The 2012 research has been written up by Kramer et al. (2014) and describes how they manipulated newsfeeds in English speaking participants to show either less positive or negative posts by their friends. They found a strong link in seeing positive emotions in Facebook Newsfeeds leading to more positive emotions in individual posts, which disproves the adage that “exposure to the happiness of others may actually be depressing to us”.
So I wonder if that is what friends think, then how does that influence business pages? Facebook business pages rely on people (friends) sharing your posts, liking them, commenting on them; all of which appear in their friends’ newsfeed and activity feed. So if business is positive in their emotions on their Facebook page, will that increase sales?
Influencers of customer emotions and their behaviour
Mazaheri et al. (2011) found in their research of Canadians that customer attitudes on the site positively (and significantly) influenced their service attitudes and that service attitudes influenced buying intention. They also found that the perceived entertainment value of the site positively influenced customer attitudes. Varhagen & van Dolen (2011), took this intention one step further showing that positive intention lead to actual purchases.
Businesses rely on likes, comments & shares of their Facebook posts to increase their customer base, increase brand awareness and boost sales. Whilst product scarcity can drive sales, the Facebook research shows that post emotion drives user emotion. It also shows that user emotion can drive offline behaviour. This links with the 2011 research by Mazaheri et al and Varhagen & van Dolen.
What do businesses need to consider?
Varhagen & van Dolen (2011) found that “Consumer behaviour is likely to be dominated by positive emotions and less by negative emotions”.
Businesses need to consider why they have a Facebook page. Is it there to entertain? Is it there to inform? Is it there to drive sales? If your Facebook page exists to do any of these things then you need to pay attention to the Facebook research.
So, if your Facebook page is entertaining, then this will increase how customers view your business. If they view it more positively, they are more likely to view the service they receive as positive. If they believe that the service they will receive is positive, then they are more likely to want to purchase from you. If they want to purchase from you, they will.
- Positive emotion in your posts = positive emotion in your customers posts on Facebook.
- Positive emotions on Facebook leads to positive emotions offline.
- Positive emotions on a website (or Facebook page) leads to positive opinions towards service.
- Positive opinions of service leads to positive purchase intentions.
- Positive intentions lead to purchases.
So it’s true! Being positive on your Facebook page, really does make for good business and makes you money! Read more on the topic of how to handle negative business situations in a positive manner.
Adam D. I. Kramer, Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 24, pp 8788-90.
Ebrahim Mazaheri, Marie-Odile Richard, Miche Laroche, (2011). Online consumer behaviour: Comparing Canadian and Chinese website visitors. Journal of Business Research (Vol. 64), (Issue 9), pp. 959-965.
Tibert Verhagen and Willemijn van Dolen (2011). The influence of online store beliefs on consumer online impulse buying: A model and empirical application. Information and Management, 48, pp 320-327.