Being a Likable Braggart: How Consumers Use Brand Mentions for Self-Presentation on Social Media
Consumer Psychology in a Social Media World, edited by Claudiu Dimofte, Curtis Haugtvedt and Richard Yalch. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2015. Forthcoming
32 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 18, 2015
Consumer self-presentation is considered a major driver of word-of-mouth (WOM) communication. In particular, the manner in which consumers self-present using brand mentions is likely to impact impressions of the WOM senders as well as the mentioned brands. In some cases, however, mentioning reputable brands in a WOM message can be considered bragging, which can lead to negative impressions of the communicator. In this chapter, we use Twitter data to develop a typology of different strategies consumers use to mention brands while crafting positive self-presentations on social media. Our findings suggest that consumers try to avoid negative evaluations while bragging via brand mentions by (1) mentioning brands in the context of sharing on social media what one is doing, feeling or thinking at the moment, (2) shifting the focus of communication away from the self, and/or (3) downplaying one’s own or the brand’s positive characteristics. These brand mentioning strategies map onto some common tactics used by marketers to encourage consumers to talk about brands on social media. Our typology of brand mentioning strategies is a first step towards examining the downstream consequences of these strategies for the communicator and the mentioned brand. Moreover, our typology can help in developing a theory to guide practitioners in selecting tactics to encourage brand mentions that will benefit the brand.
Keywords: self-presentation, bragging, brand mentions, social media, electronic word-of-mouth(eWOM), impression management, self-promotion
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