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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Social Media Communication Success: Do Visual or Verbal Appeals Matter More?

Published: May 25, 2021


Lisa Marie Schwayer, Innsbruck, School of Management; Lisa Schoner-Schatz, University of Innsbruck, Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism; Nicola E. Stokburger-Sauer, Innsbruck, School of Management; Verena Hofmann, University of Innsbruck, Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism


This study examines the interactive influence of visual and verbal appeals, and communication source on consumer responses to social media posts. The results of an experimental study using a 2 × 2 × 2 between-subjects factorial design show that a smiling endorser (i.e., visual appeal) positively impacts on attitude towards a social media post, word-of-mouth, electronic word-of-mouth, and purchase intention. Choosing the “appropriate” claim (i.e., verbal appeal) in terms of consumer values (targeting collectivistic vs. individualistic values) strengthens the effect of endorsers’ emotion display on consumer responses. Interestingly, for company-generated content, displaying a smiling endorser and a collectivistic claim leads to significantly better consumer responses than displaying a non-smiling endorser and an individualistic claim. Important implications for social media communication management and research are discussed.