Involvement and Brand Engagement Outcomes in Facebook Brand Posts: A Gender Twist: An Abstract
Over several decades, marketing researchers have worked to understand the nature of brand and consumer relationships (Aaker 1997; Fournier 1998). As Hollebeek (2014) notes, consumer “involvement” or “level of interest and personal relevance with a brand” plays a role in fostering brand communities, relationships, and brand loyalty in interactive or online environments. Using a conceptual framework based on the FCB grid and consumer involvement, the present research works to link salient brand/product characteristics to social media engagement using field data and a laboratory experiment.
The preliminary results of our field study suggest that social media engagement is affected by involvement and consumer motives (Study 1). In addition, the results of our controlled experiment suggest that a social media user’s sex may impact engagement intentions (Study 2). Male consumers’ engagement intentions are found to be higher for low-involvement products, while female consumers’ engagement intentions are found to be higher for high involvement products. In addition, this gender effect is found to be mediated by consumer involvement.
Our mixed-methods approach provides preliminary evidence for the effect of involvement on consumer engagement with brand communications on social networking sites. Doing so helps to bridge research on brand and product messaging (Ratchford 1987; Rossiter et al. 1991; Vaughn 1980, 1986) information processing (Meyers-Levy 1985; Darley and Smith 1995; Meyers-Levy and Maheswaran 1991; Meyers-Levy and Sternthal 1991), consumer involvement (Zaichkowsky 1985), and consumer engagement (Brodie et al. 2011; Hollebeek 2011).
Notably, our research is limited in its treatment of gender as a moderating variable of consumer involvement, and there is an opportunity to expand on the present research using midrange gender theories. For example, the selectivity model may prove useful in identifying specific features of social media communications, which are most influential in shaping consumer involvement online.