronic Service Quality Initial Models Measuring eservice quality WebQual e-TransQual Social Media Service Quality E-TailQ + PeS Q + E-S-Qual e-SELFQUAL

+ +

Nature of Social Media

Social Networking Sites

Customer Brand Engagement

Social Identity and Engagement Co-creating with brands

Ladder of Engagement

Measuring eSocial Media Quality Research Aims and Questions 14

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2.2 Service Quality

Service quality has been a widely debated topic in the services literature, forming a focal interest to researchers and practitioners (Gronroos, 1982; Carman, 1990, Parasuraman, et. al., 1991; Bolton and Drew, 1991; Babakus and Boller, 1992). It is considered that the delivery of quality service positively influences customer purchasing decisions and hence is applied by companies to differentiate themselves and create competitive advantage (Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Fitzsimmon, 1994; Donthu and Yoo, 1998). Consequently, the need to measure its quality dimensions resulted in the development of the SERVQUAL model which measures quality as a function of differences between consumer expectations about quality and their perceptions of the purchasing experience (Parasuraman, et al., 1988). However, the model has been criticised for problems with reliability, discriminant validity and variance restriction (Wang, et. al., 2004). Figure 2.2 portrays the model and its five dimensions of quality.

Figure 2.2 SERVQUAL Model Word-ofmouth Personal Needs Past Experience External Communications

Dimensions of Service Quality Tangibles Reliability Assurance Responsiveness Empathy

Expected Service Perceived Service Quality Perceived Service

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2.3 The Internet and Service Quality


The rapid proliferation of the Internet and online shopping in recent years has led companies wonder how consumers evaluate service quality online and whether the SERVQUAL model is valid on the web. Thus, the concept of electronic service quality (e-SQ) has been developed for e-commerce platforms, resulting in abundance of evaluative criteria to measure it (Zeithaml, et al., 2002; Kim and Lee, 2009). However, the majority of research has only focused on examining customer perceptions of the shopping experience. The importance of customer expectations has been neglected while it forms the basis for their perceptions about quality. Therefore with the new empowered consumers who now freely voice their desired service standards, there is a need to also understand their expectations about e-SQ before visiting the website (Udo, et al., 2010).

The ensuing discussion reviews the literature on e-SQ, focusing on the mainstream models that measure its quality and their limitations.

2.4 Electronic Service Quality (e-SQ) Santos (2003) determines e-SQ as the combination of customer perceptions, judgements and evaluations of the service provided in the online marketplace. Parasuraman, et al., (2005) link it to the degree to which e-commerce platforms facilitate effective and efficient shopping, purchasing and delivery. Figure 2.3 presents the e-SQ composition and corresponding quality elements (DeLone and McLean, 2003; Ding, et. al., 2009).

Figure 2.3 e-SQ Composition

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In addition, Ladhari (2010) substantiates that consumers evaluate e-SQ during both the pre-purchase phase of their decision-making and the post-purchase stage. Therefore, linking customer expectations prior to visiting the website to their perceptions of the shopping experience would most effectively capture the e-SQ dimensions. However, to develop valid quality measures the nature of Internet-based service environments must first be understood. Thus studies of e-SQ have applied theories from both the disciplines of marketing and information systems. Table 2.1 outlines these theories and their relation e-SQ. Table 2.1 Theoretical views on e-SQ.
Theory Expectancy-Value Theory Fishbein (1963) The Theory of Reasoned Action or Planned Behaviour Fishbein and Ajzen, (1975) Technology Acceptance Theory Davis (1989) Relevance to e-SQ Websites features influence cognitive and affective reactions, attitudes toward the brand and satisfaction (Parboteeah, et al., 2009). Attitudes toward a website depend on perceptions. Online shopping is supported by a referent group (such as friends or colleagues). Availability of knowledge and resources facilitates online shopping (Lee and Lin, 2005). Repeat visits to a website depend on perceptions. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Venkatesh, et al. (2003) The Internet will improve shopping and information seeking experience; Ease of use with clarity and navigation (Chen, 2002). Performance Expectancy - the website will help attain certain gains. Effort Expectancy - ease of use. Social Influence - important others use the website. Facilitating Conditions - technical infrastructure to support use (Song, and Zahedi, 2005). Intentions to use a website goes through 5 stages: 1. 2. 3. 4. Initial expectation prior to use. Acceptance and use of the website. Perception development after usage. Assessment of the original expectation and subsequent satisfaction or dissatisfaction. 5. Formation of continuance intention to use the website if satisfaction has resulted (Ifinedo, 2006; Limayem and Cheung, 2003). E-SQ has 3 dimensions. Information quality System quality. Service quality (Song,et al., 2012).

The Information Systems Continuance Model Bhattacherjee (2001)

IS Success Model DeLone and McLean, (1992)

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Therefore, it could be concluded that customers satisfaction with e-SQ depends upon the following principals:

Functionality, visibility and usefulness of the website. Expectations and perceptions about the shopping experience. Social influence. Prior knowledge of how to utilise technology and information systems.
2.5 Measuring e-SQ
The main body of literature on e-SQ remains under the SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman et. al, 1988). However, SERVQUAL was developed for physical environments with personal interactions between customers and service providers. Several difficulties exist regarding its conceptualisation and operationalisation within the virtual marketplace (Buttle, 1996; Ladhari, 2009). Hsu (2008) criticises the model for not considering dimensions of security and ease of navigation while Gefen (2002) postulates that the element of empathy renders less crucial online due to the lack of personal interaction. Therefore, the majority of studies on e-SQ examine it in terms of design and features that can induce satisfaction and repeat visits (Muylle et al., 1999; Rice, 1997; Szymanski and Hise, 2000).

2.5.1 Initial Models

According to Alpar (2001) websites need four attributes to achieve customer satisfaction: ease of use (navigation, customer service, quick response and interactive technologies); information (customised and quality content, accuracy and quantity of details); interactivity (notice boards, live-chats and emails) and entertainment (excitement and amusement). Liu and Arnett (2000) also propound that a successful website must offer information and service quality, playfulness, system usability and design. Built on their work, Szymanski and Hise (2000) link customer e-satisfaction to the convenience of shopping online, the product information, and the website design in terms of easy search paths, quick presentation and financial safety. Yoo and Donthu (2001) then devise the SITEQUAL - a four-dimensional scale assessing aesthetic design, ease of use, processing speed and security.

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2.5.2 WebQual

Barnes and Vidgen (2001) analyse online book trading to establish a pool of quality items under the WebQual scale. The five indicators of a websites quality relate to tangibles, represented by navigation and aesthetics, reliability, responsiveness, assurance manifested in credibility and security, and empathy in the communication and understanding of customers. Built on their work, Loiacono et al. (2002) develop the WebQualTM scale, comprising the dimensions of interactivity, informational fit to task, integrated communication, response time, trust, design and emotional appeal, intuitiveness, innovativeness, business process and substitutability. However, both frameworks focus on the technical quality of websites and are therefore more beneficial for assessing interface design than measuring the holistic and hedonic aspects of online shopping (Bauer, et al., 2006).

2.5.3 eTailQ

Van Riel et al. (2001) explicate customer satisfaction with online shopping by categorising the components of e-SQ into core services, supporting services, facilitating services, complimentary services, and user interface. To contextualise their findings, Wolfinbarger and Gilly (2003) analyse e-SQ in Internet retailing, deducing that its dimensions entail fulfilment or reliability, website design, customer service and privacy. Even though the scale demonstrates high validity and reliability it eliminates items representing the hedonic nature of online shopping. 2.5.4 E-S-QUAL Parasuraman et al. (2005) recognise previous limitations explicating that, studying eSQ requires a scale development that extends beyond merely adapting offline scales. Thus built on an exploratory study by Zeithaml et al. (2002) the authors create a multiple item scale - E-S-QUAL to assess the quality of websites. Considered the most comprehensive work on e-SQ, their research measures its quality through two diverse scales: the E-S-QUAL which relates core service quality to efficiency, fulfilment, system availability and privacy; and the E-ReS-QUAL that is applied when customers

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experience nonroutine encounters which requires the online service recovery process to be responsive and offer compensation and contact (Parasuraman et al., 2005). Despite their elaborate scale development process, Bauer, et al. (2006) argue that analogues to eTailQ, the scales ignore the hedonic service quality aspects. In response, Parasuraman et al. (p. 229, 2005) explain that experiential aspects such as fun or pleasure do not fall within the domain of service quality because they represent distinct benefits that may not be relevant in all contexts or to all customers.

However, Babin, et al. (2005) posit that purchasing should be assessed on both the utilitarian benefits of products or services and the intangible and emotional elements of the shopping experience. Van Riel et al. (2001) and Yoo and Donthu (2001) delineate that websites also have extrinsic cues which in the virtual encounters stimulate emotional responses. Thus, referring to flow theory, Childers et al. (2001) ascertain that emotional reactions are evoked by the websites multi-media, interactivity, hypermediality and control during navigation. A final limitation of the model is that the authors do not consider that customers opinions about the quality of websites are often shaped before problems actually occur. Thus websites need after-sale features that indicate the companys responsiveness to problems as this can reduce pre-purchase insecurity.

2.5.5 eTransQual

Bauer, et al. (2006) construct eTransQual, a process-based e-service quality scale that encompasses both utilitarian and hedonic quality components, along with responsiveness concerns. Figure 2.4 outlines their model. Analysing customer behaviour through all four stages of online shopping, the authors advise service managers to provide accurate order delivery and timeliness information. In addition, marketers must concentrate on reliability which predicts customers perceived value and satisfaction while enjoyment and responsiveness can increase sales as positive word-of-mouth is likely to result.

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Figure 2.4 e-TransQual Model

However, their findings only examined users that had purchased from the website, excluding people who browsed the page but did not complete a transaction. It could be interesting to ascertain why these users abandoned their shopping basket as this would reveal what criteria they utilised to assess the quality of the website. This could also produce insight into customer expectations of e-SQ, indicating whether it was poor design or process failures during the browsing experience that did not meet their expectations.

2.5.6 PeSQ Cristobal and Guinaliu (2007) recognise that higher levels of perceived website quality are congruent with higher levels of customer satisfaction which depends on the comparison e-shoppers make between their initial expectations and the final results. They propose the perceived e-service quality (PeSQ) scale by examining the perceptions of both buyers and information searchers. The scale relates online perceived quality to website design, customer service, assurance and order management (Shankar et al., 2003). The study also recommends the development of user-friendly websites that ease purchasing and searching and provide correct product delivery as these functions generate higher satisfaction and loyalty. The authors further posit that personalised service and a quick response to complaints enhance

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retention rates while high security levels and data protection contribute to repeat visits and peer recommendations (Cristobal and Guinaliu, 2007). However, the model does examine customer expectations as it rejects their relationship to satisfaction. In addition, the data collection process happened in Spain, during 2001, which could question the scales reliability as some items might be cultural-specific or outdated.

2.5.7 e-SELFQUAL

Ding, et al. (2009) argue that extant e-SQ scales only reflect information and system elements of websites, excluding e-retailers' fundamental roles of information, system and service providers. Thus, they developed the e-SELFQUAL scale to examine the relationships between e-SQ and customer satisfaction and loyalty in e-retailing. Their model adopts a service coproduction view that customers compare online self-services and associated face-to-face interactions based on fulfilment effectiveness (McKinney et al., 2002; Moon and Frei, 2000). Customers, for example, may expect personal assistance when confronted with a dysfunctional system, unforeseen difficulties, or when having special requests (Meuter et al., 2000). Therefore, according to the model customers insist on better control, convenience, and appropriate personal assistance. To ensure service fulfillment, e-tailers must also enable customers to control the service process by offering considerable time, effort savings, and timely customer service.

A particular limitation of the model is that it employs a utilitarian view of service quality, excluding the hedonic aspects of e-retailing. The model also eliminates the transaction element of service convenience and the order return aspect of customer service (McKinney et al., 2002). Finally, it only samples Amazon shoppers which may not be representative of the e-retailing context.

Section Summary
The literature review has demonstrated a wide range of scales to measure e-SQ which despite nominalised differently, are actually based on similar quality dimensions. Table 2.2 provides a selection of the most commonly utilised measures.

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Table 2.2 e-SQ Measures


Scale
WebQual TM Loiacono et al. (2002)

Dimensions
Ease of Use Usefulness Entertainment

Customer Top Statements


The pages are easy to understand. Navigation system is easy to learn and master. The design is visually pleasing. I feel happy and sociable. The Web site is an alternative to calling customer service or sales You get what you ordered from the site. The site doesn't waste time. I feel safe in the transactions. The company is willing and ready to respond to customer needs. Ease and speed of accessing and using the site. The sites promises about order delivery and item availability are fulfilled. The technical functioning of the site. The site is safe and protects personal information. Effective handling of problems & returns. The site compensates for problems. The availability of assistance through telephone or online representatives.

Complimentary Relationship e-TailQ Wolfinbarger and Gilly, (2003) Fulfillment/Reliability Design Privacy/Security Customer service e-S-Qual Efficiency Parasuraman et al. (2005) Fulfillment

e-ResQUAL

System availability Privacy Responsiveness Compensation Contact

e-TransQual Responsiveness Reliability Process Functionality and Design Enjoyment Website design Cristobal and Guinaliu, (2007) Customer service Assurance Order management eSELFQUAL Ding, et al. (2011)

Bauer, et al., (2006) ePEQ

Return Policy Timelessness of order delivery Availability of website Accessibility of relevant content Fun with using the web site.

Perceived control Service convenience Customer service Service fulfillment

Enough information to compare products and make a good choice. Receive personalised attention and emails are answered quickly. Security and confirmation of purchase. Modifying or postponing the purchasing process with no obligation, receiving information on availability. You know the information provided in each stage. Convenience for changing items. Customer service shows sincere interest in solving problems. The final price reflects the true value.

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Summarised Limitations Contingent on the service industry - some criteria may be specific to the eservice context. Reliance on customer perceptions instead of the Expectation-Disconfirmation process. Disregard for the hedonic aspects of shopping and the entertainment elements of browsing. Lack of flexibility to reflect the constantly changing technology. Problematic sample structure and emphasis on functional aspects and design. There is a clear need to analyse customer expectations of e-SQ and position the findings in a particular industry context. In addition, researchers are still uncertain whether these expectations change along with the new digital innovations. Therefore, with the advent of social media, it would be interesting to ascertain whether e-SQ measures can be adapted to the new Web 2.0 platforms. The following section discusses the probability of the implementation of this process.

2.6 Social Media Service Quality (e-SMQUAL)


Social Media (SM) has transformed consumers from passive users of information to active participants in producing and sharing information. Greenberg (2010) posit that companies now engage in active collaboration with the new social customers and hence SM should be an explicit strategy in managing customer relationships exemplified with the recent development of CRM 2.0. Since the services literature indicates a positive correlation between e-service quality and customer satisfaction, it would be justifiable to follow this principle in the design of Web 2.0 platforms. For the purpose of this study, the quality of SM websites will be nominalised as e-SMQUAL. 2.6.1 The Different Nature of Social Media SM websites have different applications, designs, and information in comparison to ecommerce platforms. Thus, before adapting the e-SQ measures to SM websites, it is necessary to see how these platforms differ from each other.

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Ellahi and Bokhari (2012) conduct the only study up to date to examine the quality factors of SM platforms. Focusing on SNSs and the e-SQ literature, they propound a multiple-item scale with a novel component to reflect the interactive nature of social media. The notion of community drivenness emerges to emphasise the availability of online connections for participation and group interaction. The other quality dimensions correspond to efficiency, entertainment, privacy, user-friendliness and navigability. Contrary to e-SQ, website appearance is not prioritised. Instead entertainment is more significant for assessing the quality of SNSs. However, the studys single-sample of SNSs requires further research to attest the applicability of the scale to other SM platforms, such as blogs and video forums. Similarly to e-SQ, the model lacks contextualisation and operationalisation of statements. There is also no reference to customer expectations and the relationship between perceptions of e-SMQUAL and satisfaction. 2.6.2 Social Networking Sites (SNSs) Along with community drivenness, the platforms also differ in the types of communication possible with the company. To explain the audiencemedia interactions on SNSs, some studies apply the concept of parasocial interaction (PSI) (Horton and Wohl, 1956). The notion examines consumers illusion of establishing an intimate and personal relationship with media personalities who on SNSs refer to brand representatives (Russell and Stern, 2006). Consequently, brand communicators frequently behave as friends to stimulate fans and users to like or follow the brand. In addition, Men and Tsai (2012) posit that an active and personalised relationship between the user and the media personae can increase customer engagement. The authors highlight that credible information on brands SM pages builds trust and generates positive electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) while the brand communicators expertise and trustworthiness enhance satisfaction and loyalty. Thus web 2.0 platforms enable brand representatives to deliver personalised solutions to customer concerns whereas other users can share their advice from their actual experiences with the product and the company (Men and Tsai, 2012).

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2.7 Customer Brand Engagement


While both e-commerce and SM platforms can be interactive through useful or entertaining content, websites cannot create the communal and supportive atmosphere of SNSs that stimulates consumers to share content and engage in real-time conversations with other consumers and brand representatives. Customer brand engagement is crucial for the success of SM platforms as they cannot persist without user-generated content (UGC) which in turns requires individuals to be engaged with this media (Malciute, 2012). Molen and Wilson (2010) conceptualise that engagement differs from involvement with a website as it forms an interactive relationship between customers and brands. In addition, numerous studies indicate that the concepts of loyalty, commitment and customer empowerment are unique outcomes from interactions with brands on social media (Andersen, 2005; Casalo et al., 2007; Chan and Li, 2010 and Fller et al., 2009). In addition, when analysing virtual brand communities, Brodie, et al., (2011) posit that consumer engagement is a context-specific, motivational state with concrete intensity levels. Therefore, within the iterative and dynamic environment of social media, consumers engage differently with brands. In this regard, the authors explicate that the level of intensity depends upon the interplay between the cognitive, emotional, and behavioural dimensions that individuals attach to engagement. The emotional aspect refers to negative or positive feelings, low or high-intensity and short or long-term affective attitudes toward the brand. This level of engagement usually involves feelings of gratitude, empathy, trust and sense of community belonging. The cognitive dimension develops as members establish valueladen relationships by sharing content and experiences. The highest intensity of engagement the behavioural aspect - occurs when members participate in the community through both online and offline activities, such as talking about offline events relevant to the brand. Figure 2.5 outlines the composition of the model.

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Figure 2.5 Consumer Brand Engagement (Brodie, et al., 2011)

The authors also ascertain that engagement is related to specific triggers. They argue that individuals engage when they want to reduce information search cost, perceived risk or when willing to avoid the inherent bias of commercial information on a companys website. Finally, their study concludes that consumer engagement is a highly interactive and experiential process initiated by consumers need for information with individuals involving in the activities of learning, sharing, advocating, socializing and co developing. However, the study is based on online brand communities which often lack the presence of brand representatives. There is also no evidence regarding the models applicability to SNSs, such as Facebook where fan pages offer three levels of consumer brand engagement intensity liking, joining and participating. 2.7.1 Social Identity and Engagement Bagozzi and Dholakia (2002) ascertain that since joining a fan page or liking a companys profile are usually visible to users online connections, they may follow a brand to manage their social identities. In this regard, a recent study by Naylor, et al., (2012) introduces the concept of mere virtual exposure (MVP) which refers to the passive exposure to a brands supporters on SM websites. They consider it significant for engagement and e-SMQUAL as information about a brands supporters may change

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brand evaluations as consumers tend to perceive a brand with identified similar supporters more positively than a brand whose followers are not specified. Thus, it would be interesting to ascertain whether this construct affects customer expectations regarding the quality of a brands SM presence. 2.7.2 The Ladder of Engagement Smith and Zook (2011) introduce the ladder of engagement to examine the intensity of consumer brand engagement on social media. They argue that engaged consumers have the potential to become brand zealots and brands must involve these users into ambassador programmes to strengthen their loyalty. In this regard, the authors emphasise the importance of the ideal or most valuable customer who regularly posts ratings and reviews. Thus marketers must be cognisant of how consumers express their attitudes and affinity toward the brand online. This is usually demonstrated in repeat visits, purchases, product ratings, reviews, blog participation, discussion forums, and peer recommendations. The model is presented in Figure 2.6. Figure 2.6. The Ladder of Engagement (Smith and Zook, 2011)

The lower half of the ladder incites customers to engage through reviews, product ratings and discussions while the upper half encompasses the user-generated content (UGC), whereby through crowdsourcing, companies allow followers to become cocreators of the companys content. At the top level of co-creation, customers have the opportunity to participate in the creation of products they will subsequently purchase.

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However, the ladder of engagement has been criticised through Nielsens (2006) Alertbox model of the 9091 rule. The author argues that only 1% of users reach the top level, while 90% lurk, with 9% occasionally contributing and 1% just regularly. In addition, a recent practitioner study on the most famous brands on Facebook has substantiated that less than 5% of brands attract repeated fan visits within a month, meaning that fewer than one in twenty fans return to the page more than once (WARC, 2012). In fact, another industry report has found that only 1% of customers actually engage with the brand after becoming a fan (Creamer, 2012).

In response, Smith and Zook (2011) outline the value behind this 1% for driving brand loyalty, improving the organisations processes, products and services. The authors advocate that customers must be engaged in a meaningful and helpful way through creativity and relevance in communications so that the established dialogue services their constantly evolving needs.

2.7.3 Co-creating with Brands The ladder of engagement outlines the process of collaborative co-creation - a kind of marketing nirvana where customers help companies create products, promotions and advertisements (Smith and Zook, p.19, 2011). Derived from the literature on Service Dominant Logic, this process explicates that customers are important participants in the creation of value as they not only provide marketers with information about their needs, but are also valuable sources of innovation (Vargo and Lusch, 2004). Indeed, collaboration with customers has proven effective for new product development while the resulting higher involvement and commitment to the brand increases customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention (Sawhney, et al., 2005). However, the services literature has applied the concept only to the service recovery context. Thus if customers believe they can shape the service outcomes, greater satisfaction with the recovery process and higher repurchase intentions occur (Roggeveen, et al., 2011). However, as consumers interact more actively with companies online, they also demand more individualised, experiential and differentiated products and services. Therefore, companies must develop the capability to co-create innovation with these new users.

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Yi and Gong (2012) recognise the need to assess the value of customer co-creation behaviour on social media by developing a model that measures information seeking and sharing, responsible behaviour, personal interaction, feedback, advocacy, helping, and tolerance. Thus, there is a clear to examine the quality of social media. The quality dimensions might be similar to the e-SQ model but they need to also reflect the unique interactive nature of SM. Therefore, the different intensity levels of consumer brand engagement should be considered during the design process. It is necessary to examine the importance of co-creation with brands and the influence of social identify.

2.8 Measuring e-SMQUAL


The number of likes a page generates is often perceived as an indicator of its quality and is used by customers when deciding whether to engage with brands online. Consequently, companies are devoting marketing efforts to create incentives that can draw positive attention and encourage customers to participate on the brand page. For instance, many companies require customers to like their Facebook page before accessing discounts or contests. Conversely, the influence of such an obligated like diminishes in comparison to a like derived from genuine approval and advocacy (Divol, et al., 2012). Therefore, Wang and Fesenmaier (2003) recommend the application of social value and meaning to give customers enticing reasons to pay attention to brand messages and share them with others. Such activities influence customer satisfaction and are usually exemplified in providing interesting knowledge, media content of entertainment value, product information and news of general and public interest. In addition, the lack of research on measuring e-SMQUAL has resulted in no clear consensus among marketers about the value SM creates. Debra Williamson (cited in Strategic Direction, p. 24, 2012), a lead analyst at eMarketer, advocates: Counting likes and followers is not the best way to measure success in social media marketing. Yet these metrics are often the top benchmarks for performance. Its not surprising, then, that marketers consider calculating return on investment to be the top challenge of using social media, and that a majority of them believe they cannot measure social media campaigns.

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On the other hand, digital marketers argue that the impact of SM can be measured well beyond likes and consumer-sentiment metrics. They suggest that by accurately identifying the buzz around a product or brand they can estimate how SM affects purchasing intentions. In this perspective, Divol, et al., (2012) propound the following assertions: If social media activities enhance service perceptions about the brand, a higher volume of positive online comments and posts will ensue. If social sharing is effective, the resulting additional clicks and traffic should generate more search placements. If both statements are present, SM should drive sales - at a rate even higher than the company accomplishes with its average gross rating point of advertising spending. Therefore, there is a growing need to develop a comprehensive scale to measure eSMQUAL. The literature has outlined that SM websites have unique characteristics due to their interactive nature. The nearest area to commence the evaluation process is to look at websites quality dimensions as they relate to the same medium the Internet. Table 2.3 presents the e-SQ measures that can be adapted for SM and SNSs, in particular. Table 2.3 Adapting e-SQ to Social Media Dimension
User-friendly Navigation Security/Privacy Efficiency Entertainment Website appearance Community Drivenness

Customer Statement
It is easy for me to learn to operate this SNS. It is easy to go back and forth while browsing the SNS. The SNS has a strong privacy policy. The SNS loads quickly. I enjoy myself by using this SNS. The SNS has a visually appealing design. The SNS offers opportunity to discover new friends.

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The literature reviewed in this chapter has outlined the research gaps in the area of interest to this study. The identified limitations have formed the basis for the subsequent analysis. The research aims and questions have been determined to address the encountered issues. Table 2.4 outlines the aims and questions that guide the next steps of analysis in the research process. Table 2.4 Research Aims and Questions
Research Gaps There is a need to create evaluative criteria for eSMQUAL. The process must reflect the different interactive nature of SM. Research Aims To explore if measures of eSERVQUAL can be adapted to SM. To examine the process through consumer expectations. To give the analysis an industry-specific context. Research Questions Can consumer expectations be meaningfully grouped? To what extent consumer brand engagement and need for managing social identity influence their expectations? Can the criteria be applied to SNSs, such as Facebook fan pages of fast-food brands? There is a need to examine the intensity of consumer brand engagement in the context of SNSs. To capture patters of social media behaviours and how they relate to sociodemographic characteristics. To explain the relationship between levels on engagement and expectations about eSMQUAL. How the emotional, cognitive and behavioural aspects of consumer brand engagement translate to SNSs? Can socio-demographic characteristics influence social media usage and behaviours? Can expectations about the quality of a brand page influence decisions to interact with the brand? There is a need to identify the reasons for engaging with brands and consumer expectations once they start the interaction. To investigate the reasons for following brands online. To explore what consumers expect to gain from this process. Is there a relationship between the reasons to engage in virtual communities and SNSs? Are consumers satisfied with the social media presence of brands?

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2.9 Summary
This chapter discusses the findings of a critical literature review. The review has analysed the body of knowledge on electronic service quality and the quality of social media websites and how they relate to consumer brand engagement. Findings demonstrate that little is known about the methods measuring the quality of social media platforms and how consumers apply their expectations to evaluate brands social media presence. The development of the SERVQUAL model outlines that an exploratory approach has the potential to produce fresh insights. Based on these results, a series of research aims and questions have been formulated.

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction
This chapter presents the epistemological and ontological aspects that have framed this study. It commences by explaining the chosen research philosophy to address the research needs encountered. The secondary research process is also discussed and the key research questions that have emerged from this analysis. An explanatory research strategy with a quantitative data-collection method was applied to meet the research aims. The sampling strategy of a probability sample of students is delineated, along with the pilot-testing methods and the data analysis techniques. Finally, ethical considerations are summarised before proceeding to the analysis of the collected data. Figure 3.1 presents this process. Figure 3.1 Methodology Structure Secondary Research Literature Review Process Research Needs Research Questions
Selection of appropriate research philosophy and methods to address the research questions

Primary Research

Research Approach Instrument Design Data-Collection Instrument


In line with research aims Identify faults to improve design Suitable to the research context

Pilot Testing

Data Collection

Sampling Strategy

Data Analysis

Empirical testing methods

Data protection

Ethical Considerations

Respondents Concerns

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3.2 Nature of the study


This study aimed to explore the quality of social media websites to propose evaluative criteria that would be valid for customers expectations about this quality. The relationships between social media behaviours and these expectations were also of research interest, along with individuals levels of engagement intensity with brands online. The objective epistemology of positivism was considered most appropriate to meet these research aims with the researcher adopting a "distant, non-interactive posture" (Guba, 1990, p. 20). Positivists postulate that with an accurate, value-free knowledge, behaviour can be observed and quantified to reduce a phenomenon to simple elements (Gill and Johnson, 1997). This study is also exploratory in nature as e-SMQUAL is a new phenomenon and there is little research on consumer expectations of SNSs (Cavana et al., 2000, Zikmund, 2003). The principal objective of exploratory research is to acquire a better understanding of a new issue and it is a useful method to provide foundations for later, more rigorous investigation (Cooper and Schindler, 2006).

3.3 Secondary Research


This study commenced with the examination of secondary-data sources which provided the foundation for later research. The literature review focused on extant theories on eSQ to frame the research direction and identify areas for future investigation. Electronic library sources were the primary search engine to obtain access to academic journals and industry publications. In addition, industry reports provided statistical data to examine social media adoption rates and decide on the studys context. Sociodemographic figures were also derived to justify the sampling strategy. In addition, skim-reading enabled the evaluation of sources while record-keeping through a parallel filing system helped the researcher link key findings to authors and their methods of research (Cameron and Price, 2005). The information was analysed through thematic note-taking. This allowed the researcher to categorise the strengths and weaknesses of extant e-SQ measures and identify gaps and areas to explore.

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Through a forensic critique key concepts were put under scrutiny before relying on their validity (Fisher, 2007). The soundness of arguments was examined through assessing their premises and the logical strength of conclusions. However, Hart (2003) advocates that secondary research is limited to other authors' reporting and judgements. Since their research aims might have been significantly different from this studys, the findings from the literature are only regarded as a platform for selecting the relationships to be explored through the subsequent primary research. Table 3.1 outlines the research questions that emerged from the secondary research. Table 3.1 Research Questions Research Questions Can the evaluative criteria for e-SQ be adapted to social media websites? What prior expectations do consumers have about the quality of a brands social media page? Are consumers following a brand to express their social identity or to extend their product experience online? Is there a relationship between social media behaviours and demographic characteristics? Can individuals expectations about the quality of a brands page influence their level of engagement with the brand? What do individuals expect to gain from their engagement with brands? What reasons motivate consumers to follow a brand online?

3.4 Primary Research


The purpose of this study is to investigate relationships among variables and predict the effects of one variable on another. Therefore, methods of statistical testing were selected to examine whether e-SQ evaluative criteria could be adapted to measure eSMQUAL. This approach also allowed the researcher to explore the concept through customer expectations and explain the correlation between social media behaviours and intensity of engagement.

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However, exploratory research is often related to qualitative data collection methods as they allow the collection of preliminary information to define problems and suggest hypothesis (Cooper and Schindler, 2006). Since scant research exists to build theories on e-SMQUAL, a mere focus on qualitative techniques was considered inappropriate to meet the research aims of explaining relationships. Therefore, it could be concluded that this study also employed an explanatory research. 3.4.1 Research Approach The research chose to be consistent with the SERVQUAL positivist approach to surveybased methods. However, the researcher remained mindful of the limitations of this method to generate insight into the new phenomenon of e-SMQUAL. Therefore, a qualitative approach in the design of the data-collection instrument was included. In line with the positivist paradigm, the research commenced with a deductive approach of examining existing theory on e-SQ and then determining the constructs that could be adapted to measure e-SMQUAL. Based on this prediction, a set of statements for later analysis was formulated. The deductive approach was selected as it allowed the explanation of relationships through quantitative data (Bryman and Bell, 2011). Conversely, the different nature of social media required new insights to be included to reflect its interactive character. Therefore, Grounded theory was adopted to allow novel statements to emerge from the research material (Glaser and Straus, 1967). This allowed an interaction between theory and variables to explain social media behaviours and include new quality dimensions that would be appropriate to measure e-SMQUAL. Even though, the study challenged prevailing research on e-SQ, a mere reliance on Grounded theory was not considered as certain variables from the e-SQ theories were included in the data-collection instrument. 3.4.2 Data Collection Instrument A quantitative data-collection method of a semi-structured questionnaire was selected to meet the research aims. According to Churchill et al. (1993) surveys are an effective tool to obtain opinions, attitudes and descriptions to explain relationships. Since the research seeks to quantify customer expectations about e-SMQUAL, this approach was considered most appropriate to examine the correlations between levels of brand engagement and social media behaviours.

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The survey was of explanatory nature to identify the variance of a specific phenomenon students expectations about the e-SMQUAL of a Facebook fan page dedicated to a fast-food brand. In addition, to offset this methods inability to explain the complexity of consumer behaviour, open answers and other-please specify categories were included. This helped the researcher elicit explanations and obtain answers that generated new insight into the research questions (Cameron and Price, 2009). The small scale of this qualitative technique added depth and density to the data as it allowed the researcher to explore individuals positive and negative experiences of engaging with brands online (Ghauri and Gronhaugh, 2003). It is argued that the use of qualitative techniques in accordance with quantitative, structured methods does not always produce complete and accurate findings. However, Fisher (2007, p. 57) postulates that these methods have the greatest potential to complement each other while Cameron and Price (2009) recommend the combination when new insights are sought. Thus it is concluded that this research approach was justifiable. 3.4.3 Instrument Design The research instrument was created from the e-SQ measures. The similarities between the various scales were identified and adapted to the social media context. The survey included closed-questions for standardised responses and comparative data collection (Robson, 1993; Cameron and Price, 2009). These were represented by yes and no filtering questions and Likert scales. Open-ended questions and Other-please specify were added to capture the variance of individuals opinions and generate new insight for the exploratory aim of this study. Facebook was chosen to represent SNSs sites as evidence in the literature outlined that it dominated in social network usage. The brand context was the fast-food industry since the reviewed industry reports from the secondary research highlighted that students were the heaviest fast-food consumers. Table 3.2 presents the questionnaires structure in accordance to the research aims. The rationale about the choice of tested statements is explicated after the table. The complete structure of the questionnaire can be found in Appendix 1.

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Table 3.2 Questionnaire Structure Section One: Demographic Details


Aims To ensure respondents meet the criteria for being students. To identify whether there is a relationship between gender and Facebook behaviours. To explore whether age and year of study influence Facebook behaviours. Questions - Q1 Year of study multiple choice with 'other-please specify' option. - Q2 Age open-ended question. - Q3 Gender. - Q4 Facebook ownership filtering question as this is a required to meet the research aims.

Section Two: Facebook Usage To examine the intensity of Facebook usage among students. To analyse the patterns of engagement with brands online? - Q5 Likert scale for Facebook Intensity (FBI) developed by Ellison, et al, (2007). - Q6 and Q7 Total Facebook friends and average time spent daily. - Q8, Q9, Q10 ask respondents if they have ever liked, joined or participated on a Facebook fan page. - Description of a fan page is provided. Section Three: Excellent e-SMQUAL To check whether e-SQ measures can be adapted to e-SMQUAL. To test additional statements identified from the literature review. To explore students' expectations by applying the context of fast-food brands. Section Four: Fast-Food Brands To identify if students follow fast-food brands and why. To analyse the relationship between expectations about quality and Facebook behaviours. To explore students' expectations from their engagement with brands and how satisfied they are with current pages. - Q12 Fast-food brand liked online. - Q13, Q14 Fast-food brand believed to offer the best social media page and why. - Q15, Q16 Fan page that has led to satisfaction or dissatisfaction and why. - Q21, Q22 Reason to like the brand. Expectations from engagement? - Q11 Hypothetical scenario of intending to visit the Facebook fan page of a fast-food brand. - Expectations prior to visit were analysed.

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The statements presenting the reasons for following a fast-food brand were derived from Malciutes (2012) model on consumer brand engagement. The model was selected because it had been developed through an empirical analysis of Facebook fan pages dedicated to food brands which approach resembled the research design of this study. The statements were also evaluated against Brodie, et al.s (2007) research on the reasons for engaging in online communities. The question checking the expectations from engaging with brands sought to test the top reasons for following a brand according to an industry report by Column Five Media (cited in Shea, 2011). Figure 3.2 views the ranking of these reasons. Figure 3.2 Top Reasons to follow Brands on Facebook

The current customer statement was excluded as it did not relate to expectations. However, no expectations and other options were included to examine the attitudes toward brand engagement. Respondents were asked to pick their top three reasons for the last two questions. This aimed to identify the minimum number of expected engagement activities that would entice consumers to interact with a brand. This approach followed a recommendation by Harrison (2000) that such a technique could outline the hygiene factors representing the minimum level of acceptable service quality.

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3.5.2 Pilot Testing Two pilot-testing methods were applied to refine the questionnaire and ensure its relevance to the research area. Figure 3.2 portrays the process. Figure 3.3 Pilot Testing Process Pilot Testing

First Industry Interview

First draft Second Industry Interview

Digital marketer contacted for industry insight and relevance to the research area.

Second draft

Small Convenience Sample

Test with the research population to ensure appropriate design and clarity.

Final Questionnaire

Firstly, Gillian Grant, a digital marketing expert from Lewis Creative Consultants in Edinburgh was contacted via email with the first draft of the survey. A brief introduction to the topic was provided with no structured questions to minimise the researchers influence and maximise the potential for new insights. After analysing the response, a second draft was created and sent to the interviewee. Through structured questions the researcher aimed to refine the survey by seeking the interviewees perceptions about customer expectations of social media websites. This was considered essential to enable the researcher to identify what practitioners had not yet understood about consumers social media behaviours.

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Email was the communication method due to convenience, cost-effectiveness and opportunity to most accurately store data. This also gave the respondent time to think about the answers while eliminating influence from the researcher. Consequently, this approach informed the last section of the questionnaire exploring the reasons for engagement with brands and individuals satisfaction levels with social media. The recommendation to include open answers and statements from industry statistics demonstrate the practitioners preference to more qualitative data and not mere reliance on every trend from industry reports. The second draft was then tested through a pre-selected convenience sample of 12 students. They were nearest to the researcher and had different levels of Facebook activity. There were representatives from all years of study. Consequently, a definition of a Facebook fan page was added along with a no expectations answer to the last question. The question on the ownership of a Facebook page was found confusing and changed to a Facebook profile. The time spent on Facebook was amended to an open answer rather than a multiple choice of various hours. Finally, the question relating the brand page to satisfaction needed two additional options for clarification yes satisfaction, yes dissatisfaction or both. 3.5.3 Sampling Strategy A probability sample of Business Management and Postgraduate students from HeriotWatt University was selected. This population was appropriate given the age and cultural diversity in the University which would allow the researcher to capture a wide range of attitudes. The student population was selected as Mintels (2012b) research ascertained that adults in full-time education were more likely to engage with food brands. The age range was determined between 18-34 years old as the 25-34 age group contained the heaviest users online while the 16-24 age cohort was most likely to consume fast-foods in an average week (Mintel, 2012a). 3.5.4 Data Collection The survey was created through Google Forms to facilitate online distribution and secure data storage in the virtual space of Google Drive. This software also allowed a more appealing design in line with the interactivity associated with social media; thus creating an enjoyable setting for the respondents.

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The link to the survey was included into a generic email request sent to students via the University intranet. Thus every student from the chosen sample had an equal chance to be selected and voluntarily participate. The questionnaire was also distributed on Facebook University groups. However, the risk of students reluctance to participate was considered due to the high workload they experienced during the distribution period. Thus the viral methods of emailing and Facebook messages were most effective to attract students co-operation. A low response rate was also accepted as a minimum of 100-125 respondents was necessary to perform a factor analysis of 25 variables since the required ration is four to five respondents per variable (Hair Jr. et al, 1995). Therefore, with a total number of 1538 students, the response rate was set between 10-15% depending on the number of returned responses not meeting the research criteria.

3.6 Data Analysis


The data was manually imported into SPSS with appropriate variables to code the answers. Labels were included to describe each variable and facilitate the analysing process. All the information was double checked for errors before proceeding examination. The analysis was determined by the research aims and questions assigned to each variable in the questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were applied to characterise the sample while inferential statistics allowed for relationships to be explored (Fisher, 2007). Exploratory factor analysis was also employed in the statistical examination. This is a data reduction technique which brings intercorrelated variables together under new dimensions that are supposed to underlie the old ones (Rietveld and Van Hout 1993, p. 254). This enabled the researcher to not only obtain a clear picture of the data, but also utilise the output in subsequent analyses (Field, 2000). The method is also preferred by researchers when no hypotheses exist about the underlying structure of their tested measures. Therefore, since no evaluative criteria for e-SMQUAL has been developed, this type of analysis is justifiable.

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3.7 Ethical Considerations Confidentiality and anonymity were prioritised by making it clear to participants how the information will be used at the beginning of the survey. The data were stored through the requirements of the Data Protection Act to ensure that the information would not be applied outside the research. A research ethics approval form was also submitted to Heriot-Watt University to comply with the necessary rules for conducting the questionnaire. Prior beginning the survey, students were also made aware of the research context and aims and how their responses would be used and protected.

3.8 Summary
This chapter has discussed the research questions and the methodology adopted to address them. The research philosophy of positivism was selected to meet the aim of exploring consumers expectations about the quality of social media websites. A quantitative data-collection method was employed to explain relationships and capture attitudes. Its design was rigorously pilot-tested. A probability sample of students was chosen as this population is highly engaged in the area of research. Finally, the data collection methods and analysing techniques were presented, along with the ethical issues that had been considered. The next chapter discusses the results from the primary research.

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CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS
4.1 Introduction
This chapter presents the quantitative research findings. The data analysis process was undertaken in two stages. First a descriptive analysis outlined the composition of the sample and then an inferential examination addressed the research questions in order to meet the study's objectives. The results were analysed through SPSS V19. Figure 4.1 outlines this structure. Figure 4.1 Structure of Analysis Sample Composition

Facebook Behaviours

Relationships with Demographic Characteristics

Patterns of Use

Expectations of Facebook fan pages

Expectations and Facebook Behaviours

Fast-food brands of excellent e-SMQUAL

Most popular fastfood brand

E-SMQUAL and Satisfaction

Expectations from Brand Engagement

Reasons to follow

Expectations from following

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4.2 Sample Composition


A total of 270 responses were collected. A frequency analysis and cross-tabulation of the data were performed which identified 10 outlying cases with age outside the research remit (Robson, 1993). An additional 5 answers did not have a Facebook account. These 15 cases were excluded on the basis of age and Facebook ownership. 5 extra cases did not specify their year of study. But since the other requirements were met, their influence was not considered significant to the data. 4.2.1 Demographic Characteristics The demographic characteristics that were measured included: gender, age and year of study. The results of a descriptive analysis are presented in Table 4.1. Table 4.1 Demographic Characteristics Characteristic Gender Year of Study Summary 42.7% men 57.3 % Women Year 4 = 40% Year 3 = 14.9%, Year 2 = 11% Year 1 = 12.9% PhD = 10.6% MSc = 8.6% Age Mean = 23 years old, SD = 3.54, Max = 34 years, Min = 18 years old.

In terms of gender the sample is evenly distributed. The majority of respondents are 4th year which could be due to bias toward the researcher who is also 4 th year. It is likely that feelings of empathy and understanding might have stimulated participation. The age distribution reflects the year of study as 4th year students are on average 23 years old. This is clearly not a representative sample but the aims of this study are to explore online behaviours and not to generalise the results to the student population. Thus the subsequent analysis will focus on examining the sample's behavioural characteristics.

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4.3 Facebook Behaviours


One aim of this research is to examine Facebook behaviours. This leads to the following research questions: What are the patterns of social media usage among students? What is the relationship between patterns of use and demographic characteristics?

4.3.1 Patterns of use Facebook usage was measured through the Facebook Intensity Scale (FBI) created by Ellison, et al. (2007). The measure was chosen because it had been developed with a survey of 286 undergraduate students which made it consistent with this research. The published scale contained 5 statements which were computed in a single FBI scale for the purpose of this analysis. The scale's reliability was tested using Cronbachs alpha. The results produced an alpha score of 0.84 which is over the required level of 0.7; thus confirming the reliability of the measure for the subsequent analysis. The FBI of the sample was estimated by summing the items together and then dividing by the number of items. The mean score was 3.58 (SD = 0.85 Min = 1, Max =5). Hence there was a tendency within the sample toward intense FB usage. This result was consistent with the original study by Ellison, et al. (2007) which ascertained an intensity of 3.12 among US undergraduates. Thus the sample was considered of sufficient quality to facilitate the subsequent explanatory analysis on the basis of valid data. The patterns of social media usage were identified by examining participants' average time spent per day on Facebook and their total number of Facebook friends. Table 4.2 outlines the findings. Table 4.2 Patterns of Social Media Usage
Average time on Facebook Mean Standard Deviation Minimum Maximum 2.78 2.65 5 minutes 10 hours Total Number of Facebook friends 486 301.55 16 1500

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The results were not significantly different from the original study by Ellison, et al. (2007) whereby the average number of friends was 303 with 63.57 minutes spent daily on Facebook. The over an hour difference in time might be due to the increased

popularity of Facebook as opposed to 2007. This could also explain the difference in the total number of Facebook friends. It should be noted that it is unlikely for the results to be equally consistent due to the two sample's different composition in terms of year of study. The research sample was dominated by 4th year students while in the study by Ellison, et al. (2007), the sample contained a majority of 2nd year college students. The analysis also explored Facebook behaviour in terms of engaging with a brand online. The levels of engagement involved liking, joining or participating on a fan page. Through a series of Chi-squared tests, it was concluded that liking was the preferred level of engagement with a brand on Facebook as 87% of the sample had ever liked a fan page. Joining had been practiced by 71.8% of the students while participation received 56.1% positive responses. Therefore, the ensuing analysis aims to explore whether demographic characteristics can explain these differences in the levels of engagement with brands online.

4.3.2 Relationship between Facebook usage and Demographic characteristics To identify any differences between social media behaviours and socio-demographics the following relationships were explored: Facebook Usage represented by the variables of hours and FBI, and the activities of liking, joining and participating on a Facebook fan page. Demographic characteristics tested with the variables of gender, age and year of study.

Table 4.3 presents the procedures that were undertaken for each pairing in accordance to whether the measure was scale, ordinal or nominal

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Table 4.3 Analysis of Facebook Usage

Facebook Measure Demographic Measure Gender (Nominal) Year of study (Ordinal) Age (Interval) One-way ANOVA Correlation One-way ANOVA Correlation One-way ANOVA Correlation T-test T-test T-test Crosstabs Crosstabs Crosstabs FBI (Interval) T-test Hours (Interval) T-test Friends (Interval) T-test Liking (Nominal) Chi-square Joining (Nominal) Chi-square Participating (Nominal) Chi-square

The Influence of Gender on Facebook Usage A t-test was used to identify any differences in FBI as a result of gender. The results showed that there were no statistically significant differences between the means for men (3.44) and women (3.68), (t statistic = -2.12, df = 253, p =.04). A second t-test examined any differences in the average hours spent on Facebook and gender characteristics. The results outlined that there were no statistically significant differences between the means for men (2.65) and women (2.58), (t statistic= .23, df=253, p=.82). In all cases the Levene's test statistics were used as there were equal variances between the groups. A final t-test compared gender to total number of Facebook friends. The analysis highlighted that the assumption for equal variances was violated (t=2.14, df=209.73, p=0.03<.05). This was confirmed with the variance in means for males (534) and females (451). Therefore gender was not linked in this sample to Facebook usage apart from the number of friends. Thus it is appropriate to look for additional explanatory variables that outline differences in behaviours. The next stage of analysis looked at the relationship between gender and the Facebook behaviours of liking, joining and participating on a brand fan page. A series of chi-squared tests showed no relationships. The results are summaries in table 4.5. These tests used a 2 by 2 table as each variable had only to categories (Pallant, 2001). Thus the statistics outlined refer to the Continuity Correction value.

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Table 4.4 Gender and Facebook behaviours


Gender Liking Joining Participating

Chisquared p

0.00 0.95

0.41 0.52

0.12 0.73

Therefore, the proportion of males who had liked, joined or participated on a Facebook brand page was not significantly different than the proportion of females who had been involved in the same activities. The next stage of analysis aimed to identify whether the year of study could explain the patterns of Facebook behaviour. The Influence of Year of study on Facebook Usage A one-way between groups analysis of variance was conducted to explore the impact of year of study on Facebook usage, hours per day and number of total friends. There was no significant difference between year of study and FBI [F (5,244), p=.19 >.05). In terms of total number of Facebook friends, there was a statistically significant difference at the p<.05 level for the 6 groups [F (5, 244) =4.7, p=.00]. Thus 2nd, 4th and PhD students differed in their total number of Facebook friends. Post-hoc comparison using Tukey HSD test indicated that the mean score for PhD students (M=339, SD=345) was significantly different from 4th year (M=585, SD=287). This could be explained by the PhD students being more engaged in their research projects and hence spending less time on Facebook. However, 2nd year students (M=400, SD=248) did not significantly differ from PhD students. This might be due to both groups being at the beginning of their university experience and the process of making new university friends. In reference to the average hours spent on Facebook, there was no significant differences between the groups [F (5,244), p=.36 >.05). The final stage of the analysis examined the relationship between year of study and the activities of linking, joining or participating on Facebook. A series of chi-squared tests was conducted with the results outlined in Table 4.5. These tests used a 6 by 2 table as each variable had various categories (Pallant, 2001). Hence the statistics presented relate to the Pearson Chi-square values.

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Table 4.5 Year of study and Facebook behaviours Year study of Liking Joining Participating

Chisquared p

16.522 0.01

7.781 0.17

2.693 0.75

The tests showed that there was a significant difference between the year of study and liking. However, 3 of the examined cells had an expected count of less than five which violated the assumption of chi-square concerning the 'minimum expected cell frequency' which should be 5 or greater (Pallant, 2001). The results related to 2nd year undergraduates, Master and PhD students. The cells received a count of 4.3, 3.3 and 4.1 respectively. These findings illustrated that the results were only valid for this sample and cannot be generalised. This limitation of the analysis demonstrated the need for further research to explore the relationship between liking and year of study.

The Influence of Age on Facebook Usage The relationship between age and Facebook usage was investigated using Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. The age variable was correlated to FBI, hours spent per day and total number of friends, giving the following results. Table 4.6 Age and Facebook Usage
Age r p R2 % FBI -0.07 0.24 0.00 0 Hours -0.11 0.10 0.01 1% Friends -0.14 0.03 0.02 2%

There was a small negative correlation only between age and total number of Facebook friends as r (-0.14) was between the range of 'r=-0.10 to -0.29' (Pallant, 2001). Thus a high number of Facebook friends was associated with lower age.

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The last analysis examined the relationship between age and the activities of liking, joining or participating. An independent t-test outlined that there was no significant difference between age and liking (t static= -1.93, df=253, p=.06). A second t-test highlighted no statistical difference between age and joining (t static=-35, df=253, p=.72). The final t-test also showed no relationship between age and participation (t static=0.17, df=253, p=.87). Summary This section addressed two of the research questions related to patterns of social media usage among students. The analysis also sought to examine the relationships between demographic characteristics and Facebook behaviours. The final results are summaries in Table 4.7.
Facebook Measure Demographic Measure Gender (Nominal) FBI (Interval) Not sig. Hours (Interval) Not sig. Friends (Interval) Sig. maleshigher No. of friends Not sig. Neg. not sig. correlation Not sig. Neg. not sig. correlation Sig. th nd 4 ,2 ,PhD Neg. small correlation Sig. Not sig. Not sig. Not sig. Not sig. Not sig. Liking (Nominal) Not sig. Joining (Nominal) Not sig. Participating (Nominal) Not sig.

Year (Ordinal) Age (Interval)

Table 4.7 Summary of Demographics and Facebook Use These results indicated that the main differences between demographic characteristics and patterns of social media behaviour were in terms of the number of Facebook friends. From the research sample, males and 4th year students showed the highest number of Facebook friends which also increased as age went down. The results also identified a relationship between liking and year of study with 4th year students being the most engaged group in this activity. However, since this year of study constituted the majority of the sample, these findings were only valid for the examined population. No explanation was found for the different levels of engagement with brands online. Thus additional evidence is needed to indicate what influences these behaviours. The next section seeks to provide such evidence by analysing the respondents' expectations about the Facebook page of a fast-food brand.

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4.4 Expectations of Facebook


This analysis pertained to section two of the questionnaire which asked students to select their expectations of an excellent quality Facebook fan page for a fast-food brand. The question tested their expectations about features and activities on the page. A Likert scale was used to test 25 statements that might determine excellent e-SMQUAL according to the literature review. Exploratory factor analysis was chosen to examine the expectation variables as Pallant (2001) recommends it in the early stages of research to gather information about interrelationships among a set of variables. Factor analysis also allowed the data to be reduced and summarised which enabled the researcher to explain the relationships between the tested statements based on common underlying components or factors (Gorsuch, 1983). The subsequent analysis sought meaningful factors that could be grouped together to measure e-SMQUAL. Such evaluative criteria could then be used as an actionable scale for the development of a Facebook fan page for a fast-food brand. The suitability of the data was first assessed by calculating the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy (KMO) and Barlett's Test of Sphericity. The results showed a KMO value of 0.84 exceeding the recommended value of 0.6. The Bartlett's Test of Sphericity reached statistical significance (chi-sqared=2459.61, df=300, p=0.00). Therefore, the data requirements for factor analysis were met. In addition, an exploratory factor analysis was undertaken using PCA with a varimax rotation. Extraction was conducted through the Kaiser criteria that eigenvalues greater than 1 should be retained. The initial solution outlined 6 factors that accounted for 60.6% of the variance in the responses. Table 4.8 presents the items under each factor along with the rotated factor score, the eigenvalue, the percentage of the variance and the reliability measure computed using Cronbachs alpha. The factors were named after an examination of the variables with higher loadings and in accordance to the adapted e-SQ model. The factor categories are as follows.

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Shopping Support expectations about the ease of navigation, visually appealing design, privacy policy and customer support. Content is also vital in terms of product information, reviews and interesting publications. Product Engagement expectations about interactions with the products through NPD, co-creation and contests. Brand Engagement and Social Connection expectations about experiencing the brand through company blogs and relationships with brand representatives. Interactions with other followers come important for finding new friends and participating in discussions. Community Building expectations about feelings of community belonging demonstrated by high number of 'Likes', friends also following the brand and the virtual presence of similar individuals. Facebook is now perceived as a world in its own right. Emotional Engagement expectations related to feelings of enjoyment and happiness from the fan page and its interactive features. Product Order a factor previously not associated with social media websites but of increasing importance for consumers. This new presence explains its position under a single factor category.

The results demonstrated that the adapted e-SQ measures still remained important under the category of shopping support. Thus these variables could be adapted to explain some of the features required for an excellent quality social media website. Their reliability was further confirmed by the highest achieved alpha score of 0.86. However, there was a new determinant of excellent service quality that customers expected to see on SM sites. The social and interactive nature of this media was reflected in the emerging expectations about opportunities for product engagement in terms of NPD and co-creation. Individuals sought to extend their product experience online by participating in contests and receiving rewards for their loyalty. This confirms the 'ladder of engagement' concept from the literature which brands must consider when planning their marketing communications. The reaming four factors showed alpha scores lower than 0.7 which would question their reliability (George and Mallery, 1999).

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Table 4.8 Factor analysis

Rotated Eigenvalue %% Variance Cronbach's Cronbach's Score Variance Alpha Alpha F1 Shopping Support 6.65 26.6 0.86 Easy to use 0.72 0.85 Loads quickly 0.71 0.84 Strong privacy policy 0.67 0.85 Visually appealing design 0.65 0.84 Product-related information 0.62 0.84 Contact customer service 0.56 0.84 Product reviews 0.56 0.84 Quick response to complaints 0.55 0.84 Interesting content 0.44 0.85 F2 Product Engagement 3.01 12 0.76 Participation in NPD 0.74 0.61 Incentives for following 0.68 0.73 Co-creating the brand 0.6 0.69 Contests and promotions 0.6 0.8 F3 Brand Engagement and Social Connection 1.74 7 0.66 Participation in discussion forums 0.78 0.52 Access to company blogs 0.75 0.52 Opportunity to find new friends 0.48 0.68 Develop a relationship with the brand 0.41 0.62 F4 Community Building 1.38 5.5 0.67 Friends follow the brand 0.77 0.48 Page has many Likes 0.76 0.58 Virtual presence of similar people 0.55 0.59 My mind is more present in the Facebook 0.54 0.72 world than the real world F5 Emotional Engagement 1.32 5.3 0.66 Feel happiness 0.8 0.42 Enjoy myself using the page 0.66 0.51 Interactive features 0.59 0.72 F6 Product Order 1.06 4.2 Order products from the page 0.6

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However, the value of Cronbachs alpha depends not only on the inter-item correlations, but also the number of the items in the scale, which suggests that scales with fewer items will have lower reliability. In addition to this consideration, the results of the tested scales were very close to the required minimum level; thus the study considered them reliable to meet its exploratory purpose. These findings were accepted as bringing initial interesting insights that could lead to additional research of applying these factors to a new sample. Further research could also look at restructuring the factor analysis by taking the factors with the highest loadings. Therefore, in line with the exploratory nature of this study, the subsequent analysis only took the highest loading statement from each factor category. This approached enabled the next stage of examination regarding the relationship between expectations about eSMQUAL and Facebook engagement behaviours. 4.5 Relationship between Expectations and Facebook Behaviours A series of independent t-tests was undertaken to explore the relationship between expectations about excellent e-SMQUAL and the three levels of engagement with a fan page liking, joining and participating. The statements with the highest loadings from each factor category were chosen and the results are summarised in Table 4.9 Table 4.9 e-SMQUAL and Facebook Behaviours
Liking F1 The page is easy to use. F2 Participation in NPD F3 Participation in discussion forums F4 Friends follow the brand F5 Feelings of happiness F6 Product order. t=0.46, df=253, p=0.65 t=1.41, df=253, p=0.16 t=1.90, df=253, p=0.06 Joining t=0.93, df=253, p=0.35 t=0.55, df=253, p=0.58 t=2.42, df=253, p=0.02 Participating t= -0.07, df=253, p=0.94 t=1.94, df=253, p=0.05 t=2.11, df=253, p=0.04

t=2.20, df=253, p=0.03 t=0.77, df=253, p=0.44 t= -0.83, df=253, p=0.40

t=3.15, df=114, p=0.00 t=0.33, df=253, p=0.74 t= -0.60, df=253, p=0.55

t=1.93, df=253, p=0.05 t=-0.56, df=253, p=0.58 t= -0.64, df= 253, p=0.52

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The results showed that individuals would be more likely to 'like' a page if their friends did the same. Therefore 'liking' was influenced by the community building factor for excellent e-SMQUAL. In addition, people would rather join a page if there were opportunities to participate in discussion forums, along with the reassurance that their friends liked the page. Hence 'joining' depends upon the factors of community building and brand engagement and social connection. 'Participating' required friends to be followers again, along with opportunities for participating in both discussion forums and NPD. Consequently, the highest level of engagement was determined by the highest number of factors related to community building, product engagement and brand engagement and social connection. These results brought interesting insight indicating that the number of e-SMQUAL factors was positively related to the level of engagement with the brand online. Thus, the higher the level of engagement, the more e-SMQUAL factors must be present for individuals to interact with the brand. In addition, once consumers engage with brands, their expectations must be either met or exceeded for satisfaction to occur. Otherwise, dissatisfaction appears and these individuals are likely to not only leave the page but also engage in negative word-of-mouth which in its electronic form could be highly damaging to the brand. Therefore, the final analysis aimed to explore the reasons for following fast-food brands.

4.6 Fast-food brands of excellent e-SMQUAL


4.6.1 Most popular fast-food brand The analysis began by identifying the number of students, following fast-food brands. Their open answers about the brand they believed offered the best social media presence were then examined to generate new insight. The aim was to identify an exemplary fast-food brand for excellent e-SMQUAL. The conducted frequency tests showed that 65.1% of the respondents did not like any fast-food brand online. These results indicated the suitability of the sample for examining expectations about e-SMQUAL as the research was interested in exploring expectations prior to visiting a fan page. In line with these findings only 41.6 % of the students expressed an opinion about a fast-food brand of excellent social media presence. Figure 4.2 outlines how they ranked popular fast-food brands.

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Figure 4.2 Best Social Media Presence

Domino's fan page was believed to be of excellent e-SMQUAL, closely followed by MacDonald's and KFC. This preference could be explined by Dominos variety of offers targeting students, such as the popular Tuesday deal of ordering 'two for one' pizza. In addition, the brand provides the oportunity to track the pizza making process which refers to 'shopping support' from the factor analysis. The company has also launched a Facebook application, allowing fans to order pizza from the fan page and share this activity with their friends. Thus users do not leave the brand social media environment but engage much deeper while encouraging their social network to also order pizza. It was felt that Dominos would be the preferred brand also due to the convenience or pizza ordering that appeals to the student population. These findings also provided scope for additional qualitative research into the social media presence of these brands. For example, through case studies, Dominos and MacDonalds fan pages could be examined to ascertain whether they comply with the factros for e-SMQUAL. 4.6.2 Examples of excellent social media presence The next step of analysis focused on the qualitative side of the questionnaire by examining the students examples for excellent social media presence of a fast-food brand. The majority of responses confirmed the e-SMQUAL factors related to shopping support and community building.

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Competitions, promotions, vouchers and student discounts were present in almost all examples, along with the importance of friends followers as when friends like it, it gets us around. However, some answers revealed new insight regarding the appropriate use of language to communicate a young vision and advertising through pictures that targeted the senses and prompted orders. Students also mentioned celebrity endorsements and games to add interactivity to the brand. Reasons, such as sponsorship of big events, advertising on campus and integration with traditional channels were also important which brought more interesting insight that could lead to future research into the influence of these details on e-SMQUAL. 4.6.3 e-SMQUAL and satisfaction The relationship between satisfaction and e-SMQUAL was examined by analysing the number of students who had actually encountered a page that made them feel satisfied or dissatisfied. The majority of respondents, 72.9% answered negatively to this question. This could be because their expectations had never been fully met or exceeded to categorise the experience as satisfaction. Therefore, more research effort are required to test the e-SMQUAL measures and ensure quality experiences, delivering customer satisfaction. A small number, only 20.4% of all students reported experiences of satisfaction, mentioning reasons, such as an image of excitement and funny little discussions going. Only 5.1% of respondents had felt dissatisfaction due to insufficient communications, loyalty schemes and product information or the use of misleading advertising and too many posts. These insights further confirmed the e-SMQUAL factors and their importance for customer satisfaction.

4.7 Expectations from Brand Engagement


This analysis explored respondents reasons for engaging with brands and their expectations from that engagement. This examination tested the statements of Malciutes (2012) empirical study on consumers brand engagement online and the findings from a recent study by Five Column Media (cited in Shea, 2011). A series of frequency tests showed that interest in the brand offerings was the main reason for following, along with loyalty to the brand and friends that were also fans. Figure 4.3 outlines all the results.

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Figure 4.3 Reasons to follow a brand

These findings further confirmed the e-SMQUAL factors and outlined again the importance of friends for engagement. Therefore dimensions of e-SMQUAL were related to the decision of following brands online. The final examination explored respondents expectations from brands once they had decided to engage online. Figure 4.4 illustrates the results. Figure 4.4 Expectations from Brand Engagement

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Finding special offers and deals were expcted from 80% of the students. Product news was considered vital by 66.3% while customer service achieved 60.4%. These results reflected the bargain hunting nature of the student population and were consistent with the previous qualitative answers about the reasons for following fast-food brands. Therefore, it could be concluded that consumer expectations from engaging with brands online were also reflected in their criteria evaluating e-SMQUAL.

4.8 Summary
This chapter has discussed the data analysis process. The survey response was

appropriate to implement exploratory factor analysis. The findings also indicated that the data from the probability sample was not representative for the whole student population as the majority of respondents were 4th year students. Tests were conducted to identify if it was possible to replicate findings from research into the relationships between gender, age and Facebook usage. Additional insight was sought by examining the correlations between year of study and Facebook usage. The influence of sociodemographic characteristics on the intensity levels of consumer brand engagement online was also tested to complement extant research. Exploratory factor analysis of the expectations of a Facebook fan page dedicated to a fast-food brand was then conducted to test the adequacy of adapting e-SQ to evaluate social media websites. The results were positive, indicating new insights that must be incorporated to reflect the interactive and community building nature of social media. The relationships between the discovered e-SMQUAL factors and engagement were then explored to identify the determinants of online interactions with brands. Finally, a qualitative analysis of the open answer sought new insight and confirmation of the quantitative results. The most popular fast-food brand among the tested population was discovered, along with the reasons for following fan pages and the expectations from engaging with brands. The results identified the need for additional research into e-SMQUAL through case studies and more qualitative methods. Table 4.10 summarises the main findings in relation to the research aims.

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Table 4.10 Final Findings Research aims Students Facebook behaviours. Results Average time: 2.78hs, Friends: 486 Highest number of FB friends: Men and 4th year students. FB friends increase as age decreases. Levels of Engagement with brands online E-SERVQUAL measures adapted to e-SMQUAL Liking a brand is most popular. Only year of study can influence liking. F1 Shopping support, F2 Product Engagement, F3 Brand Engagement and Social Connection, F4 Community Building, F5 Emotional Engagement, F6 Product Order. Liking linked to F4 Joining determined by F3 & F4 Participating influenced by F2, F3 & F4 Dominos but only 34.9% follow any fastfood brand. Interest in the brand offerings. Friends are fans of the brand. Trust and loyalty to the brand. Expectations from brand engagement Special offers and deals. Product news. Customer service and support.

Relationship between eSMQUAL and brand engagement Most-popular fast-food brand Top Reasons to follow fastfood brands

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS


5.1 Introduction
This chapter summarises the research findings and presents the conclusions in relation to the research questions and the literature. The implications for fast-food brands and marketing research are also considered with suggestions for the future application of the results. The limitations of this study are also outlined and explicated regarding the research aims. Finally, to address these concerns, areas for future research are proposed, along with potential dissertation topics. The process is presented in Figure 5.1. Figure 5.1 Final Chapter Overview Discussion of Findings

Implications for Business Research

Limitations

Areas for future research

Conclusion

5.2 Discussion of Findings


This study adapted the e-SQ model to test the quality of social media websites. The research aimed to explore individuals expectations about the quality of a Facebook brand page prior to their visit. The context for analysis was the fast-food industry while the tested population involved university students. The quantitative data-collection instrument aimed to capture information about Facebook usage and patterns of social media behaviours and identify their relationship with various socio-demographic characteristics. The research also aimed to explore which factors of e-SMQUAL

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influenced the different levels of engagement with brands online. In reference to the fast-food industry, the study sought to identify a fast-food brand whose social media presence could be used as a benchmark for excellent e-SMQUAL. Through respondents open answers, the research also explored the current level of satisfaction with e-SMQUAL and the reasons for following fast-food brands. The final research aim was to analyse the expectations from engaging with brands online and relate the findings to the criteria for excellent e-SMQUAL. The literature review outlined the lack of studies into developing evaluative criteria for the quality of social media websites, especially according to customer expectations. Therefore the study aimed to address this research need by exploring the patterns of social media behaviours and how they relate to e-SMQUAL. Table 5.1 summarises the findings in relation to the research questions. Table 5.1 Research Questions and Findings
Research question What are the patterns of social media usage among students? Are there differences between year of study and other demographic variables? Are there relationships between Facebook usage and engagement with brands online? Findings 57.3% Females 42.7% Males Min. 23 years old Time: 2.78hs, Min. 30 minutes, Max. 10hs Friends: 478, Min. 16, Max. 1500 More Friends: Males, 4 year students. The number increases as age goes down. No influence of gender or age on engagement. Liking (87%) Joining (71.8%) Participating (56.1%) 4 year students more likely to engage-limitation as this is the majority of the sample. Can e-SERVQUAL measure be adapted to SM websites? Can expectations about e-SMQUAL be grouped meaningfully? Adaptation possible but new factors emerge. Meaningful grouping in 6 categories: F1 Shopping support, F2 Product Engagement, F3 Brand Engagement and Social Connection, F4 Community Building, F5 Emotional Engagement, F6 Product Order. Liking linked to F4 Joining determined by F3 & F4 Participating influenced by F2, F3 & F4 Only 34.9% follow fast-food brands. Dominos is believed to offer the best social media presence. Satisfaction is linked to competitions, promotions, discounts, celebrity endorsements, games, events sponsorship, integration with other channels. 72.9% not experienced satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Only 20.9% expressed satisfaction. What are the reasons for following and engaging with brands and are they related to the factors of eSMQUAL? Reasons to follow: interest in the brand offerings, friends are fans of the brand, trust and loyalty. Expectations from brands: special offers and deals, product news, customer service and support.
th th

Is there a relationship between expectations about e-SMQUAL and engagement with brands? Do students follow fast-food brands and why? Have they experienced a social media presence that led to satisfaction or dissatisfaction?

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5.2.1 Facebook Behaviours The sample is dominated by females, which is consistent with the research by Ellison, et al. (2007) whereby females accounted for 66% of all responses. In line with the study, no relationship was found between gender and Facebook intensity. In contrast, the average age was 23 years old and 4th year students comprised the majority of the group. The study by Ellison, et al (2007) reported an average age of 20 and a majority of 2nd year students. The difference could be explained with this studys bias toward 4th year students who are generally 23 years old. The final differences were in the number Facebook friends and time spent per day, with the study by Ellison, et al (2007) claiming that students had between 151-200 friends and spend between 10-30 minutes on average using Facebook every day. The higher number of friends and time spent on Facebook related to this study are likely to be because of the increased popularity of Facebook since 2007. Both studies reported no relationship between Facebook Intensity and gender, age or year of study. The study by Ellison, et al (2007) found that senior students would be less likely to join the platform but no reference was provided in terms of Facebook friends, year of study and age. Therefore, the relationships between Facebook friends and year of study and age are unique to this study. In addition, the influence of gender on the number of Facebook friends could be explained by the findings of previous studies claiming that males tend to make new friendships on social network sites more than females (Thelwall 2008; Lenhart and Madden 2007; Mazman and Usluel, 2011 ).

The results related to engagement and socio-demographic characteristics are also new to this study but require additional research as the sample was overrepresented by 4 th year students. The popularity of liking reflects the findings from the literature that brands still have difficulty engaging with followers (Cramer, 2012; WARC, 2012).

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5.2.2 E-SERVQUAL and e-SMQUAL The exploratory factor analysis showed that the adaptation of e-SQ to measure the quality of social media websites was justifiable as the following factors corresponded to the findings from the literature: Figure 5.2 E-SQ and e-SMQUAL Ease of Use, Usefulness (WebQual TM) Customer service (e-TailQ) & F1 Shopping Support (e-SELSQUAL)

Efficiency, Privacy, Responsiveness (e-S-Qual) and (e-Res-Qual) Website design and functionality (e-TansQual) and (e-PEQ

F5 Emotional Engagement

Entertainment (WebQual TM) Enjoyment (e-TransQual)

Reliability (e-TailQ) & (e-TransQual) F6 Product Order Order Management (ePEQ)

However to reflect the interactive nature of social media new measures need to be considered. Therefore, the remaining factors correspond to the main constructs of this media according to the literature and recent studies on social networking sites. Figure 5.3 summarises these relationships. The presented results demonstrate the need for future research to conceptualise the main differences between e-SQ and e-SMQUAL and reflect them in future measurement scales. Therefore, this study provides the foundation for the development of the evaluative criteria for social media websites.

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Figure 5.3 e-SMQUAL and the nature of Social Media F2 Product Engagement Ladder of Engagement (Smith and Zook, 2011).

F3 Brand Engagement and Social Connection

Ladder of Engagement (Smith and Zook, 2011). Parasocial interaction (PSI) (Russell and Stern, 2006) & (Men and Tsai, 2012) Community Drivenness (Ellahi and Bokhari, 2012)

Number of likes (Wang, 2012) Social Identity (Bagozzi and Dholakias, 2002) F4 Community Building Mere Virtual Presence (Lamberton and West, 2012) Online Communities (Brodie, et al., 2011)

5.2.3 E-SMQUAL and Consumer Brand Engagement The findings about the correlation between expectations of e-SMQUAL and the behaviours of liking, joining and participating are unique to this study as no previous research has addressed these relationships. The results show that the highest intensity of consumer brand engagement participating requires more e-SMQUAL factors to be present. In addition, these factors do not relate to any of the e-SQ measures but reflect the interactive and community building nature of social media. It is interesting that assurance of friends following the brand is essential for all types of engagement. Therefore, future research could potentially look at the psychological motivations that underpin this strong influence.

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In addition, the relationship between e-SMQUAL and the intensity of consumer brand engagement can lead to a possible application of Brodie et al.s (2011) engagement model to SNSs. Figure 5.4 portrays a possible hypothesis to explain consumers decisions to engage differently with brands online Figure 5.4 The Intensity of Engagement on SNSs

Participate in NPD, brand events. Brand Zealots & Evangelists

Share experiences, post comments, interact with followers. Brand Ambassadors. Information seeking, reducing perceived risks, social identity with influence of friends.

The model illustrates that the dimensions of consumer engagement could be applied to SNSs to explain how individuals behave depending on their level of intensity. However, this is just a preposition inferred from the research findings. Therefore, it would be interesting to conduct additional qualitative research to test this model. 5.2.4 Fast-food Brands and Satisfaction The small number of students following fast-food brands confirms the suitability of the sample for testing expectations prior to visiting a fan page. However, industry statistics from the literature suggest that adults in full-time education between 16-24 years old are the heaviest consumers of fast-foods and are also highly engaged with food brands on social media. Thus it could be inferred that the student demographic would follow many fast-food brands. However, no research has confirmed such relationship while this studys limitation to generalise its findings could not deduce sufficient evidence to support this claim. Consequently, future research could look at the fan base of fastfood brands and address the issue about the audience representativeness.

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The low level of engagement could also be explained by the low satisfaction levels with brands on social media. Therefore, additional research is needed to identify the eSMQUAL factors necessary for customer satisfaction. A full application of the Expectation-Disconfirmation model, for example, would be useful to ascertain the gaps between the perceptions and expectations related to e-SMQUAL. 5.2.5 Following Fast-food brands and Expectations The reasons for brand engagement reflect the goal-oriented and loyalty motivations identified by the conceptual model of brand engagement (Malciute, 2012). However, the importance of friends following suggests a relationship between motivations for engagement and the experience with e-SMQUAL. While Malcuite (2012) postulates that the control variables for engagement relate to goals, resources and perceived cost or benefits, it seems like social identity and community belonging have also become important. This could be explained with Brodie et al.s (2011) preposition that individuals engage to for the purpose of learning, sharing, advocating, socializing and co-developing. Therefore, future research is required to examine whether a new measure for brand engagement needs to be developed or can these new factors fit within current engagement models. The expectations from engaging with brands confirm the first position of obtaining special offers and deals as identified by Five Column Media (cited in Shea, 2011). However, this studys findings demonstrate that loyalty is now replaced by the new variables of product news and customer service and support. This could be explained by the increasing consumers power in the last two years which have made them more demanding and prepared to switch between brands for better offers. In addition, these results could be applied to explain the hygiene factors of SNSs which would refer to the minimum accepted level of activities that consumers expect to find on a brands page. Therefore, companies must ensure that they offer at least special offers, product news and customer service and support.

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5.3 Implications for Business and Research


Fast-food companies need to recognise that prior to visiting their social media websites customers have certain expectations about the quality of the service they will receive. Individuals now judge not only the design of the website but also its features and activities offered. Key findings of this study outline the importance of product and brand engagement activities, such as participation in NPD and co-creation. Collaborating with customers is an effective relationship marketing strategy to add value to the experience with the brand and turn customers into brand ambassadors and evangelists (Smith and Zook, 2011). This deep level of engagement also increases loyalty and positive word-of-mouth which in its electronic form is the most costeffective advertising tool. In addition, fast-food brands need to follow a similar to the e-SQ approach when designing their social media websites, as shopping support features are still the most important criteria of excellent e-SMQUAL. Their pages must also reflect the interactive nature of social media with activities related to community building and emotional engagement. In terms of the intensity of engagement they can establish with followers, it is not socio-demographic characteristics that influence individuals decisions but expectations about e-SMQUAL. Finally, brand managers need to realise that Facebook fans are driven by certain expectations from that engagement. Thus, brands must aim to fulfill these expectations and understand the behavioural motivations of their followers. Based on the findings of this study, managers should especially focus on providing incentives, promotions, product news and customer support. For marketing research, the findings reveal opportunity to adapt some measures of eSQ to explain the expected service quality from social media websites. This study ascertains the need to design evaluative criteria for e-SMQUAL through combining eSQ measures with new constructs that reflect the interactive nature of social media. The importance of community building mirrors research carried out by Ellahi and Baghari (2012) but new insight is also brought from emerging theories on the Mere virtual presence of others and the Ladder of Engagement. Therefore, marketers can now look into building theories on the new concept of e-SMQUAL and identify its relationship with the intensity levels of consumers' brand engagement.

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5.4 Limitations of Study


A limitation to this study is the examination of only one community which does not allow the generalisability of the findings. In addition, the dominance of 4th year students is not representative of the student population and might be due to bias toward the researcher. The low incidence of other years of study, therefore, impeded the opportunity to assess the Facebook behaviours of these groups. Thus, the findings of the study might be limited to this special case and to the unique nature of the student experience. However, since this study is exploratory, this limitation was considered acceptable to meet the research aims. There are also limitations regarding the quantitative research method. Even though open answers were included, questionnaires have a limited capacity to explain causal processes. In addition, the survey asked respondents to consider a scenario of intending to visit the fan page of a fast-food brand which situation might have been of little relevance to their social media behaviours. Thus individuals were responding to an imaginary task rather than their actual experiences. Conversely, imaginary tasks have been successfully applied to marketing and consumer behaviour research and since this study aimed to only explore expectations, the lack of familiarity with the scenario was considered an advantage. In addition, the empirical model about e-SMQUAL relates to fast-food brands, which limits its generalisability and requires future testing in alternative settings. Despite the lower reliability of some factor categories, given the exploratory nature of the study, this was accepted. Therefore, the findings suggest that the model cannot fully explain the dimensions of e-SMQUAL and the variances in the levels of engagement with brands online. The study also excluded customer perceptions about quality. Due to time and resource constraints the "Expectation-Disconfirmation" model was not applied. Such approach has the potential to reveal the relationship between e-SMQUAL and satisfaction; thus producing more reliable evaluative criteria. Finally, the research was contextualised to Facebook fan pages and thus little is known whether the results can be generalised and applied to other social media platforms.

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5.5 Areas of Further Research


To address the limitation concerns, future research could explore Facebook behaviours in other brand settings and in terms of different demographic characteristics. Differences might exist for individuals in employment or of different age groups. Furthermore, future studies could collect longitudinal data over a series of years, involving first-year students and following them after graduation to analyse how their expectations change throughout university and in line with technology innovations.

In addition, qualitative data could generate new insight into e-SMQUAL. The use of focus groups, for example, might produce new statements to facilitate the development of a generalisable scale that measures the quality dimensions of social media websites. Applying the findings of this study to other social media platforms could also be an interesting area of future research. The full application of the ExpectationDisconfirmation model can also enable researchers to examine the differences between individuals perceptions and expectations about e-SMQUAL and relate the concept to customer satisfaction. Thus this study lays the foundation to a wide scope of research opportunities to establish, akin to the e-SQ models, a series of measures that capture the interactive nature of social media websites.

Future research could also examine the factors that influence the total number of Facebook friends, as this area seems to have a relationship with various sociodemographics. Since, customer brand engagement online is still difficult for companies to achieve, future studies should attempt to identify the underlying motivations behind the various levels of engagement intensity and to what extent e-SMQUAL could influence them. Therefore, future dissertation topics might include: Exploring the differences between customer expectations and perceptions of eSMQUAL and how they relate to customer satisfaction. Comparative studies exploring differences between the Facebook behaviours and consumer brand engagement expectations of various demographics, such as age groups, culture or employment status.

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Case studies on some of the most popular fast-food brands to examine how eSMQUAL is applied. Exploring the opportunity to apply e-SMQUAL measures to other social media platforms.

5.6 Conclusion
This chapter has discussed the conclusions and examined the management and marketing implications, along with future area for research. This study adapts the e-SQ measures to explore the quality of social media websites. New insight has been brought to reflect the interactive nature of social media. The findings outlined low levels of satisfaction with fast-food brands and reluctance in participating on their fan pages. Thus further research into this area is required with a more representative sample. This study has addressed a gap in previous research concerning consumer expectations of eSMQUAL. The results indicate that future research is necessary to test the proposed evaluative criteria and develop a generalisible scale to measure the quality of various social media platforms.

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Appendix 1
Questionnaire Structure This study aims to examine customer expectations about the quality of a social media website for a fast-food brand. The findings will be used to help marketers better

understand customer needs and hence design their Facebook pages of excellent service quality. The data collected is confidential and anonymous and will only be applied to the scope of this research. SECTION ONE - Demographic Details 1. Please indicate your year of study o 1st Year o 2nd Year o 3rd Year o 4th Year o Other Please specify_______ 2. What is your age? _ 3. Please circle your gender Male/Female

4. Do you have a Facebook profile? Y/N

SECTION TWO Facebook Usage Note: Facebook fan pages are special public profiles promoting brands, products, artists, web sites or organizations. Once the Facebook users visit the page, they are able to 'become fans' by clicking on the 'Like' button. The owners of the fan page post informational content which consequently appears in the news feed of their fans.

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Referring to your daily use of Facebook, please use the scale below to show the extent to which the following statements apply to you: Strongly disagree 5. Facebook is part of my everyday activity. 5 6. I am proud to tell people I'm on Facebook. 5 1 Neither Strongly agree 2 3 4

7. Facebook has become part of my daily routine. 1 5 8. I feel out of touch when I haven't logged onto Facebook for a while. 5 9. I feel I am part of the Facebook community. 5

10. I would be sorry if Facebook shut down. 5

11. Approximately how many TOTAL Facebook friends do you have? _______ 12. In the past week, approximately how many hours on average per day have you spent actively using Facebook? ___________ 13. Have you ever participated in any Facebook fan pages dedicated to brands? Yes/No 14. Have you ever joined a Facebook page of a brand? Yes/No

15. Have you ever liked a Facebook page of a brand? Yes/No

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SECTION THREE Expectations of a Social Media Website for a Fast-Food Brand

Direction: (please read before you complete this section)

Imagine that you want to engage with a fast-food brand through Facebook. Prior to this decision you have certain expectations about the quality of the brands page and activities. Please imagine the brands Facebook page that in your opinion would deliver excellent service and hence you would consider it of excellent quality. The section aims to examine what features and information you expect to find and why you would follow the brand online.

Using the scale below show the extent to which you would expect the Facebook page to have the aspects identified by each statement.

If you would NOT expect a feature to be present on an excellent quality Facebook page of a fast-food brand, like the one you imagine please circle 1 to show that you strongly disagree.

If you WOULD expect a feature to be present on an excellent quality Facebook page of a fast-food brand, like the one you imagine, please circle 5 to show that you strongly agree.

If your feelings are less strong, please circle one of the numbers in the middle. If you neither agree nor disagree please circle 3.

There are no right or wrong answers I just want to find out the number that truly reflects your feeling toward a Facebook page of a fast-food brand that would be considered of excellent quality.

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A Facebook page for a fast-food brand would be of excellent quality if it had the following aspects: Strongly disagree Neither Strongly agree

1. The Facebook page is easy to use. 1 2 3 4 5 2. While browsing on the brands Facebook page, I feel like my mind is more present in the Facebook world than the real world. 1 2 3 4 5 3. There is a strong privacy policy. 1 2 3 4 5 4. The page loads quickly. 1 2 3 4 5 5. I enjoy myself using the page. 1 2 3 4 5 6. The page has a visually 1 2 3 4 5 appealing design. 7. The page offers opportunity 1 2 3 4 5 to find new friends. 8. The page has a quick response 1 2 3 4 5 to complaints. 9. The page offers interactive features (videos, animation, jokes). 1 2 3 4 5 10. The page makes me feel happy. 1 2 3 4 5 11. The page offers opportunity to develop a relationship with 1 2 3 4 5 the brands representatives. 12. I can find product reviews, 1 2 3 4 5 peer recommendations. 13. The page has many Likes. 1 2 3 4 5 14. I get incentives for following (coupons, discounts). 1 2 3 4 5 15. There is interesting content (news of public interest). 1 2 3 4 5 16. There is product-related information. 1 2 3 4 5 17. The virtual presence of similar people (pictures of other followers are shown). 1 2 3 4 5 18. My friends also follow the brand. 1 2 3 4 5 19. I can participate in discussion forums.1 2 3 4 5 20. There is access to company blogs. 1 2 3 4 5 21. The page has contests and promotions.1 2 3 4 5 22. I can participate in new product development (share ideas). 1 2 3 4 5 23. I can take part in co-creating the brand 1 2 3 4 5 (ideas for advertising campaigns, logos). 24. I can order products through the page. 1 2 3 4 5

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25. The page is a way to effectively contact customer service. 1 2 3 4 5 SECTION Four FAST-FOOD BRANDS 16. Do you like a fast-food brand online (e.g. MacDonalds, Subway, KFC, Dominos)? o Yes o No 17. Which fast-food brand do you believe offers the best social media interaction and presence that make you feel satisfied with the quality of service delivered? _______________________ 18. Please give three examples of why you believe this company offers the best social media presence. 19. Have you ever encountered a social media brand page made that made you feel satisfied or dissatisfied? Please choose from the answers below. a. Yes satisfied b. Yes dissatisfied c. Both d. No 20. Please give an example of this experience. 21. Why do you like the Facebook page of a fast-food brand? If you have more than one reason, please indicate them in order. I am enthusiastic about the brands Facebook page. The Facebook page of the brand inspires me. I find the Facebook page full of meaning and purpose. I am excited when browsing on and interacting with the brand page. I am interested in the brand offerings. I am proud of being a fan of the brand. I am interested in being part of a brand community. I trust the brand and I am a loyal customer. I intend to make product recommendations. Friends are fans of the brand. Other Please specify____ 22. What do you expect from your engagement with that brand? Interesting and engaging content. Customer service and support. Product news. Special offers, deals. No expectations Other Please specify____________

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Appendix 2

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