Main Article Content
Manuscript type: Research paper
Research aims: This study aims to determine the extent to which consumers’ brand “Follows” are self-congruent due to their cognitive networks or the perception of their social network structure on Instagram. This study also examines if self-congruity results in positive offline brand outcomes when mediated by brand love.
Design/Methodology/Approach: A total of 168 valid responses are collected and analysed. SPSS version 21 is used to measure the descriptive statistics and frequencies and the SMART PLS 3.0 is used as the structural model for hypothesis testing.
Research findings: Results indicate that social tie strength significantly affects self-congruity while brand love is a significant mediator on the relationship between self-congruity and offline brand outcomes (brand loyalty and WoM). Of the three perceived homophily (attitude homophily, status homophily and morality homophily), findings show that morality homophily is the stronger predictor for social tie strength among consumers and their friends on Instagram.
Theoretical implications: This study expands on previous literature by investigating the relationship between cognitive network influence, consumers’ self-congruity with “followed brand” and offline brand outcomes (brand love, brand loyalty and WoM), in the context of Instagram.
Practitioner/Policy implications: The findings suggest that in order to target Instagram users that “follow” the brand, these brands must be categorised based on status and moral ties. Marketing intelligence and target market segmentations on Instagram can be performed by using tie-strength. Brands on Instagram should be defined based on customers’ orientation, i.e., by humanising the brand so as to create an emotional bond. Proxy measures of brand love can be used to predict repurchase intention and the likeliness of sharing through WoM.
Research limitation/Implication: The homophily and social tie strength are measured based on consumers’ own perceptions with friends on Instagram. The small number of samples used may limit the generalisability of the findings.
Keywords: Brand Love, Instagram, Loyalty, Self-congruity, Social Tie Strength, WoM
JEL Classification: M31