Consumer activity in social media: Managerial approaches to consumers' social media behavior


Kristina Heinonen, Hanken School of Economics; Department of Marketing, Helsinki, Finland.



Today, consumers are involved in a variety of activities, ranging from consuming content to participating in discussions, sharing knowledge with other consumers, and contributing to other consumers' activities. With the enormous interest in social media sites, such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and Wikipedia, consumers are assumed to be actively contributing to marketing content. However, despite the rich opportunities for contributing, recent academic research indicates that consumers are not necessarily as active online as has been believed. The aim of this paper is to conceptualize consumers' activities in social media by examining the motivations behind the activities. By offering a more detailed description of the differences in consumer use of social media, the study extends existing research on consumer activities related to user-created content. Based on consumer narratives of their social media activity, we identified 15 activities grouped under three themes. The conceptual framework is used to suggest managerial strategies related to different levels of consumer activity. Thus, it provides a tool for uncovering managerial challenges and for planning responses to consumer activities.

Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.