Predicting Social Capital in Nonprofits' Stakeholder Engagement on Social Media
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Social media help nonprofit organizations engage stakeholders through directed public messaging features such as Twitter mentions and replies. The stakeholder-targeting engagement is viewed as a form of relationship investment that could yield organizational social capital. The organizational social capital, termed as social media capital, is manifested in an organization's strategic locations in an inter-organizational peer network, along with the quality and quantity of the organization's online stakeholder network. Based on the Twitter activities of 258 community foundations, the study finds that several stakeholder-targeting tactics, including targeting stakeholders in diverse sectors and creating interactive messages with multiple cues, are associated with an increase in social media capital, as manifested in the organization's central and bridge network locations in relation to its peer and the organization's ability to acquire strong ties with a large number of influential and diverse stakeholders. Findings also show that two dimensions of social media capital--network locations and embedded resources predict two social returns: word-of-mouth diffusion and online reputation. Specifically, possessing central and bridge network locations and having diverse stakeholder networks drive retweeting (word-of-mouth diffusion) and an organization's appearance in public Twitter list (online reputation). Contrarily, having networks of predominantly local stakeholders may limit the scope of the return. Also, based on the previous finding that online stakeholder-targeting generates social media capital, the study further shows that social media capital mediates the relationship between stakeholder-targeting and social returns.