What makes a Loyal Fan a Brand Advocate on Social Media? Capitalizing on Brand Page Loyalty to build Self-Expansion Benefits for Fans.

Accepted for presentation at the American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, Saint Petersburg FL (Virtual), March 2021.

Abstract: Fans of brand pages are valuable as they help spread positive word-of-mouth on social media, and drive brand recommendations to other social media users. Companies, such as Nike and Coca-Cola, are focusing their social media strategies on identifying ways to motivate fans to share and create brand-related content. Whereas previous studies have shown that brand page loyalty and attachment are important for fan engagement with brand pages, this research examines engagement drivers for fans of brand pages from the perspective of self-expansion theory. A survey was conducted with 188 millennial users who have a favorite brand page on Instagram. The study examined users’ experiences on their favorite brand pages and how self-expansion needs impact sharing and creation of brand-related content. Our findings show that brand page self-expansion is a more important driver for sharing and creation activities than brand page attachment. Thus, companies should provide content on their social media pages that helps loyal fans to develop their perspectives and skills, expand their sense of identity, and enable their personal growth. The findings also highlight that brands should strive to produce unique, tailored content on social media platforms in order to meet loyal fans’ self-expansion needs, and that successful brand pages should provide consumers with opportunities to acquire new knowledge and competencies in their interest areas.

Joe Phua 

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