Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Recognition in Social Media for Supporting a Cause: Involvement and Self-Efficacy as Moderators

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Recognition in Social Media for Supporting a Cause: Involvement and Self-Efficacy as Moderators

Article excerpt

What drives people to donate time and money to causes? One answer may be found by scrutinizing the Ice Bucket Challenge organized by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association-an online sensation that demonstrated the power of social media. Within 24 hours of being challenged, people had to either donate to the ALS Association or have a bucket of icy water poured over their head. People uploaded and shared the video recording of their response to the challenge and designated three friends to accept the challenge. The Ice Bucket Challenge attracted a great deal of international attention, became a social media phenomenon, and raised more than US$100 million worldwide (Diamond, 2014). An explanation for the level of engagement on social media is described in the Engagement Pyramid (Li, 2010). As people move to the top of the pyramid, they use social media because they either want to express their identity, to be known for the content that they post on social networking sites (SNS), or to be recognized by Facebook friends. Gaining public recognition is the most important desire in social media (Schweyer & Callahan, 2012). Such recognition may have been a strong factor in the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Although recognition is "a public expression of appreciation given by a group to individuals who undertake desired behaviors" (Fisher & Ackerman, 1998, p. 264), research findings indicate that public recognition actually increases desired behaviors (Ko, Gibson, & Kim, 2011). Public recognition has thus been used as a marketing strategy in the nonprofit sector (Fisher & Ackerman, 1998; McGee 1988). Nevertheless, researchers have paid relatively scant attention to the role of recognition, particularly in the context of online platforms. Because social media is becoming a powerful channel for promoting donations and recruiting volunteers for nonprofit organizations, more research attention on the effect of recognition is needed.

Therefore, in this study we investigated how recognition increases donation and volunteer intention in social media, namely, Facebook. In addition, we adopted the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion (ELM; Cacioppo & Petty, 1986) when obtaining information, and also examined the effects of cause involvement and self-efficacy. Although personal involvement with a cause has been identified as an effective moderator in a cause-related marketing context (Koschate-Fischer, Stefan, & Hoyer, 2012; Patel, Gadhavi, & Shukla, 2016), the role of self-efficacy in the nonprofit sector has been little explored. Two strong drivers for people to cognitively elaborate a message are personal involvement and self-efficacy (Schwarzer, 2014). Therefore, researchers should take individual factors that may affect people's behavioral responses into account when they are processing nonprofit organizations' marketing messages in social media. Researchers could then shed light on the practical implications for nonprofit organizations when they are using social media-especially Facebook-as their communication platform.

Literature Review and Hypotheses Development

Use of Social Media by Nonprofit Organizations

An important reason why marketers use social media is that it helps companies to foster relationships and interact with customers (de Vries, Gensler, & Leeflang, 2012; Harvard Business Review, 2010). More than 50% of social media users follow brands on social media (Van Belleghem, Eenhuizen, & Veris, 2011). As of October 2014, worldwide spending on marketing in social media had soared to US$17.74 billion and was expected to increase to US$35.98 billion in 2015 (Leggatt, 2014). SNS have become important communication platforms not only in for-profit organizations but also in nonprofit organizations. Consumer engagement is essential for brand loyalty (Wirtz et al., 2013) and can be nurtured and enhanced because of the built-in, high-level interactivity of social media. …

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