Future trends in social media use for strategic organisation communication: Results of a Delphi study

Anne Linke, Ansgar Zerfass

Abstract


This article examines current uses of social media for communication by enterprises, political organisations and non-profit organisations (NPOs) and identifies likely future trends. Based on a quantitative online survey among 860 communication professionals in Germany and a follow-up qualitative Delphi study with 32 identified experts from the organisational communication profession and academia, it explores the status quo and aims to identify future directions. While organisations show more advanced structures for social media communication compared to earlier research findings, the empirical data also identifies many shortcomings. The potentials of social media communication are not fully exploited due to missing prerequisites including governance structures, rules and resources. Looking into the future, the Delphi panel suggests that dedicated budgets, social media guidelines and other structural aspects will increase in the near future. However, many organisations will find specific ways to deal with the issue and common strategies are rare. At the same time, according to the qualitative findings, social media evaluation and cooperation across the boundaries of departments and organisational functions are likely to stay underdeveloped.

Keywords


Strategic communication, communication management, social media, Delphi study, survey, Germany, trends

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