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Thematic analysis of destination images for social media engagement marketing

Seobgyu Song (Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Seunghyun “Brian” Park (Division of Administration and Economics (Hospitality Management), St. John's University, Queens, New York, USA)
Kwangsoo Park (Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Interior Design, and Hospitality Management, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 26 August 2020

Issue publication date: 7 June 2021




This study assessed the effect of photo themes to facilitate social media user engagement in Facebook brand pages and emphasized the important role of designing images for developing destination marketing strategies.


This study analyzed 8,900 posts that were published by official tourism destination marketers for each destination (Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea). Text mining analysis, image thematic coding analysis and two-way ANOVA were applied to examine the significant differences across proposed determinants for the following engagements: the numbers of likes, comments and shares.


The results indicated that photographs on social media of three tourism destinations can be explored based on 11 categories of image themes. The themes' significant and distinct effects on three indicators of social media engagement were verified.


This research presented methodological insights by integrating thematic and statistical analyses with social media analytics. The findings of this study provided theoretical evidence of the importance of image themes in the context of social media engagement marketing. Based on the implications of this study, practitioners would enhance the effectiveness of social media marketing.



Song, S., Park, S.“. and Park, K. (2021), "Thematic analysis of destination images for social media engagement marketing", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 121 No. 6, pp. 1375-1397.



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