Drawing from available means: Assessing the rhetorical dimensions of facebook practice

Mark Hannah, Chris Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A company’s presence on Facebook plays an important role in engaging its customer base. However, little empirical work has fully examined the nature and impact of corporate Facebook posts on engagement. In this study, we analyzed 680 Facebook posts collected from a sample of six companies over a period of 12 months. We examined variables including post frequency, content type, illocutionary act, linking style, and media. We found that entertainment posts were more engaging than operational news and innovation posts. Educational posts were also more engaging than innovation posts. With regard to illocutionary acts, expressives, or posts that express the writer’s emotion, were more engaging than all other illocutionary acts. Additionally, representative posts were more engaging than directive posts. For linking style, we discovered that posts containing no link were actually more engaging than posts with an external link. We also found a significant interaction between content type and linking practice, which indicates that linking style influences the effectiveness of some content types in engaging audiences. Finally, we found that companies overwhelmingly relied on the use of text and images in their posts over video and image galleries. We speculate that content that removes a user from the Facebook “universe” (e.g., a link or a video) actually may demotivate a user to engage with the original content of the post. We discuss these results from a rhetorical perspective and provide insight for corporate Facebook practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-257
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Business Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Communication practice
  • Engagement
  • Facebook
  • Rhetoric
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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