Each company has its own outward image, known as a brand, and companies work hard to influence the image that consumers have of their brands. They want to be thought of in a positive and specific way by the public to help build relationships and expand their customer base, ultimately creating brand loyalty. Companies have taken advantage of social media to help accomplish this, which has allowed them to engage with consumers in new ways. This can be called a brand-owned social media content marketing.
Ai-Zhong, et al. (2021) conducted a research study with college students who were divided into groups. Each group viewed different types of content published by the same brand. Researchers were interested in defining the types of content that resonate most with consumers when it comes to positively influencing their brand image through social media marketing. They tested three types of content to see which was best at influencing the consumer: storytelling, conversation and customer interaction and participation. The results showed consumers perceived brand interactions on social media that involved storytelling and conversational content were more personal and mimicked interpersonal communication despite being sent to a mass audience. They also felt that they were involved in the ‘plot’ when information was communicated in story form; therefore, they got more invested in the brand. Limitations exist in this study since it only focused on one brand, but there is room to expand this research to other brands. The study suggests researchers and integrated marketing communications practitioners should consider creating more individualized and targeted content on social media to appeal to specific audiences through storytelling and engaging consumers in conversation on these platforms.
Ai-Zhong, H., Cai, Y., Cai, L., & Zhang, Y. (2021). Conversation, storytelling, or consumer interaction and participation? the impact of brand-owned social media content marketing on consumers’ brand perceptions and attitudes: An international journal. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 15(3), 419-440. //doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-08-2019-0128