Following Firms on Twitter: Determinants of Continuance and Word-of-Mouth Intentions

트위터를 통한 기업과 고객과의 소통: 지속적인 팔로윙과 구전 의도에 영향을 미치는 요인에 대한 연구

  • Kim, Hongki (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia) ;
  • Son, Jai-Yeol (School of Business, Yonsei University) ;
  • Suh, Kil-Soo (School of Business, Yonsei University)
  • Received : 2012.02.02
  • Accepted : 2012.08.12
  • Published : 2012.09.30

Abstract

Many companies have recently become interested in using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook as a new channel to communicate with their customers. For example, companies often offer "special deals" (e.g., coupons, discounts, free samples, etc.) to their customers who participate in promotions or events on social networking sites. Companies often make important announcements on their products or services on social networking sites. By doing so, customers are encouraged to continue to have relationships with companies on social networking sites and to recommend the companies' presence on social networking sites to other potential customers. Moreover, customers who keep close relationships with companies on social networking sites often provide the companies with valuable suggestions and feedback. For instance, Starbucks has more than 2 million followers on Twitter, and often receive suggestions and feedback for their product offerings and services from the followers on Twitter. Although companies realize potential benefits of using social networking sites as a channel to communicate with their customers, it appears that many companies have difficulty forging long-lasting relationships with customers on social networking sites. It is often reported that many customers who had followed companies on Twitter later stopped following them for various reasons. Therefore, it is an important issue to understand what motivates customers to continue to keep relationships with companies on social networking sites. Nonetheless, due attention has yet paid to this issue until recently. This study intends to contribute to our understanding on customers' intention to continue to follow companies on Twitter and to spread positive word-of-mouth about companies on Twitter. Specifically, we identify seven potential factors that customers perceive as important in evaluating their experience with companies on Twitter. The seven factors include similarity, receptivity, interactivity, ubiquitous connectivity, enjoyment, usefulness and transparency. We posit that the seven perception factors can affect the two types of satisfaction, emotional and cognitive, which can in turn influence on customers' intention to follow companies on Twitter and to spread positive word-of-mouth about companies on Twitter. Research hypotheses formulated in this study were tested with data collected from a questionnaire survey administered to customers who had been following companies on Twitter. The data was analyzed with the partial least square (PLS) approach to structural equation modeling. The results of data analysis based on 177 usable responses were generally supportive of our predictions for the effects of the seven factors identified and the two types of satisfaction. In particular, out results suggest that emotional satisfaction was strongly influenced by perceived similarity, perceived receptivity, perceived enjoyment, and perceived transparency. Cognitive satisfaction was significantly influenced by perceived similarity, perceived interactivity, perceived enjoyment, and perceived transparency. While cognitive satisfaction was found to have significant and positive effects on both continued following and word-of-mouth intentions, emotional satisfaction had a significant and positive effect only on word-of-mouth intention.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea