Wigley, Shelley, & Lewis, Bobbi Kay (2012). Rules of engagement: Practice what you tweet. Public Relations Review, 38(1), 165-167.
This study explored tweets that mention highly engaged companies and compared them to tweets that mention less engaged competitors. Results showed that a highly engaged company received less negative mentions in tweets, but only if the company also practiced dialogic communication. Additionally, less engaged companies received more mentions in tweets and in one instance tweets that mentioned a less engaged company shared more links with others.
This study content analyzed conversations of four company Twitter accounts over a three-day period on Twitter. For the purpose of this study, Southwest Airlines and Comcast were categorized as highly engaged companies; American Airlines and Time Warner Cable were categorized as lesser-engaged companies. Alterian’s social media monitoring service was used to gather data for the study.
1) Less engaged companies received more mentions on Twitter than highly engaged companies. The ﬁndings agree with professionals and researchers who emphasize message control. Less engaged companies naturally receive more mentions in tweets because the companies are providing a vacuum that must be ﬁlled with information from their audiences.
2) There were not any differences between links included in a tweet from a highly engaged company and a less engaged company. However, highly engaged companies were more likely to engage in two-way communication while less engaged companies were categorized more often as a broadcast, or one-way communication, tweet.
Implications for Practice
A high level of engagement on Twitter can only get companies so far. Companies must back up their conversations with two-way symmetrical communication, and must be willing to ﬁx issues and problems. This may decrease negative comments, and increase conversation, about your organization on Twitter.
The full article is available for purchase at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0363811111001111