Jin, Yan, Lin, Jhih-Syuan (Elaine), Gilbreath, Bob, & Lee, Yen-I (2017). Motivations, Consumption Emotions, and Temporal Orientations in Social Media Use: A Strategic Approach to Engaging Stakeholders across Platforms. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 11(2), 115-132.


This study investigated how individuals, based on their multiple social media platform usage (Facebook+Instagram users vs. Facebook+Pinterest users), differ in their motivations to use Facebook and visual social media (Instagram or Pinterest), their emotions felt when using these platforms, as well as their temporal orientations during their experiences with different platforms. Overall, the findings indicate that Facebook+Instagram users focus more on self-status seeking and entertainment, while Facebook+Pinterest users are more information-seeking driven and future-oriented. In addition, more optimism is reported among Facebook+Pinterest users. The results provide insights for organizations to develop cross-platform strategies by understanding which social media platforms and which social media user groups might be most optimal, according to stakeholder motivations, targeted media consumption emotions, and whether the stakeholders are past, present, or future oriented during their social media use.


An online survey with a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults was conducted in April 2015. The survey received a total of 940 completed responses. All respondents had at least an active Facebook account and an active Instagram or Pinterest account to ensure the comparability across these platforms. Participants were first asked to identify the social media platforms they have used. They were then assigned to one of the two groups: Facebook and Instagram (n = 470), and Facebook and Pinterest (n = 470). After that, they were instructed to answer questions pertaining to their motivations for using these social networking platforms, consumption emotions, temporal orientation during the social media usage, and demographics.

Key Findings

  • Multiple platform user groups (i.e. Facebook+Instagram users vs. Facebook+Pinterest users) are associated with different Facebook use experiences.
  • Compared to Facebook+Pinterest users, Facebook+Instagram users tend to use Facebook more to seek self-status and to seek entertainment.
  • Compared with Facebook+Pinterest users, Facebook+Instagram users exhibit stronger consumption emotions in anger, discontent, worry, sadness, fear, shame, and romantic love during Facebook use.
  • Factoring in gender and compared to Facebook+Instagram users, females who use Facebook+Pinterest tend to use visual social media platforms (i.e., Pinterest) more heavily for the purpose of information seeking compared to their male counterparts.

Implications for Practice

The understanding of stakeholders’ motivations, emotions, and temporal orientation in social media use is more than studying the social media platforms per se. It involves building connections between consumer psychology and social media platform-specific characteristics in strategic communication decision making processes, which is of essence to stakeholder-centric approaches to advertising, marketing and public relations, etc. Strategic social media recommendations should be based on stakeholder characteristics, including their psychological and behavioral tendencies demonstrated in different media environments. As brand managers wrestle with the need to follow their customers onto new digital platforms in an effort to drive brand preference and purchases, they should also be aware of how these platforms are used differently. Among Facebook users, whether they use Instagram or Pinterest reflects different audience mindsets. Organizations, therefore, can be more effective in reaching customers when they consider the different audience mindsets that occur with cross-platform use.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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