Why do people follow brands on Twitter?

Give discounts! Post offers! This is often the advice given to social media managers in order to attract followers. However, such advice might just be as false, as telling business that cutting prices and having big discounts is the only way to market products .

Few people 'fall' for discounts... so why would they follow a feed of discount offers on Twitter? Click To Tweet

What does the article examine?
The article examines why people follow brands on Twitter. Importantly, it doesn’t just directly ask them – but rather uses Theory of Planned Behaviour to develop a more profound model.

Which concepts are discussed in the article?
The article is based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, giving insights into what psychological motives people have to follow brands.

Theory of Planned Behaviour is more powerful than the simplistic homo economicus to explain behaviour Click To Tweet
Where is the data from and what methodology is being used?
The data is collected by using Amazon MTurk.

What are the main outcomes?
There are several main outcomes: Firstly TPB predicts follower behaviour on Twitter (which really isn’t very surprising, as it tends to predict all sorts of behaviours well… including those often seen as being highly rational, though in fact, they are based on a number of psychological/emotional/attitudinal factors when you examine them further).
Emotional brand attachment is actually a major factor for people following brands - not discounts Click To Tweet
There are also some really interesting conclusions in the article: Mainly the central role that brand attachment, e.g. emotional attachment to the brand, plays. Interesting is also that the authors find evidence that brand-consumer relationships may (sometimes?) be more significant than other interpersonal relationships when predicting engagement in brand conversations.

What are the implications and why should you read it?
There are many, many, many surveys out there which seem to put a nice spin on follower behaviour in the form of easy answers: often, something along the lines of “offer discounts” and people will follow. Of course, this may be a reason, but looking more deeply, guided by robust theoretical models like TPB offers additional insights (in fact, there are more than 60 different models… if you want to read further). Moreover, for  businesses, constantly offering discounts to followers might eventually prove very costly indeed (apart from being quite boring for the followers) – so looking at the role of more emotional variables is very useful – and potentially cost saving.
Full reference: Chu, S. C., Chen, H. T., & Sung, Y. (2016). Following brands on twitter: An extension of theory of planned behavior. International Journal of Advertising, 35(3), 421–437. http://doi.org/10.1080/02650487.2015.1037708

You may also like...