Cultivating attraction – Engagement on Facebook The influence of social media post design characteristics on nonprofit social media engagement

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In a global refugee crisis, nonprofit organizations play an important role communicating refugee agendas. To communicate effectively, they utilize social media platforms such as Facebook to compete for the public’s attention online. Previous observational research indicated that how social media posts are designed can facilitate nonprofit communication by increasing engagement. Several post design factors such as post length, entertainment, emotion, format, purpose, and communication form have been identified but not yet experimentally tested in practice. Therefore, we set up two studies to 1) find out how to design social media posts that represent these design factors well and lead to high engagement intention and 2) to test the influence of three design factors post length, emotional phrasing and format on social media engagement with a behavioural intervention. In study 1, we presented participants (n = 21) with social media posts representing distinct levels of post design factors in an online questionnaire to assess which posts are perceived to be different in terms of factor presence and engagement intention. For study 2, we re-designed posts (n = 40) in a private Facebook group of a refugee nonprofit organization in Nijmegen, the Netherlands to investigate the influence of post design factors on engagement behaviours. The results of the intervention revealed the first experimental evidence that the interplay of all three factors and length and format in specific, significantly influenced refugee nonprofit post engagement. Given time constraints, future research is necessary to consolidate these results and further investigate the findings. Keywords: refugee, nonprofit organization, Facebook, social media, post design, engagement
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen