Engaging with charities on social media: comparing interaction on Facebook and Twitter

Phethean, Christopher, Tiropanis, Thanassis and Harris, Lisa, (2015) Engaging with charities on social media: comparing interaction on Facebook and Twitter Tiropanis, Thanassis, Vakali, Athena, Sartori, Laura and Burnap, Pete (eds.) In Internet Science: Second International Conference, INSCI 2015, Brussels, Belgium, May 27-29, 2015, Proceedings. Springer International Publishing. 160 pp, pp. 15-29. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-18609-2_2).


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Social media are commonly assumed to provide fruitful online communities for organisations, whereby the brand and supporter-base engage in productive, two-way conversations. For charities, this provides a unique opportunity to reach an audience for a relatively low cost, yet some remain hesitant to fully embrace these services without knowing exactly what they will receive in return. This paper reports on a study that seeks to determine the extent to which these conversations occur, and compares this phenomenon on Facebook and Twitter for a sample of UK-based charities. Focus was placed on analysing conversations as signs of developing relationships, which have previously been shown to be a key target for charities on social media. The results of this study find that while there is an expected proportion of the audience who prefer to listen rather than engage, there is strong evidence of a core group of supporters on each site who repeatedly engage. Interestingly, disparities between how this occurs on Facebook and Twitter emerge, with the results suggesting that Facebook receives more conversations in response to the charities’ own posts, whereas on Twitter there is a larger observable element of unsolicited messages of people talking about the charity, which in turn produces a differing opportunity for the charity to extract value from the network. It is also found that posts containing pictures receive the highest number of responses on each site. These were a lot less common on Twitter and could therefore offer an avenue for charities to increase the frequency of responses they achieve.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/978-3-319-18609-2_2
Additional Information: notValidatingIssn:1611-334
ISBNs: 9783319186085 (print)
9783319186092 (electronic)
ISSNs: 0302-9743 (print)
Venue - Dates: conference; be; 2015-03-21, Belgium, 2015-03-21
Keywords: social media, charities, marketing, communication
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HS Societies secret benevolent etc
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Organisations: Web & Internet Science, Southampton Business School
ePrint ID: 377414
Date :
Date Event
21 March 2015Accepted/In Press
26 May 2015Published
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2015 15:42
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 06:05
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377414

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