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Stakeholder engagement during COVID-19: evidence from corporate use of Twitter

Mahmood Ahmed Momin (Department of Accounting, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Sabrina Chong (Department of Accounting, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Chris van Staden (Department of Accounting, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Lin Ma (Department of Accounting, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 21 October 2022

Issue publication date: 18 October 2023

184

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate how New Zealand companies use Twitter to communicate and engage effectively with stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

This study proposes a conceptual framework for effective stakeholder engagement by using social media to analyse the themes and emotion of company tweets during the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand. The engagement of stakeholders with these tweets is also examined. This study argues that companies use selected themes and emotive language to connect with their stakeholders.

Findings

The findings show that selective themes and emotions are useful in company COVID-19 tweets to engage with the stakeholders. COVID-19 tweets contained significantly more emotion than non-COVID tweets, with emotions that can convey empathy being the most common. By presenting themselves as real, personable and empathetic towards others through emotive language, companies can engage in more meaningful and ethical way with their stakeholders.

Practical implications

The paper has implications for managing company communications by providing empirical evidence that both the themes and emotion expressed in the messages are important for effective stakeholder engagement in social media.

Originality/value

The conceptual framework for effective stakeholder engagement using social media is novel and can be used to evaluate and investigate stakeholder engagement during a global crisis.

Keywords

Citation

Momin, M.A., Chong, S., van Staden, C. and Ma, L. (2023), "Stakeholder engagement during COVID-19: evidence from corporate use of Twitter", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 19 No. 8, pp. 1397-1418. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-08-2022-0314

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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