عنوان مقاله [English]
The advent of social media in the last decade has changed the speed and scope of communication and interaction between individuals and organizations around the world and has also affected the way we behave and communicate with others. Comparing to the offline environment, the online environment offers more opportunities for interactive and personal marketing. Nowadays, brands use social media extensively to attract customers and have expanded in social networks, Which is one of the used strategies to increase the fans and using their club customers for getting more customers. Linking brand communities to social media leads us to the concept of brand communities created on social media, which is a subset of the broader concept of "virtual communities" or online brand communities. Brand communities also provide brand information to members of the community and help the organization to build a strong brand; At the same time, brand communities help to share information, to continue brand history and culture, and help consumers to promote loyalty. Social media plays a key role in making relationships between existing and potential customers and promoting their loyalty. The issue of loyalty is important, because it can be said that the most important property of many companies are their loyal customers. Various factors and variables play a role in creating loyalty. The results of previous research have shown that to what extent social media has a role in attracting customers and raising their demands, and as a result, increasing level of loyalty. This can also be true for Iranian sports clubs, but it needs a scientific study. In this study, the components of opinion seeking (user characteristics) and entertainment value (content features) of club's social media, participation and customer interaction in the club's social media and online brand social identity with loyalty were examined. The brand literature and research background have not paid enough attention to the relationship between these components and customer loyalty and there is still no coherent framework for it. Given this content and the importance of promoting loyalty, the researcher in this study examined the role of social media on online brand community identification and loyalty of sports club customers. The research method is descriptive and correlation kind, which was performed in the field form and is in the category of applied research. The instrument used in this research was the Yoshida et al. (2018) questionnaire, which includes this sections: demographic questions and specialized questions, including opinion seeking (user features) with 3 items, entertainment value (content features) With 3 items, online brand social identification with 3 items, social media interaction with 7 items and customer loyalty with 3 items. The statistical population of the study included the customers of fitness and aerobics clubs in Mashhad, which had active social media such as Instagram, Telegram and the website, and presented special activities to attract and interaction their customers on these pages. G-Power software was used to determine the sample size. Based on the software output, the statistical sample size should be 197 people. The research questionnaire was designed online and posted on the clubs' social media, and finally 190 complete questionnaires were received, which was acceptable considering the 95% return rate. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. Findings showed the Cronbach's alpha value and the combined reliability were higher than 0.7 and the factor loading of all items was greater than 0.4, indicating the reliability of the measurement model. The AVE value for all components was greater than 0.5, indicating the convergent validity of the measurement model. Fornell-Larker test also showed that divergent validity of the research model is appropriate that. In the structural model, T values were greater than 1.96, which indicates the significance of the path coefficients, and R2 also greater than 0.36, which confirms the quality of the structural model. Also, the value of GOF was 0.61, which indicates a strong fit of the model. Based on the test results of the research model there was a significant relationship between opinion seeking(user characteristics) of club's social media and participation in social media, there was a significant relationship between opinion seeking and Online brand community identification, there was a significant relationship between opinion seeking and customer loyalty. There was a significant relationship between entertainment value (content features) of club's social media and participation in social media, there was a significant relationship between entertainment value and Online brand community identification, there was a significant relationship between entertainment value and customer loyalty. There was a significant relationship between participation in social media and Online brand community identification. There was a significant relationship between participation in social media and customer loyalty. Finally there was a significant relationship between Online brand community identification and customer loyalty of fitness and aerobics clubs in Mashhad. Therefore, the ability to opinion seeking and entertainment value of club's social media is effective in customer online brand social identification and loyalty. Also as the level of interaction and participation among customers increases, long-term relationships will be formed between them, the online brand social identification will be strengthened, and ultimately the level of customer loyalty will increase. It is necessary for managers to be more careful in using these media and networks because it is a good platform to retain customers and attract new customers. In this regard, it is recommended to club managers: use the Instagram social network because it is used more by customers and on the other hand provides the conditions for communication and two-way interaction, and also attractive visual content can be sent through it. Produce and publish quality content related to the conditions of the club and prevent from providing unrelated content, which will reduce the attractiveness of the page. One of the best and fastest ways to increase customer engagement and participation in social networks is to hold a competition, so by creating various competitions and challenges with the presence of famous people, you can increase the number of visits and interactions in the social network and attractiveness of your page.