Leveraging social network sites for new product launch

Deborah Lynn Roberts*, Marina Candi, Mathew Hughes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The ability to make use of social network sites (SNSs) to promote new products and facilitate positive word of mouth around new product launch (NPL) presents an important opportunity. However, the mechanisms and motivations of SNS users are not well understood and businesses frequently fail to realise these opportunities. The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the forces that motivate people to spend time on SNS sites and how these motivations are related with people's propensity to engage in behaviours that can be beneficial for NPL. Design/methodology/approach – Hypotheses are tested using data collected using an online survey from a broad sample of SNS users worldwide. Findings – People who spend time on SNSs to be challenged, to escape, or to connect with others are more likely than other users to pay attention to advertisements on SNS. Users that spend time on SNSs in the pursuit of information, to be challenged, or to connect with others are more likely than other users to provide word of mouth reviews and recommendations about products. Research limitations/implications – The authors make an empirical contribution to knowledge by providing evidence about the categories of user motivations for engagement with SNSs that might be related with their contributions to NPL activities, namely, paying attention to advertisements and providing WOM recommendations. Practical implications – By understanding what motivates SNS users, firms can identify potentially valuable users and develop a more strategic and targeted approach to NPL. This can help firms turn disappointing social media campaigns into more successful ones. Social implications – Whilst the growth in usage of SNS has important implications for business and NPL there are also wider societal implications. Arguably, even before the widespread adoption of SNSs, society has been in a state of flux and transition as people sought to liberate themselves from the norms and social codes of previous generations. We have witnessed a rise of individualism, associated with values such as personal freedom and where people actively construct their own identities. Somewhat ironically, individualism has motivated people to seek alternative social activities and form communities, such as those on SNSs where they can fulfil their need for connection and belonging. SNSs appear to have accelerated this trend. Originality/value – This study provides new insights about the use of SNSs for NPL and what motivates users to engage in behaviours that are beneficial to NPL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2400-2416
Number of pages17
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Advertising
  • Motivation theory
  • New product launch
  • Social media
  • Social networks

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