Is it What You Say or How You Say It? How Content Characteristics Affect Consumer Engagement with Brands on Facebook
60 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2015 Last revised: 1 Nov 2016
Date Written: October 1, 2015
The popularity of social media has led to many brands using platforms such as Facebook for marketing communications, typically whereby brands post content (text, images, and/or videos) on their social media pages for their consumer “fans” to see and, hopefully, engage with. Despite the widespread use of social media marketing, relatively little is known about how various characteristics of branded social media content affect different types of consumer engagement (e.g., liking, commenting, sharing) with brands on social media. The authors analyze 4,284 Facebook posts made by nine brands during an 18-month period. A theory-based typology of fourteen content characteristics covering aspects of what brands say and how they say it is developed and these are linked to different types of consumer engagement with brands’ posts. Various drivers of engagement are found, with the most important being those associated with persuasion. Contrary to traditional marketing communications, persuasive content characteristics are found to lower engagement in the social media context. This research sheds light on how consumers process and interact with branded content in social media, and has implications for how marketers should design content to maximize consumer engagement with their brands.
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