Title: Like it but do not comment: manipulating the engagement of sports fans in social media

Authors: Anand Agrawal; Anil Gupta; Anish Yousaf

Addresses: College of Business Administration, American University in the Emirates, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates ' The Business School, University of Jammu, Jammu 180006, India ' Rajalakshmi School of Business, Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600119, India

Abstract: Marketers have embraced social media to connect with their customers and fans, but due to lack of sufficient research in this area, they are struggling to manipulate customers' responses and their engagement levels. We categorised the recent Facebook posts of the four most popular teams in a popular cricket league in India into different types of updates, forms of messages, and message orientations using interaction process analysis (IPA), to study their impact on different levels of engagement, in terms of likes (low engagement), shares (medium engagement) and comments (high engagement). Result revealed that different combinations of these variables generate significantly different growth in numbers of likes, shares and comments. Insights from this study are useful for practitioners in devising a method to analyse and design social media messages to manipulate the levels of customer engagement in social media.

Keywords: social media; customer engagement; Facebook; interaction process analysis; IPA; sports marketing; tags; socio-emotional; sports fans; sports marketers; sports teams; message orientation; sport management; sport marketing; likes; comments.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2018.093358

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2018 Vol.18 No.4, pp.340 - 356

Received: 25 May 2016
Accepted: 14 Mar 2017

Published online: 25 Jul 2018 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article