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Facebook Content Strategies and Citizens’ Online Engagement: The Case of Greek Local Governments

Georgios Lappas (), Amalia Triantafillidou (), Anastasia Deligiaouri () and Alexandros Kleftodimos ()
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Georgios Lappas: Western Macedonia University of Applied Sciences
Amalia Triantafillidou: Western Macedonia University of Applied Sciences
Anastasia Deligiaouri: Western Macedonia University of Applied Sciences
Alexandros Kleftodimos: Western Macedonia University of Applied Sciences

The Review of Socionetwork Strategies, 2018, vol. 12, issue 1, 1-20

Abstract: Abstract This paper analyzes the communication strategies used by Greek local governments through the utilization of Web 2.0 technologies, specifically Facebook, and the effectiveness of these strategies in relation to citizens’ online engagement. More specifically, it examines Facebook communication strategies and levels of citizens’ engagement. For this purpose, we conducted a content analysis on the active and official Facebook pages of local municipalities in Greece from January 2017 until the end of September 2017. Our results suggest a rise in the percentage of active Facebook pages maintained by local governments in comparison to our 2014 study. Our results also show that local governments in Greece are using Facebook in a predominantly top-down manner to promote events organized by the municipality and to push one-way information to citizens about their services and actions. Local authorities have, however, made significant progress in relation to posts that support transparency and accountability and that enhance or mobilize citizens’ participation. Our evaluation of local government Facebook strategies indicates that marketing the municipality to external public, such as tourists, and providing information about services are effective strategies that drive citizens’ online attitude expression (liking), engagement (commenting), and advocacy behavior (sharing). According to our analysis, local governments in Greece prefer the strategies that we found to be the least engaging. In addition, our study provides interesting details of how specific characteristics and modes of Facebook messages (photos, videos, URLs, hashtags, and mentions) impact on citizens’ engagement. Finally, our results provide valuable insights for social media managers in local government who aim to increase the impact of their municipal Facebook pages.

Keywords: Communication strategies; Facebook; Local governments; Greece; Citizens' engagement; Content analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s12626-018-0017-6

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