Purpose While a great amount of literature has focused on the relationship between communication strategies and corporate reputation, there is no systematic research on the different kinds of social media communication strategies. Based on the corporate reputation and social media literature, this paper aims to contribute to this gap in the research in two main ways. First identifying which social media communication strategy is more effective with contrasting levels of reputations; second, analyzing the differences between high- and low-reputation companies with respect to their ability to use corporate communication. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a longitudinal explorative multiple-case study and theoretical sampling. The research setting is the Italian insurance context. The focus of this analysis on one medium, Facebook, because it is the most exploited in the context of the Italian insurance sector. Findings Six complementary social media communication strategies were identified: egocentric, conversational, selective, openness, secretive and supportive. The results also reveal distinct ways in which high-, medium- and low-reputation companies’ utilize the six complementary strategies of communications. Research limitations/implications The study is based on a single industry and on one single geographical market, and care should thus be taken in generalizing the findings to other contexts. Therefore emerges the opportunity to broaden this research to other similar service sector, such as banking, to assess and generalize the results obtained. In addition, a possible direction of research, especially from a methodological standpoint, should investigate companies from different countries. Such a comparative study would examine in depth whether and to what extent the institutional framework may impact on communication strategies implemented by companies. This study only analyzed one social media (Facebook); hence, we cannot draw firm conclusions about what may constitute a successful social media communication strategy. Practical implications From this study, managers can learn how to combine the six communication strategies to have an effective impact on the corporate reputation. They can also learn how the number of interactions and the time taken to respond to questions from customers improve the corporate reputation and provide communication that is more effective. Originality/value This research extends the previous literature on corporate reputation and corporate communication, showing the relationship between them in a social media context and providing different strategies of managing this combination.

Social media communication strategies

FLOREDDU, PAOLA BARBARA;CABIDDU, FRANCESCA
2016

Abstract

Purpose While a great amount of literature has focused on the relationship between communication strategies and corporate reputation, there is no systematic research on the different kinds of social media communication strategies. Based on the corporate reputation and social media literature, this paper aims to contribute to this gap in the research in two main ways. First identifying which social media communication strategy is more effective with contrasting levels of reputations; second, analyzing the differences between high- and low-reputation companies with respect to their ability to use corporate communication. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a longitudinal explorative multiple-case study and theoretical sampling. The research setting is the Italian insurance context. The focus of this analysis on one medium, Facebook, because it is the most exploited in the context of the Italian insurance sector. Findings Six complementary social media communication strategies were identified: egocentric, conversational, selective, openness, secretive and supportive. The results also reveal distinct ways in which high-, medium- and low-reputation companies’ utilize the six complementary strategies of communications. Research limitations/implications The study is based on a single industry and on one single geographical market, and care should thus be taken in generalizing the findings to other contexts. Therefore emerges the opportunity to broaden this research to other similar service sector, such as banking, to assess and generalize the results obtained. In addition, a possible direction of research, especially from a methodological standpoint, should investigate companies from different countries. Such a comparative study would examine in depth whether and to what extent the institutional framework may impact on communication strategies implemented by companies. This study only analyzed one social media (Facebook); hence, we cannot draw firm conclusions about what may constitute a successful social media communication strategy. Practical implications From this study, managers can learn how to combine the six communication strategies to have an effective impact on the corporate reputation. They can also learn how the number of interactions and the time taken to respond to questions from customers improve the corporate reputation and provide communication that is more effective. Originality/value This research extends the previous literature on corporate reputation and corporate communication, showing the relationship between them in a social media context and providing different strategies of managing this combination.
Customer engagement, Social media, Corporate reputation, Corporate communication, Online reputation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/176331
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