Optimal Use of Social Media From the Perspective of Brand Equity in Startups with a Data Approach

Document Type : Original Manuscript


1 Department of Business Management, Central Tehran branch, Islamic Azad university,Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Business Management, NorthTehran branch, Islamic Azad university,Tehran, Iran.


The purpose of this study is to identify the effective factors of optimal use of social media in the brand equity of startup companies. To this end, the researcher collected the required data using snowball sampling, protocol design, and exploratory interviews with sixteen university experts, the industry in this field, and senior managers of accelerator companies and startups. Maxqda 18 software was used to analyze the interviews. In the open coding process, the researcher first identified 170 codes and categorized them into 8 categories. Then, based on the theoretical literature and using the opinion of academic experts in axial coding based on Strauss and Corbin paradigm model, the relevant model was extracted and finally the selective coding was performed. To evaluate the validity of coding, Peer check method, the member check method and reliability by Field note were conducted. The results indicate that the main phenomena is using social media in startups and the communicational dimension as causal factors, cognitive dimension, and attitude in the position of strategies, brand characteristics as background factors, relational dimension, and rules and regulations as intervening factors and finally behavioral dimension were obtained as the consequences of the model.

Graphical Abstract

Optimal Use of Social Media From the Perspective of Brand Equity in Startups with a Data Approach


  • Identifying the effective factors of optimal use of social media
  • Frequency distribution of category groups with interviews
  • Axial coding step diagram based on Strauss and Corbin systematic approach
  • Selective coding step diagram and present theory


Aaker, D. (1991). Managing brand equity: Capitalizing on the value of a brand name (Vol. 299): Free press New York
Aaker, D. (1996). Measuring brand equity across products and markets. California management review, (38)3, 102-121.
Abimbola, T., 2001. "Branding as a competitive strategy for demand management in SMEs". Journal of research in marketing and entrepreneurship, 3(2): 97-106.
Ainin, S., Parveen, F., Moghavvemi, S., Jaafar, N.I. & Mohd Shuib, N.L. (2015). Factors influencing the use of social media by SMEs and its performance outcomes. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 115(3), 570-588.
Akhtar, S. (2011, July 12). Social Media and Brand Loyalty. Retrieved from:  http://www.socialtrakr.com [Accessed 7 March        2019].  
Alalwan. A. A, (2017), “Telematics and Informatics” , journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tele, p.14.
Arade, J. (2010). Social Media and books. Mehr book Quarterly, (1).34.
Atilgan, c. (2015). Developing a Guideline for Start-ups and Small Scaled Companies for the Selection and Usage of Social Media A CASE STUDY ANALYSIS OF CLAIMONY. School of Computer Science and Communication. Royal Institute of Technology.
Atilgan, E., Aksoy, S., & Akinci, S. (2005). Determinants of the brand equity: A verification approach in the beverage industry in Turkey. Marketing intelligence & planning, 23(3), 237-248.
Bacile, T., Hoffacker, C. and White, A. (2014), “Emerging challenges in social media: service as marketing communication signals”, International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 34-51.
Basirian Jahromi, H. (2013). Social media dimensions and capacities. Culture, Art and Communication.
Bresciani, S., & Eppler, M. J. (2010). "Brand new ventures? Insights on start-ups' branding practices". Journal of Product & Brand Management, 19(5): 356-366.
Charleszorth, A. (2016). An Introduction to Social Media Marketing. Kind Book publishing Institute.
Christou, E. (2015). Branding social media in the travel industry. Proc. Soc. Behav. Sci. 175, 607–614.
Chu, S.-C., & Kim, Y. (2011). Determinants of consumer engagement in electronic wordof-mouth (eWOM) in social networking sites. International Journal of Advertising, 30(1): 47-75.
Danaei Fard, H. & Emami, S. M. (2007). Qualitative Research Strategies: A Reflection on the Theory of Data-Based Theory. Strategic Management Thought, (2): 96-97.
Dong-Hun, L. (2010). Korean Consumer & Society: Growing Popularity of Social Media and Business Strategy. SERI Quarterly, 3(4), 112. Dutta, S. (2010). What’s your personal social media strategy?. Harvard Business Review, 88(11), 127–130. 
Edosomwan, S., Prakasan, S. K., Kouame, D., Watson, J., & Seymour, T. (2011). The History of Social Media and its Impact on Business. The Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 16(3), 79-91.
Erdoğmuş, I. E., & Çiçek, M. (2012). The impact of social media marketing on brand loyalty. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 58, 1353-1360.
Farasatkhah, M. (2016). Qualitative research method in the social siences with emphasis on "grounded theory" (GTM). Agah Publishing. Qara Che, M., Roosta, A., Azizi, Sh. & Javidani, M. (1396). Brand Sales Strategy in Iran's fast-moving consumer products industry; Nature, Predictions and Consequences. Vision of Business Management, (31): 83-101.
Ghadimi Dizaj, R., & Miri Disfani, M. (2016). The Impact of Customer Relationship Factors on Brand Equity: In Suppliers Companies of Iranian Petrochemical Industry. Master's Thesis. Department of Business, Administration, Technology and Social Sciences. Lulea University of Technology. 
Goodman, H. , & Enghel, F. (2015). Connecting Tech Startups to Users:  An Explorative Case Study of Dubble on Social Media Through the Duration of an Accelerator Program. Master's Thesis. Department of Infornation and Media.UPPSALA UNIVERSITET. 
Hajli, M. N. (2014). A study of the impact of social media on consumers. International Journal of Market Research, 56(3): 387–404.
He, Y. (2016). Examining the Effect of Social Media Communication on Brand Equity Creation. Master's Thesis. School of Business. Concordia University.
Horan, G., O'Dwyer, M., & Tiernan, S. (2011). Exploring management perspectives of branding in service SMEs. Journal of Services Marketing, 25(2), 114-121.
Hudson, S., Huang, L., Roth, M.S., & Madden, T.J. (2016). The influence of social media interactions on consumer–brand relationships: a three-country study of brand perceptions and marketing behaviors. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33(1), 27-41.
Ioanna Kourti, A. (2015). Developing a social media strategy model for startup companies: A case study of Sharplet. Master's Thesis. School for Computer Science and Communication. KTH - Royal Institute of Technology.
Jackson, N. (2011). Infographic: Using Social Media to Build Brand Loyalty. Retrieved form http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/07/infographic-using-social-media-to- buildbrand-loyalty/241701/.  [Accessed 12 July 2018].  
Jones, N., Borgman, R., & Ulusoy, E. (2015). Impact of social media on small businesses. Journal of vSmall Business and Enterprise Development, 22(4), 611-632.
Kaplan, A. M. (2012). If you love something, let it go mobile: mobile marketing and mobile social media 4×4. Business Horizons, 55(2), 129-139.     
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2009b). The fairyland of second life: About virtual social worlds and how to use them. Business Horizons, 52(6), 563—572.
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and Opportunities of Social Media, Business Horizons 53, 59-68.      
Keller L. K., & Lehmann D. R. (2006). Brands and branding: Research findings and future priorities. Marketing Science, 25(6), 740–759.
Keller, K. L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 1-22.
Keller, K. L., & Lehmann, D. (2003). The brand value chain: Optimizing strategic and financial brand performance. Marketing Management, 12, 26–31.
Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241-251.
Kimmel, A.J., & Kitchen, P.J. (2014). "WOMand social media: presaging future directions for research and practice". Journal of Marketing Communications, 20(1/2): 5-20.
 Kirtiş, A. K., & Karahan, F. (2011). To be or not to be in social media arena as the most costefficient marketing strategy after the global recession. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 24, 260-268.
Kotler, PH. & Keller, K. L. (2016), Marketing Management. Adabstan.
Labrecque, L. I., vor dem Esche, J., Mathwick, C., Novak, T. P., & Hofacker, C. F. (2013). Consumer power: evolution in the digital age. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 27(4), 257-269.
Lagerstedt, m., & Mademlis, A. (2017). "Branding for startup companies in Sweden". Master Thesis. Department of Business and Economic Studies. Hogskolan  I gavle.
MacKinnon, D. P., & Fairchild, A. J. (2009). "Current directions in mediation analysis". Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(1): 16-20.
Maio Mackay M. (2001). Evaluation of brand equity measures: further empirical results. The Journal of Product and Brand Management, 10(1), 38–51.
Mangold, W. G. & Faulds, D. J. (2009). Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix. Business Horizons, 52, 357-365. 
Muhlbacher, H., Hemetsberger, A., Thelen, E., Vallaster, C., Massimo, R., Füller, J., & Kittinger, C. (2006). "Brands as Complex Social Phenomena".
Nakara, W. A., Benmoussa, F. Z., & Jaouen, A. (2012). Entrepreneurship and social media marketing:evidence from French small business. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 16(4), 386-405.
Ngai, E. W. T., Tao, S. S. C., & Moon, K. K. (2015). Social media research: Theories, constructs, and conceptual frameworks. International Journal of Information Management, 35(1), 33-44.
Nobre, H., & Silva, D. (2014). Social Network Marketing Strategy and SME Strategy Benefits. Journal of Transnational Management, 19(2), 138-151. 
Nyanduko, N. Ch., (2016). The effect of social media use on building brand equity among three star hotels in Nairobi country, Kenya. Master's Thesis. Marketing School. UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI.
Oreilly, T. (2005). What is web 2. Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved from  http://www.digizen.org/socialnetworking.
Priyanka, S. (2013). A study of online advertising on consumer behaviour. International Journal of  Engineering and Management Sciences, 3(4), 461–465.
Reis, E. (2017) The Startup way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term growth. Industrial Management Organization Publications.
Rode, V., & Vallaster, C. (2005). Corporate branding for start-ups: the crucial role of entrepreneurs. Corporate Reputation Review, 8(2), 121-135
Safko, L. (2012). The social media bible: tactics, tools, and strategies for business success. John Wiley & Sons.
Sashi, C. M. 2012. Customer engagement, buyer-seller relationships, and social media. Management Decision, 50(2), 253–272.
Shuv-Ami, A. (2016). A new market brand equity model (MBE). EuroMed Journal of Business, 11(3), 322-346.
Solis, B. (2010). Engage!, Hoboken, New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons.
Solomon, M. R. & Totten, T. (2016). Social Media Marketing: A New Approach to Advanced Electronic Marketing. Alam Publishing.
Spence, M., & Hamzaoui Essoussi, L. (2010). SME brand building and management: an exploratory study. European Journal of Marketing, 44(7/8), 1037-1054. 
Startup report. Ministry of Industry & Trade & Mines, December (2016). https://www.mimt.gov.ir  The undeniable role of startup in creating employment and economic growth in the country. IRNA 10 december (2016) https://www.irna.ir/news/83153211/   Sanctions are a golden opportunity for startups. ISNA.  7 june (2016)  https://www.isna.ir/news/97051005340             
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research- Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. (2nd ed.). CA: Sage.
Tradd Salvo, M. (2016). Social Media Engagement: Identifying the Predictive Anatomy of Organic Social Content. Master of Arts. The University of Texas at Austin.
Tsimonis, G., & Dimitriadis, S. (2014). Brand strategies in social media. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 32(3), 328–344.
Vazquez, R., Del Rio, A. B., & Iglesias, V. (2002). Consumer-based brand equity: development and validation of a measurement instrument. Journal of Marketing management, 18(1-2), 27-48.
Virtanen, H., Björk, P., & Sjöström, E. (2017). Follow for follow: marketing of a start-up company on Instagram. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 24(3), 468-484.
Weinberg, B. D., & Pehlivan, E. (2011). Social spending: managing the social media mix. Business Horizons, 54(3), 275-282.
Yin Wong, H., & Merrilees, B. (2005). A brand orientation typology for SMEs: a case research approach. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 14(3), 155-162.
Zheng, X., Cheung, C. M. K., Lee, M. K. O., & Liang, L. (2015). Building Brand Loyalty Through User Engagement In Online Brand Communities In Social Networking Sites. Information Technology & People, 28(1), 90-106. https://www.startupranking.com/what-is-a-startup