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People want to see people? Personalization on Facebook as a tool for corporate communications

Nora Denner (Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany)
Hannah Schneider (University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 4 October 2022

Issue publication date: 3 January 2023




Social networks were created to connect with friends. Therefore, communication in social networks allows addressing individual contacts of each user and is often rather private by nature. Organizations can use this to communicate frequently and personally with their stakeholders. Therefore, this study investigates how organizations use personalization in their social media communication.


This study uses a quantitative content analysis of Facebook posts from ten large companies (N = 500). The posts were analyzed regarding the sub dimensions of personalization, individualization and privatization, as well as type of post, tonality, emotions, user reactions and topics.


Companies at least partially personalize their communication on Facebook. Overall, 28% of all posts were personalized. Personalized posts were almost always positive regarding tonality and mostly positive regarding emotions. While the personalized posts in this study have fewer user reactions than non-personalized posts, they still have a rather high absolute number of reactions. Regarding personal characteristics, results show that professional competence and appearance were mainly addressed. Concerning privatization, only very few posts showed an individual in a private setting.


The present work gives an overview of how personalized posts differ from non-personalized posts and looks at depicted individuals as well as the use of private elements. By applying the conceptualization of Van Aelst et al. (2012) and by looking at organizations’ use of personalization on the social media platform Facebook, it sheds light on an area that has not been the center of attention so far and helps to expand the current state of personalization research.



Denner, N. and Schneider, H. (2023), "People want to see people? Personalization on Facebook as a tool for corporate communications", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 30-47.



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