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BizReport : Social Marketing : July 21, 2014

Research: Social media users less likely to post positively about their favorite products

Researchers from Universities in Britain, Australia and the U.S. have found that users of social media are less likely to use those websites to post positive opinions about their favorite brands and services.

by Helen Leggatt

Because of the diversity of friends or Followers a person has on social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter, users are less likely to express positive views on their favorite products or services.

Such is the finding of research carried out by Imperial College Business School, Cornell University, Leeds University Business School, Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Melbourne.

The reason for the lack of promoting a like for a product or service is because users don't want to risk exposing themselves to adverse comments.

According to Dr Andreas Eisingerich, co-author of the report from Imperial College Business School, social media users "would rather communicate via word of mouth because many users don't want to embarrass themselves online as work colleagues or acquaintances may not endorse or appreciate the same products that they do. Our report could influence how businesses spend advertising budgets on social media websites".

The survey of 407 subjects, in both face-to-face and lab conditions, also found that those who did share their opinions about a product or service they liked did so because it raised their self-esteem and made them feel good about themselves. In fact, as a user's need for boosting their self-esteem increased, so did their willingness to air their views.

"The researchers suggest that the findings of the report can be used by social media companies and marketers to take steps to ensure that consumers do not feel threatened by these online social risks," says Maxine Myers, Media and Communications Officer for Imperial College Business School. "This includes providing opportunities for consumers to selectively share their opinions with members of their social network.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: product endorsement, research, social media

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