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nils holmberg

Nils Holmberg


nils holmberg

The more the merrier? : Examining the relationship between emotional expressions and user engagement on Swedish nonprofits’ Facebook pages, 2014-2019


  • Nils Gustafsson
  • Nils Holmberg
  • Noomi Weinryb
  • Cecilia Gullberg
  • Anders Olof Larsson

Summary, in English

Organizations interact with their stakeholders to a large degree through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube ( Bellucci & Manetti, 2017). There are indications that there is an increase in the use of emotional language in organizations’ external communication in social media over time, since this is thought to generate more stakeholder engagement (Weinryb et al, 2021). There is however a lack of longitudinal studies on the use of emotions in organizational communication in social media (Schreiner et al, 2019). This research gap makes it more difficult to appreciate the dynamics in organization’s strategic communication in social media.

In this study, we use sentiment analysis (Mohammad, 2016) to analyze the development of emotional language and emojis in the organizational posts (about 120 000) on Facebook from 124 Swedish nonprofit organizations, during the period 2014-2019, and connect them to engagement rates. The social media data was collected using Facebook’s CrowdTangle research tool, and coded for sentiments using the AFINN lexicon.

The results indicate that the use of emotional language in the posts increases during the time period, as well as positive sentiments (as compared to negative sentiments), and the intensity of the sentiments. There is furthermore a strong correlation between emotional language and post engagement rates, which suggests that emotions are used strategically to increase user engagement and fundraising. There are however also indications that the effect of emotional language on user engagement decreases over time.


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation








  • Communication Studies
  • Business Administration


  • Facebook
  • organizational com
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • emotion
  • user engagement
  • Sentiment analysis

Conference name

NordMedia 2021:

Conference date

2021-08-18 - 2021-08-20

Conference place

Reykjavik, Iceland




  • Social Information and Hybrid Power: A Strategic Platform for Political Communication at Lund University
  • Audit Society 2.0 - Taking a new turn? Organizational use and consequences of external reporting on social media.