Two essays on social media usage: The impact social media mere exposure on brand choice and the profile of the social media maven

Abstract

As consumers rapidly adopt social media, marketers recognize social media comprises an important part of the integrated marketing communications (IMC) mix. Social media is used to cultivate relationships with consumers; in addition other possible outcomes include consumer word of mouth, brand-to-consumer problem resolution, and influence on consumer attitudes toward a brand, such as purchase intention. In Essay 1, implications related to mere exposure to brands are explored through an experiment with four studies conducted with rapid presentation of a social media site. These studies test differences between types of social media exposure and brand choice in both high-involvement and low-involvement product scenarios. Further, content originated by brands for both high- and low-involvement products is tested against content originated by consumers as it relates to brand choice. Finally, the impact of reference group is tested on consumer and brand generated content about high and low involvement product brand choice. In Essay 2, the concept of the market maven in social media is explored through identity theory. Social media breadth (including network size, media commitment, and frequency of usage) is investigated in relation to two types of appraisal (self- and reflected) of perceived influence on social media sites. These appraisals are examined against identity importance; in the hierarchy of role-identities, participants who identify that social media is identity salient are posited to have a propensity to share product information in social media (as measured by the market maven construct). The outcome of this study provides initial exploration of antecedents of the social media market mavenism and what appraisals influence propensity to share product information online. Together, these two initiatives apply the theoretical lenses of incidental exposure, social identity, and market maven theory to better understand how consumers behave in regards to brands given this new context of social media communities.

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Keywords

Marketing, Social Media, Identity Theory, Consumer Behavior, Market Maven, Mere Exposure, Brand Choice, Facebook

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