Theme 3.5 Webcare

The evolution of digital and especially social media has empowered consumers to voice their opinions about organizations to the public at large. As these opinions influence other people’s evaluations and behaviors, many organizations (both profit and non-profit) monitor and intervene in online discussions. Such practices have become known as webcare (Van Noort & Willemsen, 2012). This theme investigates questions such as, should organisations respond to each and every post (‘when’ question), what should organizations say in the response (‘what’ question), and what communication style should they adopt (‘how’ question)? Also, how are different types of organizations (commercial companies, health organizations, governmental institutions) currently dealing with these webcare questions in their daily practice? These questions can be answered using content analyses, surveys and experiments.

Further readings:

  • Van Noort, G. & Willemsen, L. M. (2012). Online damage control: The effects of proactive versus reactive webcare interventions in consumer-generated and brand-generated platforms. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 26(3), 131-140.
  • Van Os, R., Hachmang, D., & van der Pool, E. (2016). Webcare strategies by PT operators. An analysis of conversations on Twitter with three public transport operators. Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap, 44(3).
  • Schamari, J., & Schaefers, T. (2015). Leaving the home turf: how brands can use webcare on consumer-generated platforms to increase positive consumer engagement. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 30, 20-33.