Motivations and Antecedents of Consumer Engagement With Brand Pages on Social Networking Sites

Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai and Linjuan Rita Men
University of Miami and Southern Methodist University

Leading today's media-centered lifestyle, social media are revolutionizing how consumers interact with brands and companies. Particularly, interactive and social media have changed how brand-related content is created, distributed, and consumed, thus transferring the power to shape brand images from the hands of advertisers to the words of consumers' online connections (Muntinga, Moorman, and Smit 2011). Trade publications have reported that consumers now use social media more frequently than corporate websites when searching for information on a company, brand, or product (Dei Worldwide 2008). At the same time, social media offer unprecedented opportunities for brand communicators to reach online stakeholders in their social communities and build relationships with consumers on a more personal level (Kelly, Kerr, and Drennan 2010). As a result, advertisers are striving to use an extensive array of interactive media channels to engage their consumers (Avery et al. 2010). Among the various types of social media, including blogs, bookmarking sites (e.g., Delicious), cooperative projects (e.g., Wikipedia), content communities (e.g., YouTube), and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), social networking sites (SNSs; e.g., Facebook and MySpace) are considered the main driving force of the digital media revolution (Vogt and Knapman 2008). Recent media surveys also report that SNSs have replaced e-mail as the most popular online activity and become the primary source of information (Fuscaldo 2011; Albanesius 2010). Such paradigm shift makes it imperative to understand how and why individuals interact with brands on SNSs to cultivate effective relationships with today's net-savvy consumers. Because Facebook is the leading SNS in the United States, with over 158 million active American users (Sherman 2012), the current study focuses on brand pages on Facebook to explore consumer-brand engagement.