Enhancing relationships through online brand communities: comparing posters and lurkers
This study establishes the importance of considering both posters (interactive members) and lurkers (non-interactive members) for a clearer understanding of online brand communities. Based on organizational support theory and social identity theory, this study proposes a model that illustrates the impacts of perceived brand support in brands’ online communities upon members’ community identity and brand trust, leading to their positive behaviors towards the brand (i.e., purchase intention, resistance to negative information, and positive word of mouth) and how these effects differ between posters and lurkers. Using structural equation modeling, results reveal that in firm-hosted online brand communities perceived brand support (i.e., recognizing contributions, encouraging interactions, and providing quality information) relates to members’ satisfaction by fulfilling their socioemotional needs (community identity) and increases their brand trust. Furthermore, multi-group analyses indicate significant differences in the paths to brand trust between posters and lurkers. Brand knowledge, providing quality information, and encouraging members to interact drive brand trust for lurkers. For posters, trust is driven by their sense of community identity and encouraging members to interact. This research advances the literature on online brand communities by shedding light on the scant knowledge of lurkers in online communities. It demonstrates how perceived support from brands can improve both posters’ and lurkers’ relationships with the community and the brand itself. The findings provide actionable managerial recommendations regarding how brands can manage their relationships with all members (both posters and lurkers) in their online communities.
- Business and Economics
Published inInternational Journal of Electronic Commerce
PublisherTaylor & Francis
- VoR (Version of Record)
Rights holder© The Authors
Publisher statementThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.