Study Finds Facebook Improves Image During a Crisis

FBA Missouri School of Journalism study found that Facebook posts improved how people perceived organizations during a crisis. A doctoral candidate showed study participants two fictional stories about universities in crisis. Then, participants read Facebook posts by each university and were asked how the felt about the crisis. Attitudes about the organizations improved, and participants thought the crisis was less severe.

Seoyeon Hong also found that a narrative, or storytelling, type of writing in the Facebook posts was more effective than a style that wasn't narrative:

"This indicates that the effect of narrative tone in organizational statements during crises increases perceived conversational human voice, which represents a high level of engagement and best communicates trust, satisfaction, and commitment to the audience. This is an important practice for public relations professionals because perceptions that an organization is sincerely trying to provide timely and accurate information during a crisis can lead to not only more favorable attitudes toward the organization, but also perceptions of less responsibility the organization has for causing the crisis."

Discussion Starters:

  • Does this research surprise you? Why or why not?
  • Find an example of an organizationi's Facebook post written as a narrative. What is effective about that style?