This paper reports on a study that examined the effects of two design characteristics on enhancing perceptions of an online virtual advisor’s social presence. Anchored in the media richness theory (Daft and Lengel, 1984), we hypothesized, and the results confirmed that the use of expressive speech acts by the virtual advisor significantly enhances perceptions of the advisor’s social presence. On the other hand, the effects of endowing the advisor with a humanoid representation and a human voice failed to reach statistical significance. The results of this study suggest that internal characteristics manifested by the advisor are more influential in affecting perceptions of its social presence.