Facebook users generate more negative than positive posts on business pages

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With more than 2.3 billion users and 60 million business pages, a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota dug through a wealth of data looking at vanity metrics and user engagements via the social networking site Facebook. They found that negative posts significantly outweighed positive posts on business pages, by a considerable margin.

The team examined data from 12,000 posts generated by the accounts of 41 Fortune 500 companies in six different industries throughout 2012. The results were available in the peer-reviewed journal Information Systems Research.

Upon examination, researchers determined that users on the social platform posted more negative than positive posts on the business pages, with a ratio of nearly 2 to 1.

Negative posts generated more comments, however, as both positive and negative posts resulted in more likes than neutral ones. Increased engagement led to more brand loyalty, purchase expenditures, and profitability, according to the findings.

“Complaints about social issues receive more likes, but fewer comments, than complaints about quality or money issues. We also found positive and negative posts get more likes than neutral ones, but negative posts get the most comments,” said Mochen Yang, a researcher at the University of Minnesota.

“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.”