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Embracing Social Media for Stakeholder Management within NPOs – A Case Study

Schipper, Christina and Latham, Annabel (2019) Embracing Social Media for Stakeholder Management within NPOs – A Case Study. In: 6th European Conference on Social Media, 13 June 2019 - 14 June 2019, Brighton, UK.

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Abstract

Social media became highly popular over the last fifteen years since the introduction of Web 2.0 and is now used as a successful marketing and communication tool by many companies. The benefits include the cheap, easy and instantaneous posting of messages and the incomparable coverage of various platforms as well as smart features, like the promotion of events on Facebook. Hence, the embedding of social media into the overall business strategy is a great chance to achieve a better performance in terms of stakeholder management. This is especially promising for small- and medium-sized non-profit organizations (NPOs), who do not have the resources to invest in more expensive forms of marketing or stakeholder management. Nevertheless, companies often struggle with the implementation of social media strategies, especially due to the spread of diverse platforms and the lack of resources to maintain the accounts. This paper asks how small- and medium-sized NPOs can use social media to achieve stakeholder commitment. A study using a mixed-method approach was conducted in cooperation with a voluntary organization of the Catholic Church sector in Germany, called KjG Diözesanverband Essen. The study captured information on KjG’s stakeholders’ use and preferences of popular social media platforms. Interviews were conducted with the organization’s key stakeholders to examine the existing social media and stakeholder strategy. The results of 139 questionnaires and five interviews revealed important stakeholders’ usage patterns of social media platforms and the top-ranked ones for receiving information, which makes them highly interesting for stakeholder communication. A framework was designed to support NPOs with the strategic use of social media for stakeholder management.

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