Like, Comment, or Share? Self-presentation vs. brand relationships as drivers of social media engagement choices

Kunal Swani, Wright State University
Lauren I. Labrecque, University of Rhode Island


To enhance our understanding of consumer engagement with social media brand posts, this research explores the underlying mechanisms driving consumer engagement choices with branded social media posts. We posit and provide evidence that two underlying mechanisms—self-presentation and brand relationship connections—drive engagement choices. Three exploratory studies provide consistent evidence that these motivations impact consumers’ decisions to engage with brand posts and these motivations partially determine engagement choice (e.g., Like, Comment, Share, React). We find that (1) likes and reactions are primarily driven by brand relationship connections; (2) comments are driven by both brand relationship connections and self-presentation; and (3) shares are primarily driven by self-presentation.