Author(s)

Melissa Novak

Date Approved

8-24-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Public Relations

Department

Public Relations/Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

FitzGerald, Suzanne

Subject(s)

Branding (Marketing);Social media

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

The purposes of this exploratory investigation were to (a) examine if organizations using social media maintain relationships with their loyal consumers, and do not direct their marketing toward new consumers, and (b) determine if non-profit organizations use social media more effectively and issue stronger call to actions than for-profit organizations. This study includes a survey of 234 participants, a content analysis of ten organizations, and interviews with eight professionals in the marketing and public relations field who work with social media on a daily basis. This study shows that although industry professionals enjoy the vast reach of social media and the potential for content to go viral, the majority still writes content catered to their loyal consumers. This shows that non-loyal or potential consumers receive messages meant for another audience, and thus aren't as receptive. This study also shows that although both non-profit and for-profit organizations use social media fairly effectively and strive for user-engagement, non-profit organizations are more successful with positive engagement than for-profit organizations. While non-profit organizations use social media mainly to raise awareness, for-profit organizations spend more time servicing their customers than engaging in discussion.

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