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Spreading the word through likes on Facebook: Evaluating the message strategy effectiveness of Fortune 500 companies

Kunal Swani (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
George Milne (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
Brian P. Brown (Marketing Department, VCU School of Business, Richmond, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

ISSN: 2040-7122

Article publication date: 14 October 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to investigate the message strategies most likely to promote online “word-of-mouth” (WOM) activity for business-to-business (B2B)/business-to-consumer as well as product/service Facebook accounts.

Design/methodology/approach

Using content analysis and HLM, the authors measure the relationship between three types of message strategies and Facebook message “Likes” by analyzing 1,143 wall post messages of 193 Fortune 500 Facebook accounts.

Findings

Research findings suggest that B2B Facebook account posts are more effective if they include corporate brand names and avoid “hard sell” or explicitly commercial statements. Furthermore, results suggest that including emotional sentiments in Facebook posts is a particularly effective social media strategy for B2B and service marketers.

Originality/value

This study advances the knowledge of social media and online WOM behavior, as well as B2B and service advertising/communication literature, by relating message content to message popularity. In terms of managerial implications, this research provides explanations and support for the implementation of effective social media message strategies that are likely to promote WOM activity.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Professors Bruce Weinberg, Aline Sayer, Alex Zablah, and Barry Berman for their comments and insights on earlier versions of the paper.

Citation

Swani, K., Milne, G. and P. Brown, B. (2013), "Spreading the word through likes on Facebook: Evaluating the message strategy effectiveness of Fortune 500 companies", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 269-294. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-05-2013-0026

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited