Exploring the organisational structuring of professional social media within a modern marketing communication context
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Effective marketing communication efforts via social media platforms are hindered due to there being no clear guidelines on how to credibly inform a specific approach to the organisational structuring of professional social media. This study attempted to reduce the uncertainty regarding how internal social media custodians inform the organisational structuring of social media by identifying and exploring the key considerations when deciding on a strategic approach to the organisational structuring of social media. Before the study commenced an empirical process in order to address the central research problem, the study undertook an exploration of organisational structuring and marketing communication theory. After this exploration, it was noted that there is a noticeable lack of theoretical knowledge that can be utilised to inform a strategic approach to the structuring of an organisation’s social media initiatives. With this in mind, this study’s empirical process undertook an expansive process in order to directly address identified theoretical gaps, by extracting sample data from real world applications of social media organisational structuring practice. This was done by means of semi-structured interviews, as well as insights derived from the researcher himself, in his capacity as a social media marketing communication professional by means of self-interview. The sample data suggested that there was no substantial link between social media custodians’ choice of an organisational structuring approach and the reaching of traditional or social media-specific objectives. With this option of informing a strategic approach to social media organisational structuring eliminated, this study explored alternative avenues for addressing the research problem. Upon further analysis of the sample data, it was observed that certain key favourable characteristics existed that internal social media custodians aimed to attain through specific choices to the organisational structuring of social media. The degree to which each of these favourable characteristics can be attained are contextualised or influenced by various factors. The relative importance and ranking of these favourable characteristics also differ amongst organisations, as they are influenced by an endless spectrum of circumstantial variables. However, once an internal social media custodian has determined which favourable characteristics are most important to the organisation, this study’s findings can be referenced to inform a suitable approach to the organisational structuring of social media initiatives. It is recommended that internal social media custodians apply the following step-by-step guidelines in order to implement an informed approach to their social media organisational structuring: 1. Identifying the relative importance or priority of all possible favourable characteristics of social media, within the context of the unique circumstances and needs of the organisation. 2. Referencing this study’s listing of how different approaches to social media organisational structuring impact the attainment of the prioritised favourable characteristics and identifying the most suitable approach to the organisational structuring of the organisation’s social media initiatives. 3. Optimising the specific approach chosen by referencing this study’s practical guidelines in order to maximise the potential benefits as well as negate the potential disadvantages that are most likely to manifest when applying the relevant chosen approach to social media’s organisational structuring.
- ETD@PUK 
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