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Facebook Like Ac ((BETTER))

This study aimed to review the use of Facebook by Australian public health organisations to identify features of their posting activity that are associated with user engagement, which we define as likes, shares, or comments. Specifically, we asked: (1) what communication and conventional marketing techniques are being employed by public health organisations on Facebook? and (2) what techniques are associated with greater user engagement?

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To increase the comprehensiveness of our search, we supplemented our Socialbakers search with a Google web search of key terms relating to the selected public health issues. We examined the first three pages of search results for any public health-related Facebook pages, regardless of the number of likes. We excluded pages that were not predominately focussed on a public health issue(s) (e.g. healthcare-related pages) and any commercial pages from the analyses. Once both authors had finalised their shortlist, we compared the lists and resolved discrepancies through discussion or through referral to BF. All searches were conducted in late September 2015.

We further restricted our sample to exclude pages that did not have a primary prevention focus or had less than 10,000 likes by Australian users. The latter criterion was applied so that our analyses were focused on those pages that had already generated comparatively high-levels of interest from Facebook users and for practical reasons; namely to limit the number of pages included in the analyses to an amount that we could manage within available resources. One exception was a page focused on Aboriginal health, which was retained despite not reaching our threshold (this page only had 4,895 Australian fans) because it covers a health priority not explicitly addressed by any of the other eligible pages. A list of the excluded pages and their characteristics is provided in S1 Table.

We also noted whether the pages allowed user-generated content to be posted and if the page administrators engaged with users either through liking or replying to user comments on their own posts or on user-generated posts. Consistent with Freeman et al. [5], we did not further examine user-generated content because page users are considerably less likely to be exposed to such content as it does not appear in the primary news feed of the page.

We generated descriptive statistics for each post type, communication technique, and marketing element. We then investigated associations between the use of each post type, communication technique, and marketing element and the amount of user engagement, operationalized as likes, shares, and comments in this study. To do this, we conducted a series of (separate) negative binomial regressions (the data were over-dispersed) with the count of likes, comments and shares as the outcome variables, and post type, communication technique, and marketing elements as categorical independent variables. The reference category for post-type was photos as this was the most popular category and for communication technique was call-to-action because it represented a concrete action for users to take, as opposed to all of the other categories, which aimed to either inform or evoke emotion. As posts were nested within pages, a variable indicating the page on which the post was published was also included in the models. In addition, we conducted post-estimation contrasts of the effect for each page compared with mean as there was no one page that could sensibly serve as a reference category.

On average, over all pages, video posts received on average 25% more likes than photo posts, while links and text posts received 37% and 31% fewer likes respectively (Table 5). Shares displayed a similar pattern, with videos receiving nearly four times as many likes as photo posts on average, while links and text received 30% and 69% fewer shares, respectively. Video and text only posts received more comments on average than photo posts (IRR = 2.03 and 1.59, respectively).

With regards to communication technique, posts that made use of positive emotional appeal received on average 18% more likes than call-to-action posts but 27% fewer shares. Humorous posts and testimonials also received fewer shares than call-to-action (IRR = 0.30 and 0.73 respectively), while informative posts received more than twice as many shares but with no effect observed for likes or comments. Both fear appeal and humorous posts received more comments on average than call-to-action posts (IRR = 1.72 and 2.01, respectively), while instructive posts received 23% fewer.

Posts with celebrities and sportspeople generally received a greater level of engagement, receiving 62% more likes, two and a half times the number of shares and 64% more comments than posts without celebrities and sportspeople. Most other marketing elements tended to receive either fewer likes, shares, and comments than posts without these elements, or there was no association. The only exceptions to this were for competitions, prizes, and giveaways and characters or mascots, which received significantly more comments on average than posts without these elements (IRR = 1.64, 4.05, and 2.56, respectively).

In the analysis where the outcome of interest was post consumers, video posts were significantly more likely to receive any interaction than photo posts when accounting for fan impression and reach, but not when accounting for all impressions and reach (S5 Table). Links and text only posts consistently received fewer post consumers than photo posts, regardless of offset. Testimonial-style posts had a greater number of post consumers per impression and per unique user compared to call-to-action posts, while humour and instructive posts received fewer post consumers per fan impression and unique fan. Branding elements were found to have a mixed relationship with post consumers, receiving fewer per impression and unique user than posts without branding elements but receiving more per fan impression and unique fan. On the other hand, sponsorships and partnerships and persons of authority had fewer post consumers per fan impression and unique fan.

This study has identified some of the characteristics of public health-related Facebook posts that are associated with increased or decreased user engagement. Notably, very few fans will actively engage with any one post, with median likes per post as a percentage of total fans ranging between 0.05% and 1.4%. This reinforces the need for posting content that maximises the chance of high engagement if an organisation is to have any opportunity to make a meaningful impact on public health outcomes on social media. The results presented in this paper provide public health organisations some guidance on how they may improve engagement with social media users.

Our results showed that video posts were the most engaging post type, shared on average four times more often than photo posts. This suggests that fans are more likely to see video posts as novel, interesting, and worthy of sharing with their friends, which is in line with current industry predictions about the value of video for any content provider.[39] However, only 3% of all posts we coded were videos suggesting that public health organisations are trailing behind conventional marketers, with Cisco predicting that video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017 and 80% by 2019.[40]

Conversely, links and text-only posts received fewer likes and shares than photo posts, implying that these posts are generally not seen as engaging, regardless of the content. Lack of engagement with links may be because Facebook users are reluctant to leave Facebook for an external site.[41] Our results suggest that links in particular do not promote engagement, especially when it seems that links are generally reach the fewest number of people of all types of posts and only 1% of these users actually click on the link.

Our analysis showed that many traditional marketing elements were associated with lower levels of engagement. In particular, sponsorships and partnerships and use of persons of authority resulted in fewer likes, shares, and comments, compared to posts with no marketing elements at all. On the other hand, the use of celebrities and sportspeople resulted in higher levels of engagement on average, although this relationship was either not significant or reversed when accounting for reach and impressions. Some research from commercial marketing has suggested that celebrities can have significant impact on brand awareness and affinity[43] but that there is also a risk that the celebrity will overshadow the brand.[44] Given this, we recommend further research looking at the role of celebrity in public health marketing on social media, particularly in relation to why fans are more likely to engage with posts that contain celebrities or sportspeople and the effect the use of celebrity has on receptivity to the public health message being conveyed.

Results for the use of different communication techniques were less clear, however. Positive emotional appeal posts, for example, received on average more likes but fewer shares than call-to-action posts, suggesting that these posts prompt only minimal levels of engagement from fans. Humorous posts, however, attracted significantly fewer likes and shares but more comments. This is may be due to the highly subjective nature of humour; that is, what some fans would consider funny could differ wildly from other fans, leading to either no engagement with many fans or negative engagement. We speculate that the reason humorous posts (and also fear appeal posts) received more comments on average is due to their controversial nature. While we did not systematically examine the content of user comments, we did note in coding the posts that many of these types of posts contained negative comments or comments that indicated behaviour in conflict with the intent of the post. For example, a humorous post aimed at discouraging excessive consumption of alcohol included many comments from fans bragging about how they regularly consumed alcohol in excess and would continue to do so. 350c69d7ab


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