Telecommunications companies create social media pages run by administrators to maintain relationships and develop conversations with existing and potential customers. Whilst setting up Facebook brand pages, companies can either allow both administrators and users to initiate conversations or exclusively enable administrators to create posts. Users participate through comments and interactions such as ‘like’ on Facebook, which expresses their agreement with other users’ statements. Allowing users to start conversations on a Facebook brand page may not only influence the posts topics but also the overall sentiment of the conversations.

This research project evaluates the influence of posts initiated by either administrators or users, on the conversations topics and sentiment towards the brand, its products and services and service quality, on telecommunications Facebook brand pages in the UK.

An initial exploratory qualitative study of the topics of posts initiated by community managers and users suggests that brands tend to publish inspirational and entertaining posts while users initiate conversations focused on personal issues and practical product aspects. A sentiment analysis study posits that users tend to initiate negative conversations. In addition, while the sentiment expressed through comments on both brand and user initiated posts is mostly neutral, brands which allow users to initiate posts experience a larger share of positive comments on their posts.
These results are specific to the telecommunications industry in the UK and need to be considered alongside extraneous factors subject to influence the conversations’ sentiment.

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The role of social media when customers decide to purchase telecommunications products and services: the influence of the post initiator on conversations topics and sentiment across telecommunications brands Facebook pages in the UK.

Research project with OrangeR&D Labs.

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Organisation: Orange Research Labs & University College London (UCL)