Insight of the Week: Who Reads Your Content on Social Media?

Here at CMO Central, we analyze the impact of social media frequently— within industries, in the context of the week’s business news, and inside cutting-edge research. There are many worthwhile reasons to explore the way social media influences our habits and buying power, but ultimately it all comes down to the sheer scale of social media platforms: Pew reports that 62% of the whole American adult population uses Facebook, for example.

So what do all those users look at on social media and how does it influence their purchasing habits? Can brands benefit from being active on social media platforms, too? A team of Finnish, Indian and American researchers posed those same questions and came up with some concrete—and actionable— results.

This week’s insight: Don’t be afraid to share your brand’s know-how on social media. If you combine it with strong advertising campaigns in other domains, you can reach customers on multiple levels.
Research study: “From Social to Sale: The Effects of Firm Generated Content in Social Media on Customer Behavior” by Ashish Kumar, Ram Bezawada, Rishika Rishika, Ramkumar Janakiraman, and P.K. Kannan, Journal of Marketing In-Press, October 2015.
What they did: The researchers examined data on subjects’ use of social media alongside their purchase history. They then conducted a survey to determine their attitudes toward company-generated content on social media.
What they found: Social media users actually responded favorably to content created by brands on the platforms they use. The response was more favorable when the brands also used other forms of advertising, as well, such as TV spots or email campaigns.
And it worked particularly well for a certain sub-set of users: heavy social media users who knew their way around technology— perhaps, the researchers conjectured, because these users were more receptive to content from brands online.
In other words, brands shouldn’t shy away from posting corporate-created content on social media, but should support their efforts with supplemental advertising elsewhere and understand which “super users” will be most receptive to their work.

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