Posts that align with organisational values are most successful

By our News Team | 2023

Social media posts that align best with the image and values the public associates with a brand are likely to be the most shared – study.

A new study by Italian researchers investigates what can drive followers to share promotional content posted by brands on social media, and sheds light on what can influence the likelihood that a post will go viral.

Their key finding is that the most effective posts are those that align best with the image and values the public associates with the brand.

Social Media Strategy

Photo by Cottonbro Studio from Pexels

For example, companies, will often try to tie their content to popular online themes – such as celebrities, trending topics and ‘feel-good’ favourites like puppies – in an effort to go viral. 

But this strategy is likely to fail if the themes often do not match the brand’s story and positioning. Instead, it will dilute the brand.

An article based on the study appears in the peer-reviewed Journal of Interactive Marketing and is authored by Sara Valentini of the Bocconi University in Milan, and co-written with Elisa Montaguti of the University of Bologna and Federica Vecchioni, Data Scientist at global creative technology company Reply.

The authors conducted three different empirical studies aimed at testing to what extent the relationship of posts with brand values, and the presence of promotions within the posts, are important for rebroadcasting.

In the first study, they monitored and analysed one year of social media posts by four major brands. 

Study authors tweaked the content of experimental posts

The second study was a field test conducted in cooperation with Samsung Italy. In this case, the company allowed the authors to tweak the content of experimental posts on their own pages, precisely for the purpose of collecting relevant data for this research.

Both studies showed that consistency between online content and the values that followers associate with the brand has a positive effect on rebroadcasting frequency. Consequently, companies should be careful about using social media strategies that include elements unrelated to their image, as this may pose a risk of losing the attention of their fans.

Most interestingly, consistency with brand identity can generate a high number of shares – even for posts containing price promotions, which online followers of a brand are often reluctant to share.

A third experiment, conducted using a panel of respondents provided by a market research firm, showed that the strongest driver for sharing a post with consistent promotional content is altruism. 

If people assume that a certain piece of content will be useful to their acquaintances, they will pass it around. Conversely, if a user feels manipulated, he or she will tend to do the opposite of what is desired, with an attitude known in cognitive psychology as ‘reactance’.

“Our results suggest that posts consistent with brand values are less likely to trigger reactance. Therefore, companies that post online content on their pages must maintain a delicate balance to attract the interest of their audience. while avoiding elements that are not in line with the brand image,” Valentini explains.

You can find out more about the study, entitled ‘Content That Engages Your Customers: The Role of Brand Congruity and Promotions in Social Media’ here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.