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What makes the difference? Employee social media brand engagement

Sherese Y. Duncan (Luleå University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden)
Raeesah Chohan (Luleå University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden and Department of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
João José Ferreira (Department of Management and Economics and NECE- Research Unit in Business Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 26 June 2019

Issue publication date: 7 October 2019




This paper aims to explore, using the employee lens of business-to-business firms, word use through brand engagement and social media interaction to understand the difference between employees who rate their employer brands highly on social media and those who don't.


We conducted a textual content analysis of posts published on the social media job evaluation site LIWC software package was used to analyze 30 of the top 200 business-to-business brands listed on Brandwatch using four variables, namely, analytical thinking, clout, authenticity and emotional tone.


The results show that employees who rate their employer’s brand low use significantly more words, are significantly less analytic and write with significantly more clout because they focus more on others than themselves. Employees who rate their employer’s brand highly, write with significantly more authenticity, exhibit a significantly higher tone and display far more positive emotions in their reviews.

Practical implications

Brand managers should treat social media data disseminated by individual stakeholders, like the variables used in this study (tone, word count, frequency), as a valuable tool for brand insight on their industry, competition and their own brand equity, now and especially over time.


This study provides acknowledgement that social media is a significant source of marketing intelligence that may improve brand equity by better understanding and managing brand engagement.



This paper forms part of a special section “Emerging Technologies in Business and Industrial Marketing”, guest edited by Jeannette Paschen, Leyland Pitt and Jan Kietzmann.


Duncan, S.Y., Chohan, R. and Ferreira, J.J. (2019), "What makes the difference? Employee social media brand engagement", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 7, pp. 1459-1467.



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