Social Media Strategists: Here Is the Science Behind Scheduling Content

[Reblogged from the American Marketing Association, Social Media Strategists: Here Is the Science Behind Scheduling Content]

Reaching customers has never been easier – or more challenging. Today’s customers are digitally wired and use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with friends, family, colleagues, influencers … and brands. In 2017, users consumed about 5.53 billion hours per day of social media content, up by 264 percent in the past five years. It’s no wonder that online ad-supported content platforms maintain a significant presence on social media. CNN, for example, posts around 47 Tweets per day. In the U.S., firms are expected to spend more than $37 billion on social media advertising by 2020.

Developing strategic social media schedules enables content platforms to generate traffic to their own websites, grow their audiences, and increase their online advertising revenues from impressions channeled through link clicks of social media posts. That’s a difficult challenge, however: the average engagement with a Facebook post is 0.16 percent; with Instagram, 1.73 percent; and Twitter, 0.046 percent. A new study in the Journal of Marketing seeks to boost social media profitability by providing managers with the tools they need to fine-tune scheduling to their goals.

Content platforms need to consider issues such as when to post content, how much content to post, and how much to spend on targeted content advertising (TCA). While social media is integral to brands’ digital growth, there is little research literature to guide managers’ scheduling strategies. A social media manager charged with posting 10 stories in one day with a budget to promote four of them can position the posts in more than seven trillion ways. While existing software can help with automating the publishing of messages on multiple social media platforms, it does not address optimal scheduling of posts for a social media platform and budgeting for targeted content advertising.

Our research team drew from literature on circadian rhythms in information processing capabilities to build a novel theoretical framework on social media scheduling and explain how scheduling attributes affect the link clicks metric. We hypothesized that most users’ working memory availability would be highest in the morning, lowest in mid-afternoon, and moderate in the evening and that their desire to engage with content would follow the same pattern. We also hypothesized that the use of TCA and content type (such as content with high-arousal emotions or content requiring high cognitive processing) would differentially affect link clicks by time of day.

We tested our hypothesis using a model based on 366 days of Facebook post data from a top-50 U.S. newspaper, totaling 5,706 posts. We also built an algorithm that allows social media managers to optimally plan social media content schedules and maximize gross profits.

Our study findings suggest that online ad-supported content platforms such as CNN, ESPN, and Wall Street Journal can significantly enhance their profits by posting content that follows the biological responses of their audiences’ sleep-wake cycles and help them target content types to when the audience is most naturally receptive to it.

Key findings include:

– We reaffirm commonly held wisdom that time of day is crucial to engagement. For example, posting content in the morning resulted in an 8.8 percent increase in link clicks over posts scheduled for the afternoon and 11.1 increase over those scheduled in the evening.

– The algorithm demonstrates the impact of time of day, TCA, and content type on link clicks and how these variables interact. For example, we demonstrate that employing TCA in the afternoon generates 21 percent more link clicks than doing so in the morning. TCA at night decreases link clicks by 9.7 percent, leading to advertising losses.

– Posting content that contains high-arousal negative emotions in the morning is 1.6 percent more effective at generating link clicks than posting it in the afternoon or evening.

– We present a novel optimizer that works as a decision-support tool for social media managers to help them schedule content on social media more profitability. For example, simply arranging posts without allocating additional budget for TCA can help the firm increase gross profits by 8 percent.

​Our research will help managers optimize their companies’ social media strategies by making posting decisions based on brain science as opposed to “spray and pray” techniques or arbitrary rules of thumb. About 73 percent of the managers we interviewed were interested in using this tool to improve scheduling effectiveness.

In addition, this research can help these managers make a case for targeted advertising investments and then allocate budgets effectively across multiple initiatives, using data to drive profitability. Given that companies are increasingly running analytics-driven businesses, these metrics and tools can help win approval for strategies, defend budgets, and deliver on commitments.

Read the full article.

From: Vamsi Kanuri, Yixing Chen, and Shrihari Sridhar, “Scheduling Content on Social Media: Theory, Evidence and Application,” Journal of Marketing, 84 (November).​

Read the latest research from the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, and the Journal of International Marketing today!

From Advocacy to Accountability in Experiential Learning Practices

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury, Jeanie M. Forray of Western New England University, and Kathy Lund Dean of Gustavus Adolphus College. They recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “From advocacy to accountability in experiential learning practices,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly discuss the motivations for and challenges of this research:]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

The motivation for our research emerged from our observations of student reactions to mismanaged facilitation of experiential exercises in the classroom. We have witnessed our students have quite adverse reactions to classroom exercises that we were not prepared for, nor trained to manage. We started to look for ethical guidance and were surprised by the lack of information for educators on best practices for experiential educators. Unlike research where methods are vetted before data is collected, educators can employ any teaching method with students based on the understanding that educators are competent in that learning environment. We were also perplexed how business schools are increasingly advocating for experiential education, but don’t seem to be balancing this advocacy with training opportunities for educators. So our motivation was borne out of curiosity and concern for student welfare.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

A single event sparked this research paper. I was sitting in my office, when I became aware that a large number of students were congregating in the corridor looking for information. They were first year students on a scavenger hunt to find information about university procedures. I heard a student become audibly upset; she was concerned that she could not find “the right answers” and would be penalised on her course grade. Other students rallied around her to help and they went back to class. At the end of the scavenger hunt the faculty deemed the scavenger hunt a success, yet the students were never given the opportunity to debrief nor voice their concerns over the experience. At the time of the incident we (the 3 authors) discussed the ethics of having students do exercises/experiences and not being fully debriefed, which expanded into conversations about what types of experiences are low/high-risk and what level of competence do we need to facilitate these experiences.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

We were really surprised that this issue hasn’t been addressed before now. The layers of assumptions behind educator competence really surprises us each time we discuss our research – we are expected to be competent at experiential education when no formal system exists to vet our competence.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the journal and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Does Wealth Matter for Responsible Investment?

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Trond Døskeland and Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen of the NHH Norwegian School of Economics. They recently published an article in Business & Society entitled “Does Wealth Matter for Responsible Investment? Experimental Evidence on the Weighing of Financial and Moral Arguments,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the motivations and challenges of this research:]

Abstract

Responsible investment is increasingly prevalent, and both financial and moral concerns can drive such investment. In this article, we investigate how responsible investors of different wealth weigh financial and moral arguments. Prior research on different factors that may co-determine responsible investment behavior yield competing predictions about the influence of personal wealth on investment. We conduct a large-scale natural field experiment on responsible investment, wherein we treat investors with financial, moral and no arguments, respectively. We find that there is a statistically and economically significant difference in responsiveness to financial and moral arguments between investors of different wealth. Specifically, financial arguments are more effective than are moral arguments for high wealth investors but not for low wealth investors, and the effect is particularly high for the wealthiest investors. The findings hold for several different measures of wealth. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the moderating effect of wealth on responsible investment choice. Furthermore, these insights may enable more fine-tuned strategies to stimulate responsible investment among different individual investor segments.

What motivated you to pursue this research?

We are two colleagues – one finance scholar and one business ethics scholar – who suddenly found ourselves working together at the same department. At the time, responsible investment was taking off in Norway, both as a consequence of the early efforts of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth fund and their pioneering responsible investment efforts, and in the market for private individual investors. We realized that our complementing research interests and knowledge made it possible for us to do interesting work on this emerging topic together.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

It is challenging to conduct experimental research in close collaboration with companies, because it requires an alignment of the objectives of the research team and the managers of the company. Our field experiment on responsible investment was carried out in the Norwegian bank Skandiabanken. We were fortunate that the managers of the company really valued doing empirical research practice, and we succeeded in designing a project that had research value from a theoretical point of view and value for the company in practical terms. However, typically the time horizons of researchers and business managers are different, and we have different “currencies” – they want actionable insights that can inform business decisions, while our goal is scientific publication. However, we believe that we managed to achieve both objectives in this study.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

We run large-scale natural field experiments to understand the decisions of individuals and firms, and we believe that this methodology is very valuable (and still underexploited) to study questions relevant to business and society. We were happy to see that the journal Business & Society called for more experimental work in a recent piece by the journal’s editors, and we hope to see many more field experiments in this field.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the journal and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Call for Papers: Special Issue on Addressing the Wage & Wealth Gap

Compensation and Benefits Review is planning a special issue on “Addressing the Wage and Wealth Gap”. Articles should focus on, but are not limited to, whether capitalist institutions produce growing income inequality, fiscal policies that could address the wage gap, and CEO responsibility in mitigating wealth gaps.

Compensation & Benefits Review (CBR) is the leading journal for senior executives and professionals who design, implement, evaluate and communicate compensation and benefits policies and programs. The journal supports human resources and compensation and benefits specialists with up-to-date analyses on salary and wage trends, labor markets, pay plans, incentive compensation, retirement programs, and health care benefits.

For more details click here.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/cbr.

You will need to create an account in order to submit your manuscript. The system will notify you once we receive the manuscript and have sent it out for review.

Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the journal homepage so you never miss the latest research.

Socioemotional Wealth, Family Control, and the Choice of Business Exit

We’re pleased to welcome authors Francesco Chirico of Jönköping University and Tecnológico de Monterrey, Luis R. Gómez-Mejia of Arizona State University, Karin Hellerstedt of Jönköping University, Michael Withers of Texas A&M University, and Mattias Nordqvist of Jönköping University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “To Merge, Sell, or Liquidate? Socioemotional Wealth, Family Control, and the Choice of Business Exit,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly discuss the significance of this research.]

JOM_44.1_72ppiRGB_powerpoint

Our study provides evidence that family firms exit less than nonfamily firms and tend to endure increased financial distress to avoid losses in the affect-related value embedded in the family firm. Furthermore, when forced to exit, family firms prefer to do so via mergers, liquidation and sale (in that order) while nonfamily firms prefer to exit via sale, liquidation and mergers (in that order). We argue that these different exit behaviors are attributed to family owners’ desire to maintain some of the family legacy (as in mergers) while avoiding losses of family identity (as in a sale). Especially in distressed situations, considering business exit as a way to free up resources for the strategic regeneration of a firm is fundamental. Business exit, for instance in terms of a merger, should be viewed as a way to identify and evaluate new opportunities for owners. Firms—especially family firms—need to balance socioemotional and economic perspectives; otherwise, even when the need for exit is recognized, it may not occur.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research through the homepage!

The Heptalogical Model of Entrepreneurship

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Patrick J. Murphy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Anthony C. Hood of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Jie Wu of the University of Macau. They recently published an article in Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy entitled “The Heptalogical Model of Entrepreneurship,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they discuss the motivations and innovations of this research.]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

It all began in 2003, when I taught my first entrepreneurship courses. I designed my early courses based on textbooks, cases, and published research, but it was difficult for me to deliver high-impact, transformational lessons that way. Students would launch new ventures (or join existing ventures) and we would notice disconnections between what they had learned and what they eventually experienced. Excellent entrepreneurship courses must prepare learners to perform in jobs, vocations, occupations and other contexts that have literally never existed before. How does one do that? This question originally motivated me to pursue this research.

Strategic outreach and instilling an indelible entrepreneurial mindset in students are hallmarks of excellent entrepreneurship programs. Regarding outreach, one cannot merely make external cases part of a class; one must actually make a class part of those ventures. In other words, one flips the whole scenario so that students are managing real projects that just happen to be coursework. However, two problems with that approach are a lack of conceptual rigor and learning outcomes that are not universal enough. Practice is balanced by a conceptual foundation; a formal entrepreneurial mindset, grounded in the distinct theoretic domain of entrepreneurship. We have designed a framework that synthesizes these two complementary realms.

The Heptalogical Model is the product of applications by many people. It has evolved across contexts and countless trials and errors. In the last five years, as I have moved into various administration and leadership roles, the model has guided the development of a range of courses, curricula, majors, minors, and programs in different countries. These applications generated richer feedback for its evolution. My two co-authors (Anthony Hood and Jie Wu) and I represent diverse cultural backgrounds and they have been extremely helpful in this regard.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

We want entrepreneurship educators and scholars to adapt the Heptalogical Model for their own purposes. Modify the labels, redefine the stages, and extend the framework if possible. The model itself is intended to be entrepreneurial.

Problems are not usually regarded as sources of positive value generation. But this model begins with problems. Issues of culture usually emerge when applying such universal concepts, and we designed the framework for relevance across cultural settings. For example, the Chinese word for “problem” (问题) is the same word for “question.” The difference is only in context. Problems call for solutions, questions call for answers. Each of the model’s seven stages is a similarly universal concept and thus amenable to many kinds of entrepreneurial action in many settings.

Our delineation of opportunities and ideas remains relevant throughout the model in a unique way that can affect venture operations even years later. As well, casting a venture’s mission subsequently to its operations is unique. A clear mission might seem to come first but our model, by contrast, takes a “ready, fire, aim” approach. The values implied by the original problem are what actually come first.

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

The catalyst for writing this paper came from my assistant. She managed the teaching assistants for a large online graduate seminar based on the model. She told me that the model was exposed to thousands of learners via the university’s online learning partner and that a number of teams were using the model to actively launch new venture projects. I thought that was fantastic. She said, “Yes it’s good, but you should publish this model!” Finally, we have many project examples utilizing the model that go back over a decade, but only a couple are in the paper. The history of application and the model’s evolution are interesting.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research through the homepage!

Read the Latest Issue of the Project Management Journal!

Read the first issue of the 50th volume of the Project Management Journal!

Project Management Journal® is the academic and research journal of the Project Management Institute® and features state-of-the-art research, techniques, theories, and applications in project management. The Project Management Journal®’s mission is to address the broad interests of the project management profession and maintain an editorial balance of content about research, technique, theory, and practice.

The newest issue features topics ranging from anti-corruption measures in construction to improving project budget estimations. Below are the abstracts of a few of these articles:

Contemporary Review of Anti-Corruption Measures in Construction Project Management

This study reviews the anti-corruption measures (ACMs) developed to mitigate the pervasiveness of corruption in construction project management (CPM). Using a two-stage methodological process to identify the relevant publications needed, 39 unique ACMs were identified in 38 selected publications. The leading ACMs identified are ethical codes, transparency mechanism, training, and development initiatives. A conceptual framework constituting six thematic constructs was developed to facilitate easy identification of ACMs and categorization of future developments of ACMs. They are regulatory, managerial, probing, compliance, promotional, and reactive measures. The findings contribute in-depth understanding of ACMs in CPM and are useful for further empirical research.

Organizational Justice, Project Performance, and the Mediating Effects of Key Success Factors

Projects are under constant pressure to improve performance, and research is needed to understand the characteristics of high-performing projects. Using the concept of organizational justice as a characteristic, we propose that the performance of projects in meeting success criteria is enhanced when there are procedures in place for the fair treatment of project team members; when resources are allocated fairly; and when the individuals interact in a way that is characterized by respect, propriety, and dignity. Structural equation analysis supports our proposition that the presence of organizational justice enhances project performance and valuable nuances in these relationships are discovered.

Improving Project Budget Estimation Accuracy and Precision by Analyzing Reserves for Both Identified and Unidentified Risks

Project risk is a critical factor in estimating project budget. Previous studies on this topic have only addressed estimation methods that consider project budget reserves against identified risks. As a result, project managers still face the challenge of completing projects within given budgets but without the relevant tools to deal with unidentified risks. This study proposes an approach for estimating reserves for both identified and unidentified risks separately. The study also suggests using the three-point estimation technique and R-value determination for estimating risk costs, which can improve budget accuracy and precision. The construction of residential building projects in South Korea demonstrates the advantages of the proposed approach compared with previous methods.

For more from the journal click here!