This aim of this research was to understand how French consumers’ use of social media data influences their perceptions of cosmetic brands. The first observation is the recurrence of expectations on social media from the consumer point of view. This notion of expectation describes the entire attitudes and behaviours consumers think a brand should have on social media.
Results show that the more the brand meets consumers’ expectations, the higher their attitude towards the brand. More precisely, consumers may have a more positive attitude towards Maybelline if the brand provides them with valuable true data / information about the products. The first expectation consumers have of the cosmetic brands is product oriented, and indeed, these results show consumers’ positive attitudes towards a cosmetic brand, such as Maybelline, is first and foremost based on trust regarding the quality and function of each product.
In the context of social media, advocacy could consist of active social participation by liking, commenting, or sharing the brand’s content, such as posts or photos, and it was demonstrated that watching pictures related to the brand has a positive impact on consumers’ purchase intentions related to cosmetic products. This result is not very surprising, especially when we consider most respondents are active users of Instagram, which is a photo-based social media. Our results show that in addition to product-oriented expectations, consumers also expect brands to put forward their visual identity to stimulate a purchase intention in their minds.
Therefore, this orientation to the product is still linked to the notion of trust, which had the strongest significance when analysing the relationship between the consumers’ online activities and their attitudes towards the brand’s products. The millennials and generation Zers differ from previous generations and are well connected to their friends, colleagues, and peers. This is reflected in their considering their fellow consumers’ and friends’ opinions as more reliable than any company source or other marketing activities.
The source of information / data in term of trust is highly important as social medias have been widely used to spread fake news. For example, in the USA, 80% of the consumers have seen fake news during the COVID-19 outbreak. In France, around 35% of the online reviews are inappropriate as most of these reviewers write their reviews without trying the product/service. Therefore, cosmetic brands should facilitate consumers’ social participation, which will help them gain visibility and the consumers’ and their peers’ trust.
Although, UGCs, especially sWOM (Social Word of Mouth), have a significant influence on brands, our results confirm that consumers’ attitudes towards sponsored online recommendations strongly influence their attitudes towards cosmetic brands. Therefore, our findings suggest that consumers do pay little attention to organic or sponsored recommendations; instead, they are looking for trustworthy and pertinent information. In the context of retargeting marketing in social media, brands should take into consideration this behaviour as customers (social media users) pay little attention to the origin of the advertising and they only want the pertinent information.
Source: Hasan, R., Zaman, M. & Princet, E. (2021). How social media data can influence consumers’ attitudes towards cosmetic brands? The case of Maybelline. International Journal of Big Data Management, (forthcoming).