Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Millennials' personal connection with brands via social media tools
by Frady, David, M.S., The Florida State University, 2011, 70; 1508395
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the relationship between Millennials' (also referred to as Generation Y) engagement with brands on social media outlets and the relationship they have with brands they interact with. Many organizations are shifting their marketing and public relations dollars away from traditional media outlets to social media outlets, yet there is little academic research on the effectiveness of these efforts. Moreover, there is much debate over how to measure success in social media campaigns.

In this thesis, nearly 700 Millenial students at Florida State University were surveyed to examine their level of social media use, engagement with brands, and attitudes about the brands they interacted with. A modified version of Bruning and Galloway's (2003) Organization-Public Relations Scale was used to test the relationships that brands build through their social media efforts. This scale is a diagnostic tool for managers of Organization-Public relationships to measure relationships with key publics. Two dimensions, Anthropomorphic and Personal-Commitment, were used to assess the connection Millenials had with the brands they interacted with on Facebook and Twitter. Race and gender were also examined for correlation with social media engagement.

Statistical analyses were conducted to determine the level of correlation between exposure and engagement with messages from brands on social media and participants' connections to brands. Spearman Rho correlation tests confirmed significant positive relationships between reading and sharing messages on social media outlets and the respondents' commitment and trust associated with the brands they followed.

Chi-Squared tests indicated that female participants spend more time on social media outlets in general. Research results indicated that demographics did not have significant correlations with Personal-Commitment or Anthropomorphic values. Nearly all participants (98.6%) indicated using Facebook or Twitter in the last 90 days and most (92.6%) indicated following at least one brand on either outlet.

This study builds on the current body of knowledge in the marketing and public relations fields by providing specific information about the way Millenials interact with brands on social media outlets. These fields deal primarily with managing the perception of brands in the eyes of consumers and managing relationships with those consumers on behalf of organizations. This study provides some preliminary information for brands to make more informed decisions about social media strategy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rayburn, Jay D.
Commitee: Bunz, Ulla, DuBard, John, Gilmer, Gerry, Houck, Davis
School: The Florida State University
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 50/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Sociology
Keywords: Brand, Facebook, Marketing, Millennial, Public relations, Social media
Publication Number: 1508395
ISBN: 978-1-267-27458-8
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