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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY ON CONSUMER BRAND CHOICE IN CAMEROON ( A CASE STUDY OF INDOMIE INSTANT NOODLES)

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY ON CONSUMER BRAND CHOICE IN CAMEROON ( A CASE STUDY OF INDOMIE INSTANT NOODLES)

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

The competitive character of the business environment demonstrates that marketing plays a crucial role in facilitating the allocation of commodities from production to the end customers. Marketing is conducted via a variety of methods, which include numerous features such as networking, geomarketing, tribal marketing, viral marketing, e-marketing, and many more. Currently, social media marketing is the most widely used method (Chen, 2017). The social media landscape has seen rapid expansion as a result of the growing number of internet users. This has resulted in corporate operations being propelled by technology and online shopping platforms that have fostered the emergence of the digital culture. Regardless of its form, this marketing strategy has the ability to sway consumer preferences, generate awareness, and cultivate customer loyalty or indifference towards a certain brand (De Veirman, Cauberghe & Hudders, 2017). Businesses conduct research to attract customers' attention and establish a favourable and enduring brand image in their thoughts, ultimately fostering brand loyalty. Typically, this is accomplished by effectively using all available communication channels to establish a brand's worth to its clients. Social media is a digital platform where individuals with similar interests gather to exchange their thoughts, opinions, and concepts around a certain commodity or brand. Weber's work from 2009. According to this statement, companies exploit the interactions of social media users by persuading (via positive persuasion) their consumers to share their purchase experience with other users on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, etc. Social media marketing is the use of any social network platform to promote and advertise a certain product or service(Lou & Yuan, 2019). Social media marketing enables a firm to interact with current consumers and attract new ones, while also providing a platform to promote their intended values and goals. Social media may be defined from four different angles. Firstly, the technical viewpoint posits that social media is a fusion of mobile and web-based technology. In other words, online apps created using Web 2.0 technology include the functionalities of social media. This approach delineates the overarching functionalities of social media. Furthermore, the General User Perspective highlights the disparities between social media and conventional media (Smith, 2021). The second method elucidates how social media users actively contribute to the production and evolution of material, in contrast to conventional media where users are only passive consumers of information. Thus, social media enables the exchange of information, the establishment of connections, and the sharing and engagement with others' perspectives and experiences. Approach number three focuses on the correlation between information and communication from a Business viewpoint, which is comparable to the perspective of the general user. The primary focus is on the use of social media by organisations to collect and disseminate information to their customers. The content of social media activities plays a crucial role in influencing customer preferences. As consumers are exposed to a large quantity of information on the web and social media, their preferences for brands tend to develop and evolve (Anusha, 2016). Brand choice refers to a consumer's inclination to choose and use a certain product, even when other options are available. It is important to recognise that social media marketing has a significant impact on customer decisions, which in turn affects their buying behaviour, level of trust, and ability to share experiences and information with other consumers. Although social media marketing provides distinct benefits, it is crucial to comprehend its efficacy in relation to conventional marketing platforms. For many years, traditional marketing has been the primary method of promoting brands via widespread channels such as television, radio, and print media. Nevertheless, the participatory aspect of social media marketing offers possibilities for more focused and individualised communication (Sasmita & Narozah, 2015). This level of interaction facilitates prompt response and active involvement, fostering a more dynamic connection between companies and customers. Although social media marketing is increasingly relied upon, there is still a need for thorough study to thoroughly comprehend its influence on customer brand selection. Current research offers valuable insights into certain elements, such as the impact of influencers or the efficacy of user-generated material. However, there is a dearth of comprehensive knowledge on how various social media methods collectively shape consumer choices. This research aims to fill this gap by investigating the Influence of social media marketing strategy on consumer brand choice in Cameroon ( A case study of Indomie instant noodles).

Statement of the problem

The 21st Century is often referred to as the digital age, when marketing has transitioned from old methods to a new approach that incorporates strategy and technology. Due to this change in marketing, businesses have now embraced contemporary techniques that allow them to adapt to the shifts in the global market. Social media is a contemporary tactic that corporations are using in the worldwide market. since a result, many businesses, particularly small and medium-sized organisations, have shifted their operations to the internet platform (Sasmita & Narozah, 2015). This allows a greater number of clients to access their products and services, since they can now conveniently use their mobile phones to access these companies' services.The impact of social media on consumer behaviour has been well recognised. As stated by Chen (2017), social media refers to a range of online platforms that enable users to create and share information, connect with others, and build communities. These activities have a substantial impact on consumer choices. Lou & Yuan (2019) argue that social media functions as a combination of conventional advertising and user-generated material, enhancing its influence on customer perceptions and brand preferences. An essential element of social media marketing is choosing the channels on which companies interact with their audience. Various platforms appeal to distinct demographics and user behaviours, which may have a substantial impact on marketing results (Ashley & Tuten, 2015). Platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, which prioritise visual content, are likely to be more impactful for marketers aiming to reach younger audiences. On the other hand, Facebook may be more suited for reaching a wider and more varied range of people. It is crucial to determine the most prominent platforms in certain market groups in order to optimise social media marketing tactics.The nature of the material disseminated on social media platforms significantly influences customer decisions about brand preferences. A study conducted by Kotler & Armstrong (2018) suggests that multimedia material, such as videos and photos, elicits more engagement compared to text-based postings, resulting in increased levels of customer involvement and brand memory. Moreover, the genuineness of material created by users and the perceived reliability of influencers may significantly impact consumer attitudes and actions (de Veirman, Cauberghe, & Hudders, 2017).Furthermore, social media facilitates direct engagement between businesses and customers, promoting a feeling of camaraderie and dedication. Ashley & Tuten, (2015) found that active interaction, such as commenting, like, and sharing, not only boosts brand exposure but also strengthens customer loyalty and buy intentions. The reliability of the information conveyed and the emotional connection built via personalised communication significantly impact this interaction (Hudson et al., 2016). However, there is still a notable lack of information about the exact processes by which social media marketing methods impact consumer brand selection. Several research have examined certain aspects of social media marketing, such as choosing the right platform or creating different types of content. However, these studies have not offered a complete understanding of how these variables combine and impact customer choices (Felix, Rauschnabel, & Hinsch, 2017). Furthermore, the fast advancement of social media platforms and marketing strategies need ongoing investigation to stay up to date with shifting customer behaviours and preferences. Hence, this study seeks to address this deficiency by methodically investigating the  Influence of social media marketing strategy on consumer brand choice in Cameroon ( A case study of Indomie instant noodles).

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate the influence of social media marketing strategy on consumer brand choice in Cameroon (A case study of Indomie instant noodles). The specific objectives is as follows

To determine the social media platforms mostly used in influencing consumer choices of Indomie instant noodle.

To ascertain how social media marketing strategies influence consumers' intent to purchase Indomie instant noodle.

To assess whether the different types of content used in social media marketing influences consumer choice of Indomie instant noodle.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What are the social media platforms mostly used in influencing consumer choices of Indomie instant noodle?

How has social media marketing strategies influence consumers' intent to purchase Indomie instant noodle?

Do the different types of content used in social media marketing influences consumer choice of Indomie instant noodle?

1.5 Significance of the study

The study will be significant to business organizations as understanding the impact of social media marketing on consumer brand choice can provide valuable insights for businesses in developing effective marketing strategies. By identifying which social media tactics are most influential, businesses can allocate resources more efficiently and optimize their marketing efforts to better engage with consumers. In addition, the study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature. It will also add to library resources and serve as a guide to researchers who might want to further explore the topic in the nearest future.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on the Influence of social media marketing strategy on consumer brand choice in Cameroon ( A case study of Indomie instant noodles). Empirically, the study will determine the social media platforms mostly used in influencing consumer choices of Indomie instant noodle,  ascertain how social media marketing strategies influence consumers' intent to purchase Indomie instant noodle and assess whether the different types of content used in social media marketing influences consumer choice of Indomie instant noodle.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to producers of Indomie instant noodles in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Social Media: Online platforms and technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks. 

Social Media Marketing: The process of using social media platforms to promote products or services, engage with customers, and build brand awareness. This includes activities such as posting content, running advertisements, and interacting with followers.

Consumer Brand Choice: The decision-making process by which consumers select one brand over others within a particular product category, influenced by factors such as brand perception, marketing strategies, and personal preferences.

Engagement Tactics: Strategies used by brands to interact with and capture the attention of consumers on social media platforms. These can include likes, comments, shares, and direct messages.

Content Types: Various forms of media used in social media marketing, including text posts, images, videos, live streams, and stories. Different content types can influence consumer engagement and brand perception in diverse ways.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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