In January 2018, the number of active social media users reached 3.2 billion worldwide—a 13% year-over-year increase from 2017 (Chaffey, 2018). Social media refers any web-based service that allows users to articulate a network of connections and interact with that network as well as the networks of those connections (Boyd & Ellison, 2010). Various social media applications are interconnected in a complex social media ecosystem including forums like blogs, consumer opinion platforms, microblogging sites, and social networking sites that marketers must learn to navigate (Hanna, Rohm, & Crittenden, 2011; Mangold & Faulds, 2009).
Consumers routinely and incessantly disseminate content across multiple social media platforms by simply clicking a like or share button embedded with the content (Bazarova & Choi, 2014). Indeed, over half of US social media users are multiplatform users. Of Twitter users, for instance, 93% also use Facebook, 65% use Instagram, and 54% LinkedIn; similarly, 95% of Instagram users, 92% of Pinterest users, and 89% of LinkedIn users also use Facebook (Greenwood et al., 2016). This interconnected ecosystem allows consumers to simulcast content across multiple platforms and encourages a variety of collaborative human communication activities: co-creation of content, sharing thoughts and feelings, and connection to the outside world of business or pleasure (Hanna et al., 2011; Shao, 2009; Strauss & Frost, 2009; Strokes, 2009; Treadaway & Smith, 2010).