Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to draw on social exchange theory and heuristic–systematic model to examine how peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firms can enhance their customer acquisition by achieving mobile social media popularity. Design/methodology/approach: Content data collected from multiple sources (websites and mobile applications) were employed to validate the research model. Findings: The mobile social media popularity of P2P lending firms positively influences their customer acquisition. Furthermore, the heuristic cues (i.e. source credibility and content freshness) and the systematic cue (i.e. transaction relevance) potentially affect the firms’ mobile social media popularity. Research limitations/implications: Mobile social media is not only a platform for firms’ image-building but a critical means of acquiring actual customers. The appropriate use of heuristic–systematic cues in a mobile interface is useful for firms to achieve high user popularity despite the challenges derived from the mobile context. Practical implications: To achieve higher user popularity in the competitive online world, firms should dedicate greater effort in determining the adequate heuristic–systematic cues designed for the interface of their mobile social media account. The effect of popularity can then help the firms acquire more customers. Originality/value: This study extends the understanding of social exchange in the context of mobile social media accounts and enriches the knowledge on business value of mobile social media popularity. This paper also contributes to the literature by relating heuristic–systematic cues to firms’ mobile social media popularity.
- Customer acquisition
- Heuristic–systematic model
- Mobile social media popularity
- Social exchange theory