This work explores the effect of social media on expectations held by nonprofit publics as they seek to build and maintain relationships with nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in the context of expectancy violation theory, social capital, and the situational theory of publics. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 individuals who follow a nonprofit on social media to understand the public perspective on nonprofit organizations' relationship building and maintaining behaviors on social media. The study found that nonprofit publics do have specific expectations for how NPOs should build and maintain relationships on social media (i.e., high-quality posts, level of interaction being limited to likes on social media and interpersonal interactions, high visibility to prove legitimacy, high transparency, and posts that are positive in tone). The study also found that nonprofit publics immediately end relationships when these expectations are violated, but tolerate relationships if these expectations are met. Finally, nonprofit publics expect to build relationships by interacting in a face-to-face or interpersonal setting, but also expect to maintain these relationships on social media, shedding light onto the importance of combining the use of interpersonal and computer-mediated communication.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Smith, Brooke Lauren, "Nonprofit Public Relationships on Social Media: The Public's Perspective" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 6935.
expectancy violation, social capital, situational theory of publics, computer-mediated communication, interpersonal communication, nonprofit organizations, social media