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The effects of fear of missing out on social media posting preferences

Yue Xi (Department of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China)
Jiale Huo (Department of Information and Service Management, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland)
Xinran Zhao (Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA)
Yushi Jiang (Department of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China and Service Science and Innovation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu, China)
Qiang Yang (Department of Information and Knowledge Management, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 10 October 2022

Issue publication date: 30 November 2022

412

Abstract

Purpose

Fear of missing out (FOMO) has become a common phenomenon on social media. This study aims to examine how FOMO influences consumer preferences for posting about identity-relevant products on social media.

Design/methodology/approach

In this research, three studies were conducted to explore the effects of FOMO in different real-life situations. Study 1 was conducted in a laboratory setting in China. Study 2 includes two experiments, one that was conducted in China and one in the USA. Study 3 was conducted in a workplace setting in China.

Findings

The results of Study 1 indicate that when consumers experience FOMO, they prefer to post about identity-relevant (vs functional) products to a greater extent than usual. Study 2 examines the role of self-esteem and identifies self-presentation and the avoidance of social attention as underlying mechanisms. Thus, consumers with high (or low) self-esteem tend to be more motivated to present themselves positively (or to avoid social attention) when experiencing FOMO. Furthermore, Study 3 reveals the moderating role of supportive interactions; that is, the interaction between FOMO and consumer self-esteem is most likely to exert an effect when consumers receive many supportive interactions.

Research limitations/implications

This research demonstrates that posting identity-relevant content on social media is a coping strategy that individuals may adopt when experiencing FOMO. Moreover, self-esteem can predict how individuals cope with FOMO by identifying self-presentation and avoidance of social attention as the mechanisms underlying effects. Although this research attempts to avoid interference from other factors between in the relationship FOMO and the control conditions, it seems possible that more socially relevant information may be presented in the FOMO condition.

Practical implications

Because FOMO can be manipulated and posting types can be predicted, this research provides important implications for brands on how to create or post content to better engage consumers.

Originality/value

This research supports the role of FOMO as a driver of on consumer posting preferences on social media.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors want to thank the anonymous reviewers for their advice and guidance. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (72172129), Service Science and Innovation Key Laboratory of Sichuan province (KL2205, KL2210).

Citation

Xi, Y., Huo, J., Zhao, X., Jiang, Y. and Yang, Q. (2022), "The effects of fear of missing out on social media posting preferences", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56 No. 12, pp. 3453-3484. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-10-2021-0814

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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