ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (8): 1785-1793.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.01785

• 研究构想 • 上一篇    下一篇



  1. 四川大学商学院, 成都 610064
  • 收稿日期:2021-11-16 出版日期:2022-08-15 发布日期:2022-06-23
  • 通讯作者: 靳菲
  • 基金资助:

How sharing on social media influences consumer choices

JIN Fei()   

  1. College of Business, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China
  • Received:2021-11-16 Online:2022-08-15 Published:2022-06-23
  • Contact: JIN Fei


随着社交媒体, 第三方消费点评网站及各类电商平台的蓬勃发展, 消费者能够越来越容易地与他人分享自己的消费和体验。为了适应这一迅猛的发展势头, 企业采取一系列措施加入社交媒体营销刺激消费者分享。如在产品界面添加分享按钮, 在各大社交平台添加主题标签, 或者直接使用带有分享刺激的广告口号。与以往研究关注消费者决策后的分享行为不同, 本研究提出社交媒体分享线索在消费者决策中发挥着重要作用, 影响消费者的判断与选择。具体来说, 本项目认为社交媒体分享线索一方面激发了消费者的印象管理动机, 另一方面也降低了自主感, 在此基础上探究了的两个行为决策结果:产品兴趣和决策终止。本项目具有重要的理论意义, 突破前人研究大多关注决策后分享的局限, 对现有社交媒体分享, 及数字环境如何影响消费行为是有益的补充。在实践上, 对企业如何更好地开展社会化媒体营销有着重要的指导意义。

关键词: 分享线索, 印象管理, 自主感, 消费者选择


In today’s highly interconnected mobile and computer-mediated environment, where the act of posting is only a click away, consumers increasingly post their consumption experiences online, from social media to review websites and e-commerce marketplaces. Echoing this momentum, a growing number of brands and marketplaces explicitly encourage consumers to post their purchase experiences by deftly including social media buttons or using hashtag-rich digital communications that directly prompt consumers to post to trigger greater engagement and sales. Previous research has mainly focused on when and why consumers share on social media after purchases. The current research examines whether, how, and when exposure to sharing cues (e.g., social media buttons) during a purchase episode influences consumer choices. We argue that exposure to sharing cues promotes impression management motivation and decreases sense of autonomy. Based on these accounts, we examine two consequences: product interest and decision termination.

In the first research, we examine how the mere presence of sharing cues on a webpage may influence consumer behavior in unexpected ways that can variably help or hurt companies promoting their products online. Drawing upon research on the use of both social media and product consumption for self-presentation purposes, we hypothesize that the presence of social media cues increases feelings of public self-consciousness and this increased self-consciousness influences consumers’ interest. We further show that the effect of public self-consciousness on product interest is moderated by product self-presentational value. Consumers’ interest will increase for products that they would like others to see them own or use (i.e. desirable self-presentational value). However, consumers’ interest will decrease for products that they would not like others to see them own or use (i.e., undesirable self-presentational value).

Technological advances enable firms not only to record and track transactions but also to analyze consumers’ responses to their offerings even prior to making their decisions. The pervasiveness of situations in which we are observed or even merely feel observed goes beyond direct human interactions at different stages of the decision process in the social media era. In the second research, we propose that social media cues make consumers feel being observed by others and reducing feelings of independency. This threatens consumers’ sense of autonomy, which is defined as feeling that decisions are made free from external influence. We argue that sense of autonomy, the fundamental motivation of humans, is most pronounced during the process when consumers are comparing different options. Specifically, the pre-decisional or process stage captures the stage wherein consumers are still considering the choices in the consideration set, reviewing the available information, and examining the trade-offs. On the contrary, the post-decisional or outcome stage captures the stage in which consumers already know their preferences and remind them by either sharing on social media. Notably, this distinction pertains to whether consumers are still in the midst of constructing their preferences while being observed or had already finished constructing their preferences and are being observed while indicating their choice. We show that threats to sense of decision autonomy occur if consumers are observed prior to finalizing their choice (vs. during making decisions).

The current findings contribute to social sharing and give insights to how digital environment affects consumer behavior. Managerially, the findings demonstrate when brand-led efforts to prompt customers to share their purchases backfires.

Key words: sharing on social media, image management, autonomy, consumer choice