When being present is not enough : a study on the influence of companies´ Facebook activities on negative user-generated inputs and response strategies.

Fritzsche, S. (2012) When being present is not enough : a study on the influence of companies´ Facebook activities on negative user-generated inputs and response strategies.

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Abstract:This study revolves around the influence of companies´ Facebook activity level on their response strategies to negative user-generated inputs. Although in the past, researchers found that the internet increases a company´s crisis potential newer research advised companies to promote an active social presence when using social media. Social media were also discovered to be a useful tool in times of organizational crises and for crisis communication due to their unique channel characteristics. However, neither the differences in companies’ activities were discovered nor the ways different levels of activity influence the occurrence of negative user-generated input and crisis communication. To shed light on the influence of the level of activity of companies on Facebook on the crisis response strategy to negative user-generated input a content-analysis including qualitative and quantitative variables was performed on 44 German Facebook brand profiles over a four-week period. The findings suggest that a company´s level of activity is defined by the amount of information-sharing and interactivity with the users. Only companies with a high level of activity made frequent use of interactivity. Interactivity in turn was found to be a strong predictor for the number of negative user-generated input on a profile which made high active profiles more susceptible to criticism. Reversely interactivity in the high activity group also correlated with the number of fans and fan activity as a more favorable outcome for companies. It was found that the response strategies to negative input differed based on the companies´ level of activity and depending on the nature of criticism (product, service, general business). The study revealed that in more that 50% of the cases the response to product- and service-related criticism included redirecting users to another channel (e-mail, phone) whereas 90% of the general-business-related criticism was ignored. The findings imply that companies need to strategically address their level of activity based on the goal of their social media presence. It seems that social media may not be a very suitable channel to respond to certain complaints.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62204
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