Building better employer brands through employee social media competence and online social capital

Vignesh Yoganathan*, Victoria Sophie Osburg, Boris Bartikowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the significant and increasing influence of social media on employees' work lives, there is limited focus on employees' social media competencies from an employer branding or internal marketing perspective. Building on social identity and social exchange theories, this paper links employees' social media competence to an increase in online brand citizenship behaviour and reduction in feelings of psychological contract violation towards their employer's brand. We also examine the distinct mediatory effects of two forms of online social capital—bonding mediates the influence of employee social media competence on online brand citizenship and feelings of psychological contract violation, whilst Bridging only mediates the effect of social media competence on feelings of psychological contract violation. In doing so, we contribute to extant literature in two ways: (1) Address the need for research on social media in relation to employer branding; and (2) highlight the importance of building employee-to-employee and employee-to-employer relationships by virtual means in the context of employer branding. Therefore, this paper responds to calls for research that advances more responsible approaches to employer branding and internal marketing; that is, approaches that take into account employee competencies (emphasise need for skill development) as well as wellbeing (emphasise need for support).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-536
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Psychology & Marketing published by Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • employer brand
  • internal marketing
  • online social capital
  • responsible social media
  • social exchange
  • social identity


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