This study analyzed a social media campaign promoting child welfare to explore the associations among people’s social media use, their engagement with the campaign’s different social media platforms (blog, Facebook, Twitter), and three intended behavioral outcomes (social media behavior, offline communication behavior, and helping behavior). An online survey of 73 participants shows people’s use of each social media platform was significantly related to their engagement with it at a bivariate level (when the other control variables were not considered). Social media use was also related to all three behavioral outcomes. Additionally, users engagement played a significant role in the relationship between their social media use and their offline communication behavior.


Using the child welfare campaign’s three social media platforms, including a blog, Facebook and Twitter, a total of 73 surveys from Dec. 2011, were used to examine how people used and interacted with the campaign over the course of its existence.

Key Findings

  • The more a platform is used, the more desired behaviors are carried out, such as clicking “Like” on a Facebook post, communicating with others about the campaign, and volunteering for local child welfare organizations.
  • The more people engaged with the media platform where they encountered the campaign, the more likely they were to communicate about the campaign with others. For example, engaging in further conversation through the platform.
  • Frequent and extended use of social media platforms can directly lead to the desired outcome of getting people to volunteer.

Implications for Practice

This study provides insight on how different types of public engagement are associated with behavioral consequences and how the associations vary across social media. Findings indicate for public relations professionals that the more time people spend on a campaign, the more likely they will be to engage in desired behaviors. Additionally, people will spread the word about the campaign on various platforms. Ensuring organizations are using social media across platforms where participants are is important.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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