Marketing with Twitter: Challenges and Opportunities

Marketing with Twitter: Challenges and Opportunities

Alena Soboleva (University of Western Sydney, Australia), Suzan Burton (University of Western Sydney, Australia) and Aila Khan (University of Western Sydney, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8408-9.ch001
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Abstract

The increasing use of Twitter by businesses has created the challenge of how to measure its effectiveness for marketing communications. Using data based on two years of Twitter activity by leading global brands in the Auto, FMCG and Luxury industries, this chapter presents measures which can be used by practitioners and researchers to assess the effectiveness of marketing communications on Twitter. It discusses the factors that predict consumer engagement with organizational tweets, and different Twitter strategies that have been successfully (and less successfully) used by leading global brands. We also consider the implications for marketing with Twitter, for these and for smaller organizations.
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Introduction

Over the past ten years the increasing use of social media by businesses has re-defined the way businesses connect and communicate with customers (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010; Rapp et al., 2013). Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms, attracting around 255 million active monthly users, with around 500 million tweets sent per day (Twitter, 2014a). Twitter users tend to visit the platform more frequently than Facebook users, with 46% being daily visitors and 29% visiting the platform multiple times a day (Duggan & Smith, 2013).

In response to the rise of social media such as Twitter, marketers are actively incorporating social media into their programs, since social media can facilitate customer and user engagement with the organization (e.g. Hollebeek et al., 2014). By the end of 2013, more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies were active on Twitter, with the top brands averaging 20% follower growth over the last quarter of 2013 (Shively, 2014). But as consumers’ use of social media increases, their expectations also rise (Labrecque, 2014) – adding to the dramatic changes which social media bring to marketing (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2013).

This chapter discusses the potential for marketing with Twitter, and outlines its key challenges. We propose different measures that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of a Twitter strategy, and using Twitter data from leading global brands from two consecutive years, we discuss tweet features that have been identified as increasing follower engagement. We then examine similarities and differences in the Twitter strategies of these leading global brands and discuss the implications for brand communications on Twitter. Our objectives are to demonstrate how different measures can be used to assess the effectiveness of marketing with Twitter, identify the different Twitter strategies used by leading global brands, and discuss the potential implications for smaller organizations marketing with Twitter.

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