A UX researcher/designer based in Boston.

MDSC Social Media Strategy: Research and Analysis

Duration: January 2020 to May 2020

Role: User Engagement Research, Theory Research, Sampling, Recommendation

Tool/Method: SPSS, Content Analysis

Paper

Overview

We helped our client, Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, to deduce what types of Facebook content receive the highest user engagement by analyzing the content published by the MDSC as well as other Down syndrome organizations across the country. We did research on exciting literature about nonprofit social media theories, conducted a content analysis, and provided three applicable recommendations to our client.

Theory Research

We focused on framing theories developed by Iyengar (1991) and Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) to discuss the impact of framing on social media engagement.

Research Question and Hypotheses

After doing research on framing theories, we developed two hypotheses and seven research questions. 

H1a: Facebook posts that utilize episodic frames will have greater user engagement (i.e. likes, comments and shares) than Facebook posts that do not use episodic frames.

H1b : Facebook posts that utilize thematic frames will have less user engagement (i.e. likes, comments and shares) than Facebook posts that do not use thematic frames. 

H2: Of the posts that utilize the Semetko and Valkenburg’s (2000) frames, the human interest frame will be utilized most frequently in the Facebook posts issued by Down syndrome nonprofit organizations.

RQ1: To what extent does Semetko and Valkenburg’s (2000) framing typology coincide with Iyengar’s (1991) framing typology?

RQ2: Which interaction between episodic and thematic frames and the Semetko & Valkenburg (2000) frames result in the greatest user engagement (i.e. likes, comments and shares)?

RQ3: What is the impact of the framing typologies (episodic/thematic and Semetko and Valkenburg’s frames) on the tonality of user comments on the Facebook posts issued by Down syndrome nonprofit organizations? RQ3b: What is the impact of framing typologies (episodic/thematic and Semetko and Valkenburg’s frames) on the tonality of user impressions on the Facebook posts issued by Down syndrome nonprofit organizations? 

RQ4: Is there a difference in user engagement (i.e. likes, comments and shares) between posts issued by national Down syndrome organizations and by local organizations? 

RQ5: Which frames are most frequently utilized by a) national and b) local organizations that provide resources for the Down syndrome community?

RQ6: Which frames, when incorporated into social media content, generate the most user engagement for a) national and b) local organizations that provide resources for the Down syndrome community? 

RQ7: How does the MDSC’s use of frames compare to that of general Down syndrome organizations’ incorporation of frames in terms of frequency? 

Method

Sampling: We collected 1,200 Facebook posts from 240 Down syndrome organizations.

  • Only included pages listed as ‘non-profit organizations’.

  • Used posts between March 2019 and March 2020 to ensure posts are recent/relevant.

Coding: Manually coded for several key dimensions of content (month of publishing, mention of events, the inclusion of frames), and the audience’s response (number and tone of impressions, number, and tone of comments, number of shares). Got ICR of 0.88, average percent agreement of 95.08%.

Results

We ran tests in SPSS and got results for our two hypotheses and eight research questions. Different hypotheses and research questions aimed to test different theories' impact on different levels (National, local, and MDSC specific) of organizations' user feedback/ user engagement on social media. 

Recommendations

Based on our key findings, we provided three recommendations for our client to optimize MDSC's social media content and generate greater user engagement.

1. Create content that celebrates community members to get more user engagement.

This is because organizations that spotlight individual stories into their content receive more user engagement. 

Takeaways: This includes social media posts that highlight individual achievements and celebrate challenges that members have overcome.

2. Use Facebook to shine a spotlight on key industry leaders who contribute to the advancement of the Down syndrome community at large.

Posts that celebrate the achievements of individuals who have lent a hand in creating groundbreaking discoveries or passing landmark legislation are consistently well received.

Takeaways: We strongly recommend that when creating such content, organizations should directly tag other users or organizations, in an effort to extend the content’s reach

3. Secure support from national-level organizations to increase reach.

Organizations that cater to a national audience consistently receive higher user engagement.

Takeaways: We strongly recommend connecting with national partners to see if they would be willing to share any native content with their larger audience. 

© 2021 by Feiyang Xu.

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