Alexis Alexander, “Strategic Use of Social Media by Commercial Brands”
Mentor: Taisik Hwang, Journalism, Advertising, & Media Studies
This research project attempts to discover how leading commercial brands utilize social media to effectively reach and build relationships with their audiences. Specifically, it employs a content analysis to examine how five big companies take advantage of Twitter to engage with their consumers. These companies include Coca-Cola, General Motors, Samsung, Sony, and Nestle which represents different types of industries. A total of 1,644 tweets sent by these businesses for a one-year period from August 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018 are used for quantitative analysis. This study focuses on three research questions: (1) How do they utilize the basic Twitter features such as retweet, hashtag, and hyperlinks; (2) To what extent do they differ in their use of branding strategies and message appeals; (3) Which branding strategy leads to increased engagement on the part of users. The expected outcomes include that there will be differences in use of basic features, strategies, and appeals both by companies and by industry type, and that emotional appeals will generate more engagement. The current study will benefit not only other private enterprises but also government and non-profit organizations by revealing ways in which these brands purposefully use social media to fulfill their goals.