Over the last years, many corporations have started to maintain profile pages on social networking sites (SNS), but research on how and why organizational stakeholders use these profile pages has not kept pace. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
The study applies a combined perspective of uses-and-gratifications (U & G) and social cognitive theory (SCT) to investigate the reasons why politicians and digital natives consume and interact with corporations on SNS. In total, 65 semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Results suggest that the two stakeholder groups differ in their motivations, as well as behavior to use corporate profile pages. Digital natives seem to prefer Facebook to interact with companies, politicians prefer Twitter. Corporate YouTube pages are almost not important to any of the groups.
The qualitative nature of the study does not allow for generalizations of the findings to larger populations. Suggestions for further research are addressed in the discussion section.
The study results have numerous implications for the practice of communication management. Fans on SNS do not tend to interact with corporations to a large extent, but are loyal followers. Once a connection between an individual and a company is established, it is likely to last. This enables corporations to gain rich information from their networks to be included in customer service, product development, issues management and recruiting.
This is the first study in the field of communication management, which applies a micro-level approach to interviewing users of corporate communication; in order to reveal the reasons why and how they use corporate social networking profile pages.
Ruehl, C.H. and Ingenhoff, D. (2015), "Communication management on social networking sites: Stakeholder motives and usage types of corporate Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 288-302. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-04-2015-0025
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