Despite the fact that social media offers consumers opportunities to connect with each other, little work has focused on how what consumers do on social media interacts with why they do it to impact their feelings of connection. Further, the extent to which these social media interactions occur in brand contexts is likely to impact consumers’ response to brands, and could have important implications for brands’ social media marketing efforts. Drawing on regulatory focus theory, we show that the fit conditions of promotion-focused social behaviors and prevention-focused nonsocial behaviors produce higher feelings of connection compared to the non-fit conditions, owing to a subjective sensation that the fit conditions just feel right. We also show that when these fit conditions occur in brand-related contexts, they produce stronger feelings of connection toward the brand and more positive responses to the brand’s social media marketing efforts.
Keywords: social media, online consumer experience, connectedness, brand evaluations, regulatory focus theory