Assessing and explaining the proficiency of social media marketing in small ministries : a comparative case study
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis seeks to understand how small nonprofit ministries approach social media marketing, and what their strengths and weaknesses are compared to normative theory. The research is conducted as a comparative case study on two small nonprofit Christian ministries which have several similarities but differ significantly in their approach to and success with social media marketing. In order to test this, I conducted an extensive literature review that resulted in a theoretical framework with preliminary guidelines for social media managers in nonprofit organizations. The research utilized the Flexible Pattern Matching Approach, and the theoretical components and underlying factors of this framework served as the foundation for semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews with informants from each ministry as well as observational data. The findings of this research establish the factors in the theoretical framework (brand infrastructure, marketing communications plan, social media marketing holistic framework and a logic model) as good indicators of success in social media marketing, chiefly emphasizing the value of gaining an awareness of and implementing a theoretical framework that is based on an up-to-date understanding of marketing and branding communications. Several new factors were discovered and shown to be of particular value for each of the major theoretical components. A couple of theoretical elements which contrasted with extant literature also emerged. The theoretical framework and findings are useful for leadership and marketing managers in small nonprofits with a long history of using traditional forms of communication. It provides managers with an understanding of which foundational elements need to be clearly understood and implemented before they can expect lasting success through their social media marketing efforts. To the author’s knowledge, there has been no comparative case study conducted on small nonprofit media ministries that creates an overarching framework for social media marketing success factors. Also, as social media platforms are continually developing, this study serves as a needed update on previous research.