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Exploring the motivation of affect management in fostering social media engagement and related insights for branding

Fathima Zahara Saleem (Sheridan College – Hazel McCallion Campus, Mississauga, Canada)
Oriol Iglesias (Universitat Ramon Llull, ESADE, Barcelona, Spain)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 11 October 2019

Issue publication date: 3 February 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an affect-based perspective to explain levels of social media engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses face-to-face long interviews and online observation of the Facebook profiles of respondents over an eight-month period.

Findings

Social media engagement varies depending on a user’s current and desired affective state. When individuals are in a low to moderately aroused negative affective state (such as feeling bored or upset), individuals tend to spend time passively consuming content: the lowest level of engagement. In a low to moderately aroused positive mood state (such as happiness), users both passively consume and actively participate with relevant content by liking and commenting on existing content. When users are in a highly aroused positive affective state, the propensity to create original content is greater, reflecting the highest level of engagement. When users are in a highly aroused negative affective state (such as being angry at a brand), users are motivated to vent on social media to manage the mood. Conversely, when users are in a highly aroused negative affective state related to personal trauma, the avoidance of engagement on social media is evident.

Practical implications

Brands can increase the likelihood of consumers creating positive consumer–brand stories offline and online by priming consumer affect.

Originality/value

This study explores how a desired affective state motivates varying levels of user engagement with different types of content on social media.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This article forms part of a special section “Branding in the Digital Age”, guest edited by Vignesh Yoganathan, Stuart Roper, Fraser McLeay and Joana Machado.

Citation

Saleem, F.Z. and Iglesias, O. (2020), "Exploring the motivation of affect management in fostering social media engagement and related insights for branding", Internet Research, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 67-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2018-0321

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited