Do Human Values matter for Promoting Brands on Social Media?: How Social Media Users’ Values influence their Engagement with Sharing, Content Creation and Reviews

Accepted for publication in Journal of Consumer Behaviour (Special Issue on “Consumer Behaviour and Social Media”).

Abstract: Social media-based consumer engagement behaviors, such as sharing, content creation and reviews for brands as more valuable than “liking” or consuming brand content. As consumers trust consumer-driven recommendations more than advertising, brand content shared or created by consumers on social media may drive brand awareness and loyalty. Marketing researchers and practitioners are only recently beginning to understand social media audiences who engage in such behaviors. This is the first study that posits that human values can be used to identify and segment audiences for social media-based brand activities. Three online surveys were conducted with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users (millennial users, ages 18-34) on Amazon Mechanical Turk (N=491). The relationship between social media users’ values and their reported social media activities were examined. Findings indicate that the human values examined (conservation, self-enhancement, openness to change, self-transcendence) are indeed important drivers of valuable brand-related activities. Specifically, conservation-driven users are most likely to engage in brand sharing and creation activities. Companies should also target conservation-driven users for promotions, self-enhancement-driven users for informational content and reviews, and openness to change-driven users for content creation (user-generated content). Companies should further highlight their corporate social responsibility efforts as there is a negative relationship between self-transcendence values and brand activities. Recommendations are provided on how companies can address users’ values in their social media-based marketing to motivate sharing of branded content (information, promotions, reviews, ads and stories) and creation of brand content (UGC and reviews).

Joe Phua 

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