Title page for ETD etd-11152012-080937

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Galster, Jennifer Marie
URN etd-11152012-080937
Title Identifying Opinion Leaders and Their Activity on a Local Apparel Business Facebook Fan-Page
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Human Ecology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Liu, Chuanlan Committee Chair
Chen, Ye-Sho Committee Member
Kuttruff, Jenna Committee Member
McRoberts, Lisa Committee Member
  • Small Business
  • Opinion Leaders
  • Word of Mouth
  • Facebook
Date of Defense 2012-11-12
Availability unrestricted
As technology continues to grow, new marketing opportunities arise. Facebook is an online social network that allows companies to understand their consumer base (Shih, 2011). Little research has been conducted to understand how Facebook is used as a marketing tool. Word of mouth advertising is created on Facebook fan-pages, business pages that allow consumers to interact with each other with User-Generated Content (UGC). Identifying opinion leaders on these fan-pages can help businesses understand their customers and help them build relationships with them on Facebook. The current research presents a qualitative approach to profiling users of a Facebook fan-page wall, identifying opinion leaders, and analyzing the documented messages on the wall. The Facebook fan-page used was from Tru Colors Apparel a local apparel business targeting college football fans in the South East region of the United States. The profile identified thirty-three opinion leaders, whose comments were analyzed for themes. Eighteen themes were identified from the fan comments and opinion leader comments. The themes identified were brand/line, styles, excitement, purchase intention, purchase, team spirit, suggestions, pricing, sizing, photos, store/location, website, gratitude, emails, blog referral, recommendations, winners, and articles. The comments were analyzed over a three season period. The three seasons are defined based on the football season from June to February. Each comment from all the fans and from the opinion leaders were compared to identify relationships between themes and to support the identification process of opinion leaders. Purchase intention, Team Spirit, and the Brand/Line were consistently more prevalent when comparing the opinion leader comments to the other fans comments. Implications are presented for small apparel companies with narrow niche markets.
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