Corporate WeChat Communication in China

Yi-Ru Regina Chen, Alice Yang Cheng, Yan Jin, Flora Hung-Baesecke, and Chunxiao Li. “Corporate WeChat Communication in China: Examining Institutional Factors, Media Richness, Content Type, and Public Engagement.” Accepted for presentation at the Annual Conference of International Communication Association, Fukuoka, Japan, June 9-13, 2016.

Abstract: This study tackles the gap in public relations research on how corporations utilize WeChat, the dominant social media in China, to communicate and interact with publics. Using a content analysis of 1,488 WeChat posts of 15 top Chinese business-to-consumer enterprises, this study examined how the organizational factors (i.e., company type, ownership, and industry) and message factors (i.e.., media form and content type) affect the outcomes of corporate WeChat communication with the publics. Key findings included that multinational enterprises drove more traffic and likes to their posts than their local counterparts. State-holding enterprises gained more views than those that are privately-owned but not likes. The automobile industry communicated most engagingly. Posts in the form of text with image performed most effective. In addition, WeChat users preferred marketing posts with text and image over those for the relationship cultivation purpose when communicating with the corporations. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Yan Jin 

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