The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

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).

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


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.

PDF phethean_paper.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (261kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 21 March 2015
Published date: 26 May 2015
Additional Information: notValidatingIssn:1611-334
Venue - Dates: conference; be; 2015-03-21, Belgium, 2015-03-21
Keywords: social media, charities, marketing, communication
Organisations: Web & Internet Science, Southampton Business School


Local EPrints ID: 377414
ISBN: 978-3-319-18608-5
ISSN: 0302-9743
PURE UUID: 6b5924b6-8557-4451-982a-84edd3fca417
ORCID for Christopher Phethean: ORCID iD
ORCID for Thanassis Tiropanis: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Jun 2015 15:42
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:00

Export record



Author: Lisa Harris
Editor: Thanassis Tiropanis
Editor: Athena Vakali
Editor: Laura Sartori
Editor: Pete Burnap

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.