Spreading Social Media Messages on Facebook: An Analysis of Restaurant Business-to-Consumer Communications

Linchi Kwok, Bei Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


As a method of determining what types of social media messages work best for hospitality firms, this study examined what types of messages gained the most clicks of "Like" and comments on Facebook. An analysis of the number of likes and comments regarding nine hundred and eighty-two Facebook messages from ten restaurant chains and two independent operators revealed clear patterns. The more popular keywords involved information about the restaurant (e.g., menu descriptions) and the less popular messages were those that contained marketing-related words (including "winner" and "check"). Dividing the messages into four media types, namely, status (text only), link (containing a URL), video (embedding a video), and photo (showing photos), revealed that photo and status receive more likes and comments than the other two categories. Social media messages can also be categorized into two message types: sales and marketing (about two-thirds of the messages in this study) and conversational messages. Based on number of likes and comments, conversational messages are endorsed by more Facebook users. Finally, cross-effects of media type and message type affect the number of comments a message received. Although these results do not expressly assess Facebook users' reactions, the guidelines developed here should help managers improve their use of Facebook, as well as provide groundwork for developing a defined typology of Facebook messages and an automatic text classifier with the machine learning techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-94
Number of pages11
JournalCornell Hospitality Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Facebook
  • communication
  • marketing
  • restaurant
  • social media
  • text classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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