Strategic Stakeholder Communications on Twitter by UK Universities
Research Agenda Working Papers. Vol 2019 No 8 pp 104-119
16 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2019
Date Written: August 31, 2019
Universities are known to have a particularly complex stakeholder environment, thus, identifying the stakeholder environment and management for effective communication is essential to elicit stakeholder engagement. While acknowledging that the identification of relevant stakeholders seemingly underpins stakeholder management in Universities, this paper argues that merely identifying the stakeholders is not enough but understanding the strategic communications between the Universities and their stakeholders. Tweets from the official and verified the Twitter account of Russell Group universities in the UK were extracted and thematically analysed. Results indicate that a typology of strategic communications with Universities stakeholders – Recruit, Retain and Report. Universities are trying to recruit prospective students, to retain their present students and staff and report progress, achievement and activities to the general public and external stakeholders. Following social media norms, Universities were using customised hashtags in their tweets and encouraging others to do so as well. This study extends knowledge of Universities’ stakeholder analysis and management, presents a typology of communication strategies which can inform content creation strategy for the Universities and further identifies how Universities are using social media to engage and reach out to their stakeholders. The study presents implications for University Managers as they need to be strategic in developing campaigns that can appeal to their diverse audience.
Keywords: Strategic; Stakeholder; Communications; Twitter; Social Media, UK, University, Russel Group
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