The Institute of Public Relations awarded this paper a “Top 3 Competition Paper of Practical Significance” at the 16th International PR Research Conference (2013).
More and more organizations are attempting to use social media as a public relations tool to establish and maintain good customer relations. This study explores customers’ motives for using social media, the responses they expect from organizations, and predictors of positive electronic word of mouth (eWOM).
First, the study results suggest that protecting oneself and others from bad companies or products are the top two reasons for consumers to share information in social media environments. Second, the results suggest that consumers expect companies to change policies if they have negative experiences with the company and make negative comments. Empty apologies are the least effective response from companies. Others expect organizations to offer discounts on future products or services or give a refund in these situations. Third, the results of correlation and multiple regression analyses suggest that confidence, integrity, pride, and passion are strong predictors for customers’ positive eWOM.