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Tuesday, July 28 • 14:46 - 16:15
"Relationship Cultivation through Social Media: An Analysis on Relational Use and Adoption of Social Media amongst Colombian Top Companies"

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Author: Jennie Pena

With the rise of social media, companies have undergone major changes in the way they interact with publics. The fact that by 2014 there were 500 million daily tweets sent from Twitter, 1.2 billion likes on Instagram, and 100 hours of video uploaded every minute on YouTube, speaks of this phenomenon. This reality, coupled with the empowerment users acquire online, is radically changing the way businesses communicate, interact, and ultimately relate to their publics. 

If we analyze the digital landscape in Latin America, the figures show the importance that social media is gaining in the online behavior of this region. In Colombia, social media have a penetration rate of 96% among Internet users. Additionally, Colombia is in the top 10 countries on the planet in terms of time spent on social networks. It’s not surprise that in recent years, local companies have ventured into social media to promote their brands. However, little is known about the relational use and adoption of social media amongst Colombian companies in their efforts to build positive relationships with publics. 

The main objective of this study is to analyze the adoption and use of social media by Colombian companies, in their relational efforts to build mutually beneficial relationships with strategic publics. The study focuses on three online cultivation strategies found in the literature review: disclosure (Kelleher,2006), usefulness (Kent, Taylor, and White, 2003) and interactivity (Jo and Kim, 2003) and the cultivation strategies identified by the Hon, L. & Grunig, J. E. (1999): access, positivity, assurances and sharing of tasks.; the characteristics of social media as an innovation: advantage, complexity, compatibility (Rogers, 2003) ; and the public relations approach that companies embrace when establishing relationship with publics through social media, whether interpretative or behavioral (Grunig, 2009). 

The population examined consists of the 1,000 largest companies in Colombia, in terms of operating revenue, according to the Colombian Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The methods of data collection will be quantitative in nature, consisting of a survey to be administered to the organizations’ management, as well as a content analysis of the companies’ social media profiles. 

This research project aims to provide a useful framework for building positive relationships with publics through social media. Similarly, the study will provide valuable information to better understand the current state of social media diffusion in Colombia, so that companies are able to make better management decisions regarding the use of these media outlets. 

The literature review indicates that the adoption of social media has opened up new opportunities for businesses to understand the behavior of their audiences, thanks to its interactive nature. In this sense, it is necessary that organizations know how to potentiate such innovations to keep up with the communicational demands of the growing volume of digital users, while fostering long-term relationships that lead to mutual benefit of both organizations as their publics. 

avatar for Jennie Pena

Jennie Pena

PhD candidate / Faculty, Universidad del Norte

Tuesday July 28, 2015 14:46 - 16:15
(8th Floor) TRS 2-166 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

Attendees (11)