Micayla Richardson

Micayla Richardson

Garnering Attention on Social Media: A Multi-level Analysis of Nonprofit Behavior on TikTok


Kimberly Wiley, Micayla Richardson, Kayla Schwoerer


Wiley, Kimberly


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


<p>Nonprofits, a type of community-based organization, adopt multiple social networking sites to engage stakeholders and facilitate bidirectional communication with key constituents (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012). Organizations allocate their limited resources towards social media engagement, with organizations most commonly using Facebook and Twitter (Campbell, Lambright and Wells, 2014; Guo & Saxton, 2014). Three primary strategies for outreach exist, as nonprofits can share information, foster community building, or encourage viewers to partake in action (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012). Attention an organization receives is dependent on network characteristics of the social media platform, and the nonprofit’s subsequent communication strategy (Guo & Saxton, 2018). A new social media platform, TikTok, enables users to share short video clips, or microvlogs. Bidirectional engagement is essential to garnering attention on TikTok. We ask two research questions: How are nonprofits behaving on TikTok? How are social media users engaging with nonprofits on Tiktok? We textually analyze 1000 microvlogs to identify patterns in the behavior of 75 nonprofit TikTok accounts (McKee, 2003). We qualitatively code the microvlogs using Lovejoy and Saxton’s framework (2012), and analyze user engagement through likes, comments, shares and followers. Preliminary findings demonstrate nonprofits use TikTok to reach a general audience, rather than specific stakeholder groups. Mission-oriented behavior was observed through information sharing and requests for action from users. Community-building behavior was often observed in microvlogs far removed from the organizations’ mission, such as volunteers performing popular dances and animal behavior set to trending songs. This non mission-oriented, community-building behavior appears to be unique to TikTok. </p><p> </p>


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