Drivers of New Product Recommending and Referral Behaviour on Social Network Sites

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Managers of new brands seek to leverage positive WOM and establish a critical mass of consumers who interact with their brands on social network sites (SNSs). Effective selection of 'seeds', or influencers, at SNSs, who will recommend the product and leverage the power of their social networks to influence other consumers is key to organic growth. This research examines the role of an influencer's activity on a social network website (network size, membership duration, share-of-posts), brand message source (marketer-generated versus member-generated), and recipient type (SNS member versus non-member) on an influencer's decision to recommend a new brand and the recipient's decision to make a referral visit. Empirical analyses of clickstream data from SNSs at a commercial website show that marketer- and consumer-generated brand ads differ in their impact on recommending propensity for high share-of-posts and long-term influencers, and for member and non-member recipients, which has implications for referral management.



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