Intensive WOM-behavior in the healthcare sector – the case of an Austrian hospital’s Facebook site

Sebastian Martin, Birgit Grüb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Patients frequently use Facebook for health-related reasons, like seeking of information or the recommendation of practitioners or hospitals. In this way, Facebook provides a powerful communication platform for electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). Hospitals increasingly use Facebook to positively influence the perception of their brand reputation and performance. The present explorative study provides detailed information regarding eWOM behavior of persons on the Facebook page of an Upper Austrian hospital. Data of the hospital’s Facebook page was gathered and analyzed with NodeXL. By using a text analysis, we categorized the hospitals’ posts. Reactions towards the different types of postings were analyzed by counting emojis, the number of shares and comments. Within the study, there was an in-depth evaluation of communication data (313 posts of the hospital, more than 14,000 eWom actions by 3327 women, men and organizations). The study shows how heterogeneous users are in their eWOM behavior and that a variety of topics on the Facebook page stimulates electronic recommendations. One major finding of the study is that a significant part of the eWOM is done by only a few users. According to this, a so-called Intensive WOM Behavior (IWB) can be identified. Users of the IWB-group behave heterogeneously. Most react either with an emoji, a comment or a share. Only a few IWB-users respond with a combination of these eWOM-reactions. By providing first insights into the existence of IWB-users as well as their eWOM-behavior, this study offers new insights to eWOM in Facebook.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-352
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Facebook
  • Healthcare
  • Hospital
  • Recommendation
  • Social media
  • Word-of-mouth
  • eWOM


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