Leaving the Home Turf: How Brands Can Use Webcare on Consumer-generated Platforms to Increase Positive Consumer Engagement

Julia Schamari*, Tobias Schaefers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The level of brand-related consumer engagement is considered to be a key determinant of successful social media activities. However, due to the commonly high levels of consumers who merely consume instead of being actively engaged, companies seek strategies to increase consumer engagement. Additionally, a large part of consumers' engagement does not occur on platforms controlled by the brand, but on consumer-generated platforms. Based on social learning theory we propose webcare as a reaction to positive engagement to be an effective marketing tool for reinforcing observing consumers' engagement intentions, especially on consumer-generated platforms. In an experimental online study we reveal that webcare can be used to increase engagement intentions on consumer-generated platforms, and that consumers' surprise explains this reinforcing effect. Moreover, we show that in these consumer-dominated spaces, personal webcare is more effective in driving consumer engagement intentions than impersonal webcare, and that this effect is explained by consumers' perceptions of a brand's conversational communication style. The results indicate that brand managers should leave their home turf and use webcare on consumer-generated social media platforms outside of their direct control.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interactive Marketing
Pages (from-to)20-33
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer engagement
  • Moderated mediation
  • Reinforcement theory
  • Social learning theory
  • Social media
  • Webcare

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