Your Friends Like Our Brand: Social Impact, Capital, and Connections in Social Media Advertising
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Social media networks such as Facebook enable advertisers to embed social connection information within advertisements. The purpose of this study was to better understand how social cues in social media advertising contribute to consumers’ brand attitudes and purchase intentions. Two theoretical constructs guided the study: social impact theory and social capital theory. Social impact theory suggests that the number, relational strength, and immediacy of individuals exerting social influence determine its effectiveness. Social capital theory posits that our social networks are a product of the relational capital we have invested in them, with two forms of social capital: bonding and bridging. Bonding is associated with our intimate, "strong ties," and bridging is associated with our larger circle of acquaintances, or "weak ties." Using an experiment (N = 211), it was determined that while social context cues included in social media advertisements did influence brand attitudes, the strength and intensity of cues did not have an effect. Furthermore, bridging, strong-tie social capital positively moderated the relation between advertisement attitude and social media sharing of the advertisement as well as the relation between brand attitude and purchase intentions.
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