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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Management

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

George R. Milne

Subject Categories

Advertising and Promotion Management | Business and Corporate Communications | Marketing

Abstract

Marketers are struggling with the successful implementation of social media executions in their marketing efforts. The effectiveness of their social media campaigns may be realized when their customers transmit company brand messages across their unique networks of friends and associates (Berger and Milkman 2012). Indeed, marketers using social media try to determine what messages will engage their customers.

In essay one, we provide guidance to B2B (business-to-business) managers by examining the usage and effectiveness of social media message strategies. Building on B2B advertising, organizational buying, and word-of-mouth theories, we highlight key differences in B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) social media message strategies in terms of branding, message appeals, selling, and information search. Analyzing 1,467 Facebook wall posts by Fortune-500 companies, using Bayesian Models, we find differences in the usage and effectiveness (message likes and comments) of social media. Specifically, the results indicate that the use of 1) corporate brands, 2) functional and emotional appeals, and 3) information search results in a higher percentage of message likes in B2B messages than in B2C messages. In addition, we find that B2B buyers, when compared to B2C consumers, demonstrate a higher message liking rate, but a lower message commenting rate.

In essay two, we examine how and when social media communications get transmitted by estimating a Multivariate Multilevel Poisson Model. To answer how, we focus on the two primary modes of transmission, message likes and comments. To answer when, we examine the effect of offering characteristics, products (goods) versus services on the social transmission of content. Drawing upon the same Fortune-500 dataset, we investigate the effectiveness of social media message strategies in terms of branding, message appeals, and vividness. We find that the use of corporate brand names is more effective (in terms of likes and comments) for service messages, whereas the use of images, videos, and product brand names is more effective for product messages. Furthermore, the results indicate that the use of corporate brand names, images, and videos yields a lower commenting rate, whereas the use of emotional appeals results in a higher liking and commenting rate.

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