Bortree, Denise Sevick & Seltzer, Trent (2009). Dialogic strategies and outcomes: A review of environmental advocacy groups’ Facebook profiles. Public Relations Review 35(3), 317-319.
This study examined if dialogic strategies utilized by environmental advocacy groups via their Facebook social networking profiles lead to greater dialogic engagement between organizations and visitors. The results offer the first examination of the relationship between the creation of an online space for dialogue and actual dialogic engagement by identifying and measuring six dialogic outcomes.
A purposive sample of 50 Facebook profiles of environmental advocacy groups was content analyzed using an 82-item questionnaire.
1) Findings indicated that dialogic outcomes are correlated with three dialogic strategies – conservation of members, generation of return visits, and organization engagement.
2) Generation of return visits appears to be significantly correlated with the number of user responses to others
3) Conservation of visitors shows a reciprocal relationship with two outcomes, network growth) and organization response to users
4) Organization engagement exhibited the most significant relationships with outcomes; it was positively correlated with all six dialogic outcomes: user posts, network activity, network extensiveness, network growth, user responses, and organization response to users.
Implications for practice
1) Using dialogic strategies to create opportunities for dialogic engagement may produce positive outcomes such as increasing the number of stakeholders who interact with the organization by growing the organization’s social network. This is especially true when the organization takes the first step to stimulate dialogic engagement by posting comments in dialogic spaces on their profile where users within the social network can then capitalize on available dialogic loops.
2) Advocacy organizations should post frequently to their own profile via applications that provide photos of events, videos, RSS feeds, calendars of events, etc. and that will serve to stimulate discussion. Additionally, advocacy organizations should be sure to designate someone to be responsible for following through on dialogic opportunities by responding to user posts, as well as by providing timely, relevant information about issues of mutual concern to the organization and stakeholders and providing useful information about the organization itself.
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