Thus, the second objective of this research is to explore the factors that affect customers’
attitude toward social media, which in turn is expected to result in customer engagement.
Additionally, literature on information technology acceptance indicates that complex
innovations such as the internet and its products, notably the SNSs, are considered to be
“multi-level phenomena”and their adoption and use involve continuum levels rather than
the simple dichotomous indications of “do use”and “do not use”(Huizingh and Brand, 2009).
Previous studies on SNSs acceptance and use have focused on the reasons that motivate
people to adopt them (Richter et al., 2011) and on the way in which people use them (Hussein
and Mourad, 2014). Few studies have looked into the factors behind the different levels of
social media use (Mahrous and Hussein, 2012). Moreover, the existing literature seems to
have looked into SNS use only among university students; thus information about adoption
and use among wider demographics remains limited (Richter et al., 2011).
A third objective of this research is to discover whether attitude toward social media
affects levels of social media use whereby this study views social media use as a multi-level
continuousphenomenon rather than a dichotomousvariable (use vs non-use). Clusteranalysis
is conducted to determine whether different levels of social media use exist or not and to
determine thenumbers of users within each cluster.It is expected that the more users develop
a positive attitude toward social media, the higher the levels of use that they will assume.
To achieve theseresearch objectives, thisstudy develops and tests an extendedtechnology
acceptance model (TAM) to study the antecedents of customer engagement on social media.
First, besides the widely used variables of TAM, being perceived usefulness (PU) and
perceived ease of use (PEOU), three additional variables, namely, perceived connectedness,
perceived enjoyment (PE) and social media image are proposed to be key antecedents of
attitude towardsocial media. These three factorsare thought to be particularly relevantin the
social mediacontext as literature indicatesthat the key reasons why users geton social media
are to connect with friends and to hang out and spend some good time. Additionally, users’
choice of social media is affected by how popular the platform they choose is and how
favorable they perceive it (Laurn et al., 2015; Rupak et al., 2014; Rauniar et al., 2014;
Chiang, 2013). Second, attitude toward social media is proposed to have a direct impact on
level of use which in turn is proposed to havea significant impact on continuation intention.
Moreover,satisfaction is proposedto have a direct effect on continuationintention. This model
provides a novel way of looking at customer engagement by incorporating a diverse set of
variablesas antecedents of attitude towardsocial media use. Perceived engagement,perceived
connectedness and perceived social media image are new variables to TAM that are
particularly relevant to the social media context and thus provide a more relevant theorizing
of customer engagement antecedents.The research model also tests the relationship between
attitude towardsocial media use and levels of use.To the researcher’s best knowledge, onl y a
few studies focused on understanding the factorsbehind levels of social media use (Mahrous
and Hussein, 2012). This research is conducted on general population of social media in the
USA which constitutes a diverse population to be able to provide representative and
generalizable results of the studied phenomenon. Findings of this research will provide
managers with usefulinsights about what factors they need to focuson when designing their
social media strategies. It will also help draw the relationship between customers’attitude
toward social media and their levelof use which in turn affects their engagement. This might
be very usefulto managers when they choose thedifferent features that are partof their social
media platformsand how they can invite customersto different levelsof use, which will surely
indicate their level of engagement.
This paper is organizedas follows: first, a synthesis of theavailable literature on customer
engagement in social media platforms and social media studies is presented. The TAM is
discussed in thiscontext. Then, the present researchmodel is presented. Finally, the research
results and suggestions for future research are discussed.