Negative posts on Facebook business pages much more prevalent than positive posts

FacebookCompanies have little control when it comes to what customers post on their Facebook business page – they are at the mercy of user-generated posts which can either be positive, neutral or negative.

A new study, published in the journalĀ Information Systems Research, examined the impact of what users post on Facebook business pages and how it impacts brands.

Mochen Yang, Yuqing Ren, and Gediminas Adomavicius, all from the University of Minnesota, analyzed 12,000 posts from 41 Fortune 500 companies across 6 industries in 2012.

The team’s analysis shows that the number of negative posts on Facebook business pages vastly outweighs the number of positive posts by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1. The study also shows engagement doesn’t solely depend on the valence of a post but also on the specific ways in which a post is positive or negative.

“We also found positive and negative posts get more likes than neutral ones, but negative posts get the most comments,” said Yang, a professor in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. “Complaints about social issues receive more likes, but fewer comments, than complaints about quality or money issues.ā€

The study demonstrates the open-ended expressions in user-generated content.

“Though increased engagement has been linked to increases in brand loyalty, purchase expenditures, and profitability, companies should carefully consider whether Facebook business pages are an appropriate venue to interact with customers,” said Yang.

“And have a strategy in place to respond to negative posts because they tend to attract more attention than positive or neutral ones.”


Journal Citation

“Understanding User-Generated Content and Customer Engagement on Facebook Business Pages”
Mochen Yang , Yuqing Ren , Gediminas Adomavicius
Information Systems Research
Published Online: 29 Aug 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1287/isre.2019.0834