Social media communication in water utilities

Rezarta Sallaku, Vania Vigolo, Federico Testa


Purpose: In recent years, social media have expanded their influence on corporate communication and have boosted companies' potentialities to increase brand awareness, build brand reputation and develop relationships with customers. However, while vast literature has been conducted on the role of social media in corporate communication for consumer goods or services, very limited research is available on the role of social media in public services’ communication activities. This paper addresses this gap by exploring the content of social media communication adopted by one of the biggest Italian water utility, i.e. Acquedotto Pugliese. By analyzing the Facebook page of Acquedotto Pugliese, this study intends to identify the main themes communicated by the water utility on the social network.

Methodology: A thematic analysis on the content of the Facebook page of the water utility has been conducted with the support of NVIVO software.

Findings: The findings provide an overview of the social activity of Acquedotto Pugliese and the customer engagement generated. In addition the study identifies the major themes  communicated by the water utilities of Facebook.

Practical implications: The study provides useful implications for water utilities willing to pursue a social media communication approach.

Originality/value: To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to address social media communication in the water utility industry. 


Social media communication; water utilities; brand

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