When more likes is not better: the consequences of high and low likes-to-followers ratios for perceived account credibility and social media marketing effectiveness Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2019

start page

  • 275

end page

  • 291


  • 30

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0923-0645

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-059X


  • Previous research on social media marketing assumes that the more followers or "likes" an individual or company has on social media, the better. The current research is the first that challenges this assumption by showing that people make inferences about the credibility of social media accounts based on the number of likes a post receives relative to the size of its likely audience. The findings indicate that high as well as low likes-to-followers ratios negatively influence the perceived credibility of the account and, as such, dampen social media marketing effectiveness. The addition of hashtags is identified as a way to guard against the negative impact of high likes-to-followers ratios. Managers, (aspiring) influencers, and people in general involved in (personal) branding on social media can use the present findings to maximize the effectiveness of their social media marketing strategy.


  • Business
  • Economics


  • social media marketing; instagram; likes; followers; hashtag; credibility