Danish user-adoption of social media initiatives: Preliminary guidelines to organisational social media strategies

Jon Kølle Christensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Social media is on the rise and has been for some years now. Companies that want to be a part of this technological and interactive online development are still in the early stages of developing an understanding of how best to engage in social media activities. Social media consists of much more than e.g. social network sites and discussion forums, and since few companies have a formalized social media strategy, it makes it even more challenging for companies to choose the right medium or media from the continuously expanding social media catalogue to incorporate in their business strategy. Furthermore, having no specific social media strategy makes it difficult for companies to measure online user behaviour and extract valuable information from user feedback. Adding to this, many businesses that do not know exactly how they should engage in social media activities try to apply traditional marketing and one‐way communication strategies to their social media engagement, instead of focusing on relationship building, listening to, and interacting with, their audience. The objective of this thesis is to develop preliminary guidelines to a social media strategy for Danish companies in general and the start‐up company Pareta Business (PB), which necessitated an examination of whether, and to what extent, Danish online users and users located in Denmark, are susceptible to selected social media activities initiated by companies, in particular concerning social network sites (SNS). In order to achieve the objective it was imperative to investigate relevant contemporary literature about social media, online business strategies, and collective intelligence. Moreover, studying how companies, especially Danish companies, engage in social media activities, and how and where Danish users interact online and to what extent they accept/adopt companies’ online behaviour, showed necessary to achieve the objective. Based on the findings from the reviewed literature, an online survey of Danish users’ online activity in social media was conducted to generate an overview of user activity in a social media context. The online survey included answers from 525 Danish respondents and respondents located in Denmark. It proved achievable to develop a customized Social Technographic Profile (STP) on Danish online users, based on the results from the online survey and on Li’s original STP [Charlene Li – 2008]. The original STP lacked a profile group of online users who are particularly active on social network sites (SNS), which is why the profile of such a group, termed ‘SNS Interactors’, was developed and integrated in the customized STP. Furthermore, the results of the survey gave an indication of which of the surveyed social network sites appear to be better suited for Danish companies to interact with their target audience. The theory reviewed, the results of the online survey, and the analyses of these, proved necessary to develop the preliminary guidelines to the social media strategy for both Danish companies in general and for Pareta Business. The first part of the guidelines focuses on the general recommendations for Danish companies and Pareta Business, divided into short‐ and long‐term actions. The engagement recommendations concerning social network sites focus mostly on cost‐free initiatives due to PB is a start‐up with no significant financial backings. The long‐term actions surpass the use of social network sites and include investing financially in further improvement of a more overall online relationship with shareholders. The second part of the guidelines focuses specifically on recommendations for PB and their target audience. In order to pinpoint the significance of upholding a continuous interactive relationship with users online, companies are recommended to incorporate the concept of network effects in their social media strategy. Thus, a model, termed ‘The Social Network Effect Model, was developed to apply the network effect theory to a social media context. Lastly, the results of the online survey proved it possible to determine whether, and to what extent, online Danish users and online users located in Denmark are susceptible to the selected existing and prospective social media initiatives covered in the survey.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages105