To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Content versus community focus in live streaming services: how to drive engagement in synchronous social media

Johann N. Giertz (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany)
Welf H. Weiger (College of Business, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) (Marketing and E-Business, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany)
Maria Törhönen (Gamification Group, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
Juho Hamari (Gamification Group, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 21 October 2021

Issue publication date: 3 January 2022

1977

Abstract

Purpose

Social live-streaming services are an emerging form of social media that is gaining in popularity among researchers and practitioners. By facilitating real-time interactions between video content creators (i.e. streamers) and viewers, live-streaming platforms provide an environment for novel engagement behaviors and monetization structures. This research aims to examine communication foci and styles as levers of streaming success. In doing so, the authors analyze their impact on viewers' engagement with the stream.

Design/methodology/approach

This research draws on a unique dataset collected via a multi-wave questionnaire comprising viewers' perceptions of a specific streamer's communications and their actual behavior toward them. The authors analyze the proposed impact of communication foci on viewing and donating behavior while considering the moderating role of communication style using seemingly unrelated regressions.

Findings

The results show that communication foci represent a double-edged sword: community-focused communication drives viewership while reducing donations made to the streamer. By contrast, content-focused communication curbs viewing but drives donating.

Practical implications

Of specific interest for practitioners, the study demonstrates how streaming content providers (e.g. influencers) should adjust their communications to drive engagement in the context of synchronous social media such as social live-streaming services. Beyond that, this research identifies unique characteristics of engagement that can help managers to improve their digital service offerings.

Social implications

Social live-streaming services provide an environment that offers unique opportunities for self-development and co-creation among social media users. By allowing for real-time interactions, these emerging social media services build on ephemeral content to provide altered experiences for users.

Originality/value

The authors highlight the need to distinguish between engagement behaviors in asynchronous and synchronous social media. The proposed conceptualization sheds new light on success factors of social media in general and social live-streaming services specifically. To maximize user engagement, content creators in synchronous social media must consider their communications' focus (content or community) and style (utilitarian or hedonic).

Keywords

Citation

Giertz, J.N., Weiger, W.H., Törhönen, M. and Hamari, J. (2022), "Content versus community focus in live streaming services: how to drive engagement in synchronous social media", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 33-58. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-12-2020-0439

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles