How to be heard on microblogs? Nonprofit organizations' follower networks and post features for information diffusion in China

Regina Y R CHEN*, Jiawei Sophia Fu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study tackles the gap in public relations research on what drives users of microblogs in China to follow nonprofit organization (NPO) accounts and share (retweet) their posts, from a multidimensional perspective of the NPO, the microblog audience, and the post features. Using a content analysis of Sina Weibo data of 95 NPO accounts, results suggested that an NPO's status on Weibo is a significant predictor of its follower number. Follower numbers and activeness directly affected the NPO's number of retweets. Informative posts and posts that fulfill multiple gratifications were found to be more sharable than other post types. In addition, a post's originality, media richness, inclusion of opinion leaders, and endorsement by influential users all contributed to its level of circulation. This knowledge is essential for NPOs to spread information and build online communities that facilitate dialogic engagement and quality organization–public relationships with their stakeholders on social media in China's context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-993
Number of pages16
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Volume19
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

User-Defined Keywords

  • engagement
  • Information diffusion
  • nonprofit organizations
  • retweet
  • social media

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