آیا توییتهای برای B2B و B2C باید متفاوت باشد؟تجزیه و تحلیل از ارتباطات 500 شرکت توییتر
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23910||2014||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7750 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Available online 13 May 2014
Business-to-business (B2B) marketers hesitate to embrace social media as a marketing tool, unlike their business-to-consumer (B2C) counterparts, and they struggle to implement successful social media strategies due to their limited understanding of the phenomenon. Drawing on communication and word-of-mouth theories, the authors investigate how marketers use Twitter differently across contexts and predict key factors likely to influence the message strategies used in each. A longitudinal content analysis and logistic regression support the assessment of a sample of more than 7000 tweets by Fortune 500 companies. Marketers in B2B and B2C settings exhibit significant differences in their branding and selling strategies; their use of message appeals; and the use of cues, links, and hashtags to support information searches. Whereas B2B marketers tend to use more emotional than functional appeals in their tweets, neither B2C nor B2B marketers have adopted “hard sell” message strategies.
The potential of social media as a marketing tool is undeniable. Yet social media research and stories of its effectiveness mainly focus on business-to-consumer (B2C) examples in which social media leads to increased brand awareness, loyalty, engagement, and sales (e.g., Kumar and Mirchandani, 2012, Rapp et al., 2013, Taylor et al., 2011 and Wiersema, 2013). Before social media marketing can be deemed an unqualified success though, marketers need to better understand its role in business-to-business (B2B) settings; thus far, B2B marketers seem hesitant to adopt social media marketing strategies. According to one study, only 5% of B2B marketers cite social media marketing as a well-optimized part of their marketing mix, 17% do not use social media at all, and 58% consider themselves in the initial stages of developing their social media strategies (Giamanco & Gregoire, 2012). Similarly, 37% of marketers claim that they do not know enough about social media sites to know where to begin (Emarketer, 2010). Marketing academics offer little guidance, because they have been slow to pursue research on social media phenomena in B2B settings (Wiersema, 2013). The few available studies tend to be descriptive and generally support findings from practitioner studies. For example, Michaelidou, Siamagka, and Christodoulides (2011) find that just more than 25% of B2B firms use social media to achieve their brand objectives and that non-users believe it is not important or do not understand whether or how it might help their brands. Social media tools have been lauded for their ability to enhance collaboration, encourage content sharing, and build community (Jansen et al., 2009 and Michaelidou et al., 2011). Consumers and businesses increasingly adopt social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter as a result (Kietzmann et al., 2011, Yang, 2012 and Zaglia, 2013); Twitter is one of the most widely used social media sites among Fortune 500 companies, such that approximately 73% of them use it to communicate with followers ( Barnes, Leschault, & Andonian, 2012). This micro-blogging service allows marketers to send “tweets” (i.e., text that is 140 characters or less with possible hyperlinks and attached photos) to a network of associates (followers) at any point in time through a myriad of electronic devices ( Twitter, 2013a). Its user base has grown exponentially since its inception, attracting the attention of marketers who are interested in interacting closely with their clientele. By tweeting their followers, marketers have an opportunity to increase brand awareness, generate leads and revenues, foster relationships, and create brand loyalty ( Kumar and Mirchandani, 2012 and Rapp et al., 2013). Many B2C companies already have used Twitter to their advantage (Twitter, 2013c), but fewer success stories include B2B companies. In addition, both practitioner and academic research on micro-blogging websites are relatively scant (e.g., Michaelidou et al., 2011, Ramos, 2008, Ramos, 2009 and Spekman and Dotson, 2009), such that B2B marketers appear uncertain about how to take advantage of Twitter and similar sites. Ramos (2009) notes that only 8% of B2B marketers using social media find it highly effective in driving brand awareness, and only 5% consider it effective for generating leads. Yet the rapid growth of and significant investments in social media create the need for academics to explore and explicate methods for capitalizing on social media, across both consumer and business contexts. Without such guidance, B2B practitioners may mistakenly assume that mimicking their B2C counterparts will prove similarly rewarding. However, evidence suggests that the two contexts differ enough to justify dedicated investigations and distinct approaches. The objective of this article is to explore whether B2B marketers should adopt distinct Twitter message strategies. Considering the conceptual distinctions of business and consumer markets, we investigate how marketers use Twitter differently across these contexts, in an effort to explicate relevant social media phenomena. We use communication and word-of-mouth (WOM) theories to advance understanding of the flow and process of communication in social media contexts. Furthermore, we contribute to B2B advertising and organizational buying literature by providing theoretical explanations and empirical support for the differences in tweeting strategies between B2B and B2C contexts. We thus begin with a general background of Twitter and its uses for businesses. In discussing communication and WOM theories as a framework for describing the flow and process of communication in social media contexts, we highlight relevant differences between B2B and B2C sectors, in accordance with organizational buying literature. Next, we derive hypotheses from B2B advertising literature, followed by a discussion of our methodology and results. We summarize our findings before highlighting some managerial implications and directions for research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Social media has the potential to enhance brand equity. It allows consumers and buyers to interact with their brands in ways that can create brand identity and brand meaning, as well as encourage brand responses and relationships (Keller, 2009). Furthermore, increasing the brand's presence and reputation on social media sites can boost sales performance and other financial and brand outcomes (Kumar and Mirchandani, 2012 and Rapp et al., 2013). Thus it has become critical for marketers to use appropriate communication strategies to motivate their audiences to engage with brand messages (Swani et al., 2013b). With this study we have sought to explore whether differences between business and consumer markets justify the use of distinct social media message strategies. Applying communication and WOM theories to tweets, we contend that B2B marketers encode tweets differently than B2C marketers so that they can motivate their unique customers to engage with their brand messages. Building on B2B advertising and organizational buying literature, we also highlight several particularly relevant differences in brand strategy, message appeals, selling approach, and information search between the B2B and B2C contexts. We tested seven hypotheses related to these differences and found support for six of them. We also tested whether these differences persisted over a six-month period. Do B2B tweets differ from B2C tweets? Our results indicate some differences. In B2B tweets, corporate name branding is more frequent than it is in B2C tweets. We expected B2B marketers to highlight corporate brand names in their tweets to their followers. Indeed, our results show that the percentage use of corporate brand names is higher in B2B tweets compared with B2C tweets. A more intriguing finding is that there appears to be no difference in the use of product brand names between the two contexts. We find that both B2B (χ(1)2 = 1217.00, p < 0.01) tweets as well as B2C (χ(1)2 = 2770.00, p < 0.01) tweets have a higher presence of corporate brand names than product brand names in their message strategies. This surprising result might vary with industry or product type differences in our sample, considering that Swani et al. (2013a) find that B2B service companies tend to have a higher percentage of corporate brand names, whereas B2C service companies have a higher percentage of product brand names in their tweeting strategies. For B2B and B2C companies that offer products, they indicate no such difference (Swani et al., 2013a). We have not analyzed tweets at the industry or product level, but these factors might influence our results related to the use of product and corporate brand names in tweets. With regard to appeals, the findings matched our predictions: B2B tweets featured a higher percentage of functional appeals, whereas B2C tweets included a higher percentage of emotional appeals. Yet the data also suggest that B2B tweets include more emotional appeals (30.3%) than functional appeals (24.2%; χ(1)2 = 13.19, p < .01; Table 1). This finding is consistent with recent organizational buying research that notes the role of involvement and the significance of brand emotions in decision-making processes ( Gilliland and Johnston, 1997, Jensen and Jepsen, 2007 and Lynch and De Chernatony, 2004). Emotional content in B2B communications can help foster customer relationships, add valuable dimensions to product or services, and lead to a sustainable differential advantage ( Lynch and De Chernatony, 2004 and Swani, Milne, Brown, 2013b), and the use of corporate brand names with emotional content has emerged as a very effective social media strategy for B2B companies ( Swani et al., 2013b). The use of emotional content in tweets thus can increase customer engagement and strengthen brand relationships. Although B2C tweets use a higher percentage of direct calls to purchase than B2B tweets, it also is interesting to observe the relatively low percentage of such calls in both contexts. That is, marketers do not appear to use Twitter primarily as a selling tool. The dynamics of social media advertising suggest an approach that differs from more traditional advertising, in which hard sells are less appropriate (Rapp et al., 2013). Additionally, B2B tweets have a higher percentage of links and cues for information search in their messages than B2C tweets, and the percentage use of hashtags is higher in B2B tweets as well. Yet we find substantial usage of cues and links and of hashtags in both B2B (80.7% and 56.4%, respectively) and B2C (75.7% and 44.4%, respectively) tweets. That is, regardless of the context, marketers use Twitter as an information-sharing platform. Finally, our results show that the characteristics of B2B and B2C tweets have shifted over time, sometimes diverging and sometimes converging. The recognition that uses of functional appeals and information search have converged over time indicates that Twitter has grown into a platform for sharing product, service, and company information across contexts. However, the use of emotional appeals has diverged over time, with a percentage increase in emotional appeals in B2C tweets compared with B2B tweets.