Customer engagement on social media: how to enhance continuation of use

Date13 November 2017
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-02-2016-0047
Pages1006-1028
Published date13 November 2017
AuthorRania Hussein,Salah Hassan
Customer engagement on
social media: how to enhance
continuation of use
Rania Hussein
Department of Marketing, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt and
Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, and
Salah Hassan
The George Washington University, Oakton, Virginia, USA
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine antecedents of customer engagement on social media and
how these platforms can enhance customerscontinuation intention. Customer engagement is manifested by
the continued use of social media and is expected to occur when customers have a positive attitude toward
social media. Thus, the main objective of this research is to explore the factors that affect customersattitude
toward social media, which in turn is expected to result in customer engagement. Attitude toward social
media is proposed to have an impact on levels of use and satisfaction is proposed to have a direct impact on
customer engagement. An extended technology acceptance model (TAM) is used as the basic model guiding
this research.
Design/methodology/approach The theoretical model is tested drawing on the results of empirical work
in the form of a large scale survey conducted on a random sample of the US general population. Data
collection resulted in 388 usable questionnaires. Structural equation modeling is used to analyze data.
Findings Results of this research provide support to the research objectives. Two of the three proposed
factors extending TAM, namely, perceived connectedness and enjoyment were found to have a significant
effect on attitude toward social media use. Attitude toward social media use was found to have a
significant effect on level of use and level of use was found to have a significant effect on continuation
intention. Additionally, satisfaction was found to have a significant direct effect on continuation intention.
Practical implications Findings of this research provide managers with useful insights about what they
need to focus on when designing their social media strategies.
Originality/value This study provides a different way of theorizing customer engagement by
incorporating new variables to TAM that are particularly relevant to the social media context. It also draws a
link between attitude toward social media and levels of use, which has been understudied in literature.
Keywords Customer engagement, Determinants, Social media platforms, Continuation intention,
Continuation of use
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
Social network sites (SNSs) have become the most popular tools for social communication
(Ross et al., 2009). The number and diversity (age, gender and background) of people getting
on social media is increasing every day. Applications such as Facebook have 1,325 million
daily active users on average (Facebook, 2017), share more than 30 billion pieces of
information each month and add about 300 million new photos every day. However, the
success of any social network application does not just depend on how many members use it
but on the continued use of that application ( Jin et al., 2009). Beginning to use a specific SNS
platform does not necessarily imply continued and increasing use of the platform. Many
research works looked into the adoption and acceptance of innovations such as the internet
and social media and examined the factors behind these. However, few studies focused on
understanding the reasons behind usersengagement on social media. The first key
objective of this research is to study the factors that affect customer engagement on
social media. Customer engagement is manifested by the continued use of social media
and is expected to occur when customers have a positive attitude toward social media.
Online Information Review
Vol. 41 No. 7, 2017
pp. 1006-1028
© Emerald PublishingLimited
1468-4527
DOI 10.1108/OIR-02-2016-0047
Received 8 February 2016
Revised 28 March 2016
25 July 2016
24 October 2016
15 December 2016
Accepted 15 December 2016
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1468-4527.htm
1006
OIR
41,7
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 phenomenaand their adoption and use involve continuum levels rather than
the simple dichotomous indications of do useand 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 researchers 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 customersattitude
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.
1007
Customer
engagement on
social media

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