Broadcasting, Reacting, Engaging: Three Strategies for CSR Communication in Twitter

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    Purpose - Symmetric communication and relationship building are core principles of public relations, which have been highlighted for CSR communication. In this paper three different communication strategies for CSR communication in Twitter are developed, of which each contributes differently to the ideals of symmetric communication and relationship building. The framework is then applied to analyze how companies use the micro-blogging service Twitter for CSR communication.
    Design/methodology/approach - Social network analysis is used to identify the 30 most central corporate accounts in a CSR Twitter-Network. From these accounts over 40´000 tweets are extracted and manually coded. Anova is applied to investigate differences in the weighting of CSR topics between the different strategies.
    Findings - The analysis reveals that corporations adhere to a broadcasting strategy or a reactive strategy, rather than engaging with stakeholders about CSR issues with an engagement strategy. Hence, possibilities for relationship building and symmetric communication are widely neglected. Content analysis shows that environment, climate change, and philanthropy are the most prominent CSR topics, whereas human rights, employee relation, and governance find less attention. Philanthropy is the only CSR topic that is weighted differently by the three strategies.
    Originality/value - So far neither much is known how social media, such as Twitter, contribute to the core principles of public relations, if companies use social media to foster symmetric communication and relationship management, nor which CSR topics they address
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Communication Management
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)322-342
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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