Harvard Business Review》文章





实验使用的品牌都是知名品牌,如可口可乐、百事可乐、Burt’s Bees(美国小蜜蜂,护肤品牌),他们使用了几种不同的方法来评估顾客的长期和短期的态度和行为。一些实验是想梳理清楚是否喜欢一个品牌仅仅是因为之前已经喜欢该品牌(那么这种喜欢就是一个滞后指标),是否意味着还会持续喜欢以及是否会增加偏爱性的购买行为。(实验结果证明是前者—以前就喜欢)例如,在一个实验中,对某品牌做的广告仅仅让实验对象产生了喜欢该产品的印象,这些实验对象包括那些被主动请过来欣赏其产品的,也有没被主动邀请的。在另一个实验中,已经喜欢某品牌的人提供了3个朋友的名字和电子邮件地址,这3个朋友有的被告知他/她有个朋友“喜欢这个品牌”(没有提及社交媒体),有的被告知他/她有个朋友“喜欢Facebook上的这个品牌。” 发送的消息中没有提及到是Facebook上的一个产品的结果是更多的人想要一个免费产品试用,这个结果表明在社交媒体上喜欢一个东西也仅仅是个想法而已,并没有比其它途径产生的喜欢有更多的含金量。







For marketers, it’s become a badge of success: How many people “like” the company’s Facebook page? As the metric has taken hold, brands have begun spending millions of dollars to try to increase their social media following—and managers attempt to pin down something that’s often elusive when it comes to marketing expenditures: What’s the return on investment?

Over the past several years academics have used various methods to quantify the value of social media followers, without consistent results. In a new study, researchers at Harvard Business School conducted five experiments involving thousands of subjects to explore two questions: Does someone’s liking a brand suggest that he or she is more likely to buy it? And do people’s likes influence their friends?

The experiments, which used well-known brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Burt’s Bees, drew on several techniques to assess both attitudes and behaviors over short and long periods of time. Some were aimed at teasing out whether liking a brand was simply a signal of existing fondness (a lagging indicator) or meant that subsequent favorability and purchase proclivity were likely to increase. (Results point to the former.) In one experiment, for instance, ads for a brand created similarly favorable impressions among people who had accepted an invitation to like the brand and people who had received no such invitation. In another, people who had liked a brand supplied the names and e-mail addresses of three friends, who were told either that their friend “likes the brand” (no mention of social media) or that he or she “likes the brand on Facebook.” The messages that didn’t invoke Facebook led more people to claim a free product—a result suggesting that liking something on social media is seen as a token gesture and carries less weight than liking it in a more conventional sense.

Their findings don’t mean that social media marketing can’t yield returns, the researchers say, but additional steps may be needed to leverage a like into profitable behavior. (For instance, prior research has shown that people who post content on a brand’s social network page often begin purchasing more.) “The act of liking a brand on Facebook—requiring mere seconds of attention and, by design, one click of a button—may simply induce too weak a signal of preference for consumers to infer increased liking for the brand,” the researchers write. “Making joining [user] communities more difficult—for example, by requiring a series of actions such as a greater number of clicks to gain membershipmight increase the impact of liking.” And persuading consumers to communicate their preferences offline may drive better results.



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