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Social Media Advertising, Consumer Brand Preference And Monster Energy Drinks, Media Richness Theory
Despite the surging appropriation of social media by marketers for communicative marketing of brands, what remains under-explored in literature is the capacity of social media platforms to influence student preferences for brands. This research gap is ironic given the growing literature on the potential of self-images shared on social media to influence consumers’ product preferences and purchase intentions. Drawing on Media Richness Theory, agency, extant literature and authors’ personal reflections on social media adoption for brand selection by students, this theoretical study examines how students navigate such platforms to make informed choices about energy drinks. The findings suggest while students exploited social media platforms intermittently to access energy drink brands, their brand preferences and choices were informed by personal agency (especially personal volition, peer influences, convenience and availability of brands) more than social media networks per se. The study contributes a conceptual model that integrate social media appropriation, consumer decision making, brand preferences and purchases. While the model is untested, its methodological strength lays in its reliance on extant literature, proven concepts, anecdotes of student consumption behavior and authors’ knowledge of social media, which are critical to deepening academics and policy makers’ understanding of social media-brand preference relations in real world contexts.