Research Spotlight

Research Spotlight #2

August 2017

“Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility on Social Media: Strategies, Stakeholders, and Public Engagement on Corporate Facebook”
By Moonhee Cho, Lauren D. Furey, and Tiffany Mohr
Business and Professional Communication Quarterly 2017, Vol. (80) 52-69

Research Questions

  • How often do corporations communicate corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues on Facebook?
  • Which CSR communication strategy — informing or interacting — is used more frequently in CSR communication on corporate Facebook pages?
  • Who are the main stakeholders concerned with CSR communication (e.g., CEOs, senior managers, employees, nonprofit organizations, community members, suppliers)?

Methods

The researchers studied 50 corporations that were found in the 2013 list of Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies.” Forty-four of these companies had official Facebook pages and two other companies were added to the list for a total of 46 Facebook pages for analysis.

Key Findings

  • Less than 20% of the messages had CSR communication
  • People preferred to see CSR on company websites rather than on company Facebook pages
  • General audiences were less likely to believe CSR postings on Facebook that seemed overly self-serving
  • Audiences were more likely to engage with non-CSR posts on Facebook
  • The audiences that did want to see CSR communication on Facebook, might be willing to follow a page dedicated to that type of information

Advice for the Field

  • Focus CSR messaging on the company website
  • Use Facebook to post items that engage rather than merely inform followers
  • If you are going to post CSR communication, do it on a CSR-specialized Facebook account

Researcher Approved Summary
Pending

Research Spotlight Author:
Alycia King

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Research Spotlight #1

August 2017

“Social Media Adoption in Business-to-Business: IT and Industrial Companies Compared”
By Celine Veldeman, Ellen Van Praet, and Peter Merchant
International Journal of Business Communication, 2017, 54(3), 283-305

Research Question

How do Belgian business-to-business (B2B) companies perceive and react to social media?

Methods

The researchers surveyed 92 Belgian companies about their social attitudes and activities. They also conducted in-depth followup interviews with 11 of the companies.

Key Findings

  • 42% of the companies were experimenting with social media without a specific social media strategy or action plan
  • 41% of IT companies (software, web services) were developing social media strategies
  • Only 27% of industrial companies (construction, engineering services) were developing social media strategies
  • Most companies deem social media a good tool for a) cultivating brand awareness, b) sharing a company image, and c) recruiting
  • “… deciding how to use social media in the right way to achieve set goals is considered to be very hard” (p. 293)

Advice for the Field

  • Recognize that a customer’s, employee’s, and potential employee’s expectations about a firm’s social media presence is highly influenced by the dynamics of the industry sector
  • Avoid treating social media as a “stand-alone” communicative endeavor divorced from other essential organizational tasks
  • Acknowledge the difficulty of crafting a useful social media strategy and encourage experimentation

Researcher Approved Summary
Pending

Research Spotlight Author:
Phillip G. Clampitt, Ph.D.

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