Social media constitutes a pervasive communication media that has had a prominent role during global crises. While crisis communication research suggests that individuals use social media differently during a crisis, little is known about what forms of engagement behavior may emerge and what drivers may lead to different forms of social media users’ engagement behavior toward a global crisis. This study uses netnography and in-depth interviews to explore social media users’ behavioral manifestations toward the COVID-19 crisis; thereby, we identify nine forms and six drivers and develop a framework of relationships between these forms and drivers. Those findings provide a better understanding of social media engagement toward the crisis from individual users’ perspectives, which helps commercial and non-commercial marketers to determine the users’ sentiments and reactions reflected in their engagement behaviors, hence, communicate more effectively and in a more engaging way during and beyond a global crisis.


This content is not covered by the Open Government Licence. Please see source record or item for information on rights and permissions.

Cite as

Azer, J., Blasco-Arcas, L. & Harrigan, P. 2021, '#COVID-19: forms and drivers of social media users’ engagement behavior toward a global crisis', Journal of Business Research, 135, pp. 99-111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2021.06.030

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 16 June 2022
Was this page helpful?