How Many Likes are Good Enough? An Evaluation of Social Media Performance: An Abstract
The rapid acceptance of social media across consumers of all age groups has prompted researchers to examine the social and psychological effects that social media usage may have on its users (Cabral 2011; Vogel et al. 2014). The content that users choose to post is often selectively chosen to project a particular image (Rosenberg and Egbert 2011), while associations with specific brands, where a user’s online community can view this interaction, aid the expression of self-identity (Mensel and Petersen 2011). User-generated content is often self-evaluated based on the ‘performance’ of the content. Odden (2012) acknowledges that individuals often evaluate the performance of their online content based on the presence or lack of an immediate reaction from their online community. This evaluation becomes particularly important when the user-generated content is brand-related. This paper is the first attempt to conceptually delineate the parameters of ‘social media performance’ (hereinafter referred to as SMP) and formalize this evaluation.
This paper suggests that SMP may follow an Expectation Confirmation Theory (ECT) framework (Elkhani and Bakri 2012; Oliver 1980). Much the same as a consumer holds expectations of the performance of a particular product, so too do they hold expectations of the performance of their online content. The expectations of the ‘performance’ that a post could achieve would be in terms of the potential popularity that is expected (De Vries et al. 2012), according to the number of responses received. In line with the ECT, the user would experience satisfaction or dissatisfaction dependent on whether the post met initial expectations (Elkhani and Bakri 2012). We propose that when social media users willingly post brand-related user-generated content, they express particular concern for the performance of such content amongst their online network. The following proposition is suggested:
P1: The SMP of brand-related user-generated content can influence the user’s attitude towards the stated brand.
The formalization of SMP explains how the personal evaluation of performance influences brand relationship. This relationship bears significance for practitioners implementing social media strategies. The proposed relationship stresses the importance of active engagement with consumers, which has been shown to play a fundamental role in enhancing consumer–brand relationships (Van Iwaarden et al. 2002). Future researchers could create an empirical measurement of SMP to evaluate sub-dimensions of perceived performance further. Further, empirical assessment could quantify SMP and examine the influence that performance bears on acts of conspicuous online consumption and brand interaction.