Public responses to employee posts on social media: the effects of message valence, message content, and employer reputation

Yeunjae Lee, Su Yeon Cho, Ruoyu Sun, Cong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study examines the effects of employees' personal social media posts on external publics' online engagement and offline word-of-mouth (WOM) intentions about a company. Specifically, it investigates how employee post characteristics including valence and content and employer reputation jointly influence publics' online and offline behaviors. Design/methodology/approach: A 2 (post valence: positive vs. negative) × 2 (post content: organization-related vs. job-related) × 2 (employer reputation: good vs. bad) between-subjects experiment was conducted. Participants were asked to view a stimulus social media post created by a fictitious company employee, reflecting one of the eight experimental conditions on a random basis. After viewing, they were requested to report their online engagement intentions (i.e., “like,” “share” and “comment”) with the post and offline WOM intentions about the company. Findings: The experimental results showed that participants expressed more “like” intentions when they viewed a positive post than a negative post. Further, they were more likely to “comment” on a job-related post as opposed to an organization-related post. In addition, a significant interaction effect between post valence and employer reputation on publics' online engagement was found, which in turn influenced their offline WOM intentions about the company. Originality/value: This study is among the first empirical attempts to examine the effectiveness of employees' personal social media posts on external publics' online and offline behaviors. The experimental findings highlight the importance of managing employee relations from a corporate reputation perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternet Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Employee behavior on social media
  • Message characteristics
  • Online engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics

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