The uses, benefits and limitations of social media for public relations in South African non-governmental organisations

M. Nchabeleng, C. J. Botha, C. A. Bisschoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In South Africa, social media has become a popular public relations research topic in non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This is because NGOs are increasingly integrating social media into their public relations strategies in an effort to engage with the variety of stakeholders by using communication platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that social life takes place, people communicate and share information. This study reviews the current uses, benefits, and limitations of social media in public relations among NGOs and analyses how South African public relations practitioners are experiencing these uses, benefits and limitations of social media in NGOs. Based on theoretical guidelines for social media public relations communication the empirical study employs a qualitative research using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with public relations practitioners in NGOs. The results provide a holistic view of their experience in social media. The key benefits of using social media were identified as theincreasing public relations interactions with audience, improving the accessibility of public relations communication, increasing the speed for feedback and input, social/peer and emotional support, potential to influence the public, improving the long-term cost effective relationship of public relations communication, reaching youth and other audiences on specific issues. The limitations were identified as quality concerns, confidentiality and private information leaking to the public, and the reliability of information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business and Retail Management Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Business relations
  • Communication
  • Facebook
  • NGOs
  • Twitter


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