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Decoding the employee influencer on social media: applying Taylor’s six segment message strategy wheel

Jenna Jacobson (Ted Rogers School of Management, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada)
Adriana Gomes Rinaldi (Ted Rogers School of Management, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada)
Janice Rudkowski (Ted Rogers School of Management, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 30 November 2022

Issue publication date: 4 January 2023

207

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine how employees influence their employer’s brand by applying Taylor’s (1999) six segment message strategy wheel in an employee influencer context.

Design/methodology/approach

The research uses a content analysis of employees’ public social media posts – including captions and images – to analyze the message strategies employees use to promote their employers.

Findings

While ego and social were popular message strategies in both the images and captions, the findings evidence the varying message strategies employees use in text-based versus image-based messages. Four “imagined audiences” of employee influencers are identified: current customers, prospective customers, current employees and prospective employees.

Research limitations/implications

The research provides insight into how employees act as influencers in building their employer brand on social media.

Practical implications

A unique measurement tool is developed that can be used by companies and future researchers to decode employees’ online communications.

Originality/value

This research contributes to theory and practice in the following important ways. First, the research provides a modernization of an existing framework from an offline setting to an applied industry context in an online setting. Second, this research focuses on a subtype of social media influencer, the employee influencer, which is an underdeveloped area of research. Third, a unique measurement tool to analyze text-based and image-based social media data is developed that can be used by companies and future researchers to decode employees’ online communications.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research is supported by SSHRC Explore Grant “Employee Brand Equity on Instagram” and ECO Canada.

Citation

Jacobson, J., Gomes Rinaldi, A. and Rudkowski, J. (2023), "Decoding the employee influencer on social media: applying Taylor’s six segment message strategy wheel", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57 No. 1, pp. 29-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-06-2021-0418

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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