This study investigated how like-clicking activities on social media can signal users' social endorsement behaviors, which influence customer–brand relationships. Through the simple clicking of emojis, consumers can engage with and express their perceptions regarding brands on social media. Researchers have paid limited attention to the direct and indirect influence of liking behaviors on users in online social networking ecosystems. Specifically, how a user is influenced by others' liking behaviors remains unclear. On the basis of social identity theory and signaling theory, this study proposes that “likes” in social media contexts are a form of social endorsement. A research framework was developed to investigate the effects of two types of social endorsement, namely friend endorsement and crowd endorsement, over two studies. In study 1, an online survey was conducted with Facebook users recruited through convenient sampling, and in study 2, an experiment was performed with participants from Amazon MTurk. This research adopted statistical analysis and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to examine the influence of friend and crowd endorsement on users' like-clicking behavior. Results indicated that both friend and crowd endorsement exert positive influences on users’ like-clicking behavior. Results also indicated that liking behaviors result in enhanced brand attitude, customer engagement, and customer–brand identification, all of which facilitate purchase intention. Moreover, fsQCA results supported the conjunctural causal effects of social endorsements and suggested other two conditions for such causalities.
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