2012: Volume 5, Issue 2, pp. 57-74

A Dialogue with Social Media Experts: 
Measurement and Challenges of Social Media Use in 
Chinese Public Relations Practice

Yi Luo and Hua Jiang



With the advent and increasing popularity of new communication technologies, social media tools have been widely used in corporate organization-public communication. The extant literature on social media use in public relations practice has largely centered on the ways social media tools have transformed the practice of public relations in the United States. Limited studies have examined the role of social media in China. The present study represents one of the first to investigate the measurement and challenges of social media use in Chinese public relations practice. Based on 18 in-depth interviews with public relations executives, this paper concludes that traditional quantitative methods of social media production and message exposure have been utilized to measure social media campaigns, accompanied by the growing use of methods focused on intangible impact of public relations (e.g., online publics’ awareness, advocacy, and participation). Challenges unique to China’s social media landscape are also identified. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.



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