Despite the growing scholarship on social media (SM) marketing, a holistic consideration of what constitutes an informed messaging strategy has yet to emerge. Drawing on the contextual usability literature, this study proposes a Contextual Messaging Framework, encompassing four dimensions—Brand, Industry, Medium, and Action—that jointly drive the strategy, media type, and content as employed in a particular brand social media post and its subsequent effect on consumer engagement. Employing a longitudinal multiple case study of three Fortune 110 companies—Delta Airlines, Wal-Mart, and McDonald’s—we analyzed 369 Facebook posts across two six-week data collection periods. Support was obtained for all hypotheses revealing that our framework not only offers a reliable set of conceptualizations and operationalizations that can be employed by SM researchers in future SM studies, but further offers a comprehensive lens that can guide SM practitioners in the design of effective messages that result in greater consumer engagement.



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