Communicating “pink”: an analysis of the communication strategies, transparency, and credibility of breast cancer social media sites



In public relations, the social media explosion has significantly impacted how organizations communicate to their various publics through sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Although previous studies have investigated dialogic communication and relationship building strategies in organizations, few have carried out this in terms of an organization's overall social media presence, especially with nonprofits. Research has found most nonprofits are not taking full advantage of social media. Moreover, the organizations that did use social media typically employed one-way communication strategies focusing primarily on information dissemination.

This study quantitatively analyzed the transparency and credibility of breast cancer nonprofits are participating on social media sites, specifically Facebook and Twitter, and how these sites affect perceptions of credibility and transparency. Overall, most top breast cancer nonprofits are active on both Twitter and Facebook but differ in terms of activity, credibility, and transparency. Organizations that tweeted more had more “likes”, more followers, and more overall tweets and were seen to be more transparent and credible by virtue of activity alone. This study also found a strong relationship between the transparency and credibility of the organization. Therefore, organizations need to use social media sites not only to communicate with their audiences but also to engage in dialogue on a regular basis. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.