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The outcome of online social interactions on Facebook pages: A study of user engagement behavior

Hamid Khobzi (Department of Information Systems, College of Business, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Raymond Y.K. Lau (Department of Information Systems, College of Business, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Terence C.H. Cheung (College of Business, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 11 December 2018

Issue publication date: 7 January 2019

3947

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of different ways of message framing on users’ engagement behavior regarding the brand posts on Facebook and to determine whether users’ thumbs-up and reply moderate this impact.

Design/methodology/approach

A panel data analysis was conducted on a panel with 11,894 observations on 850 unique brand posts from the Facebook pages of the world’s most valuable brands over a seven days window with two observations each day. A system of equations was estimated using ordinary least squares, Hausman–Taylor IV and seemingly unrelated regressions to test study’s hypotheses.

Findings

The empirical findings confirm that more positively and negatively framed comments result in increased users’ engagement. Also, an increase in thumbs-up ratio for neutrally and negatively framed comments results in less engagement. The reply ratio might also have a positive and negative moderation effect on the influence of neutrally and positively framed comments on engagement behavior, respectively.

Practical implications

This study provides an in-depth understanding of online social interactions on Facebook pages for firms’ managers and marketers. Online social interactions might be either harmful or fruitful for firms depending on the type of interaction and engagement behavior. Findings can help managers and marketer to improve their strategies for leveraging Facebook for electronic marketing.

Originality/value

This is likely to be the first study that examines the moderating effect of users’ thumbs-up and reply on the relationship between message framing and users’ engagement behavior. By providing robust findings by addressing issues like omitted variables and endogeneity, the findings of this study are promising for developing new hypotheses and theoretical models in the context of online social interactions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project: CityU 11502115), and the Shenzhen Municipal Science and Technology R&D Funding – Basic Research Program (Project No. JCYJ20160229165300897).

Citation

Khobzi, H., Lau, R.Y.K. and Cheung, T.C.H. (2019), "The outcome of online social interactions on Facebook pages: A study of user engagement behavior", Internet Research, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 2-23. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-04-2017-0161

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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