According to a study conducted by the Journal of Consumer Research, once a consumer is empowered, it gets very hard to influence him or her through social media.
Consumer empowerment by a company means that consumers are involved in significant courses such as in the development of products.
According to the study's authors, Mehdi Mourali of University of Calgary and Zhiyong Yang of University of Texas, Arlington, "peer-to-peer marketing and consumer empowerment may not be compatible. Empowered consumers resist social influence by either discounting the opinions of others or deliberately expressing opinions that diverge from those of other consumers."
Empowering consumers, for example by giving them roles in product development, will actually make it harder to influence them through social media according to a recent study. (Image: via whodofthoughtit.com)
Consumer empowerment is common among many businesses, including Mountain Dew and M&M's. These companies empower consumers by making them vote for what their preferred colors, flavors, and other characteristics are for products. Simultaneously, these companies also try to win over customers and potential customers through various social media channels.
In this study, the authors discovered that by giving consumers the power to contribute to product development, or other forms of empowerment, some of these consumers either snubbed other consumers' opinions, while others purposefully stated views that are opposite and against those views trying to influence them.
The authors concluded by saying that "many companies have embraced the concept of consumer empowerment. However, they should consider whether attempts to integrated social influence might backfire with empowered consumers."