Relationship cultivation and public engagement via social media during the covid-19 pandemic in China

Qiongyao Huang, Jie Jin, Benjamin J. Lynn, Linjuan Rita Men*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This study explores the relationship cultivation strategies and disaster social media functions Chinese companies used to maintain relationships with their publics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public engagement was assessed using a multi-dimensional construct consisting of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral measures. A quantitative content analysis of 756 Weibo posts from China’s Fortune 500 companies and 553 top user comments formed a data set that was analyzed using three types of regression analysis. Results showed that both relationship cultivation strategies and disaster social media use effectively increased engagement between Chinese companies and their publics, although on different levels. Although generally underutilized by companies, the access tactic in the relationship cultivation strategies significantly predicted all three dimensions of public engagement. Emotional posts, a functional use of social media by companies, positively predicted an emotional response by publics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102064
    JournalPublic Relations Review
    Volume47
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Communication
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
    • Marketing

    User-Defined Keywords

    • COVID-19
    • China
    • Companies
    • Disaster communication
    • Engagement
    • Pandemic
    • Public relations
    • Relationship cultivation strategies
    • Social media

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