Elevating low-effort engagement to cultivate stronger community commitment: A study of social capital within instagram’s brand community

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aimed to analyze the role of social capital in enhancing the engagement of community members, specifically transitioning them from low-effort participation to higher levels of commitment toward the community. Design/methodology: This study presents the results derived from a quantitative analysis of 483 participants across diverse automotive brand communities found on Instagram. Findings: Based on the foundation of social capital theory, this research enquires into the effects of shared relational elements of social capital on the commitment of members to communities. The results indicate that when members perceive an adequate degree of social trust and adhere to a recognized norm of reciprocity, there is a notable influence on the potential for heightened commitment to the community. Research limitations/implications: This study solely focuses on a specific type of social media (Instagram), emphasizing the prominent role of visual presentation style as the primary approach in content creation. In contrast to most previous studies that heavily scrutinize verbal/textual communication presentation platforms regarding online social capital studies, this study has demonstrated that visual presentation communication has a notable impact on the mechanism that triggers positive evaluations among users. Consequently, it significantly incites the development of social trust and reciprocity through social exchange interactions within the community. Originality/value: In visually oriented settings such as Instagram, the barriers to participating in social interactions are noticeably reduced. Consequently, activities requiring minimal engagement are more likely to evolve into more intensified forms of social exchange among members. This condition facilitates the cultivation of social trust and establishing of a norm of reciprocity. This study offers a different perspective regarding the digitally mediated value co-creation. It is not the factor of information quality through comprehensiveness and detail that increases the value perceived by the members, as the textual mode of social media accomplishes. Instead, the affective and emotional appeal in the visually dominant social interaction that significantly generates a sense of closeness and relatedness that eventually improves the perceived value derived from the community. Thus, visual presentation in social exchange is more proficient for relationship building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-257
Number of pages22
JournalIntangible Capital
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Online brand community
  • Social capital
  • Social media
  • Visual content


Dive into the research topics of 'Elevating low-effort engagement to cultivate stronger community commitment: A study of social capital within instagram’s brand community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this