The secret to mastering social media marketing may have more to do with your products and company than the content you produce, as consumers are more likely to discuss interesting companies and products on social media, new research has found.
Researchers Jonah Berger and Raghuram Iyengar of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania said this finding reflects a new reality: Social media and new technology have changed the way people communicate. The growth of online communication has created gaps in conversation. Because online communication doesn't always occur in real time, those gaps allow people to spend more time crafting a message.
"Whereas oral communication tends to be instantaneous (one person says something and then another responds almost immediately), written conversations tend to have longer gaps (consumers respond to emails, texts or Facebook messages hours or days later)," wrote Berger and Iyengar. "Rather than saying whatever comes to mind, consumers can take the time to think about what to say or edit their communication until it is polished.
The researchers said those gaps in conversation allow consumers to take longer to think before responding. Written communication also gives people the opportunity to refine and edit their message.
In turn, consumers are able to think more about interesting products in their responses. For example, respondents were more likely to talk about interesting brands and products, like Apple or Google Glass, than about more ordinary products, like toothpaste, the researchers found.
"Consumers have a natural tendency to talk about things that make them look good, but selecting the right thing to say requires time," Berger and Iyengar wrote. "In oral communication, consumers talk about whatever is top of mind (the weather), but written communication gives them the opportunity to select more interesting things to say."
The research is set to be published in the October edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.