Cutting through Content Clutter: How speech and image acts drive consumer sharing of social media brand messages

Francisco Villarroel Ordenes*, Dhruv Grewal, Stephan Ludwig, Ko De Ruyter, Dominik Mahr, Martin Wetzels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

177 Citations (Scopus)


Consumer-to-consumer brand message sharing is pivotal for effective social media marketing. Even as companies join social media conversations and generate millions of brand messages, it remains unclear what, how, and when brand messages stand out and prompt sharing by consumers. With a conceptual extension of speech act theory, this study offers a granular assessment of brands’ message intentions (i.e., assertive, expressive, or directive) and the effects on consumer sharing. A text mining study of more than two years of Facebook posts and Twitter tweets by well-known consumer brands empirically demonstrates the impacts of distinct message intentions on consumers’ message sharing. Specifically, the use of rhetorical styles (alliteration and repetitions) and cross-message compositions enhance consumer message sharing. As a further extension, an image-based study demonstrates that the presence of visuals, or so-called image acts, increases the ability to account for message sharing. The findings explicate brand message sharing by consumers and thus offer guidance to content managers for developing more effective conversational strategies in social media marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)988-1012
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Brand communications
  • Consumer sharing
  • Image acts
  • Message dynamics
  • Rhetoric
  • Social media
  • Speech act theory
  • Text mining


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