Understanding of the Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing: The Case of Hashtag Campaigns in Twitter

Zhen Zhu

Contact: z.zhu@gre.ac.uk

Social media marketing has become a standard practice for businesses in the 21st Century. It is especially appealing to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and customer-to-customer (C2C) sellers due to its low economic costs and technical barrier. The effectiveness of social media marketing has been studied mostly with a qualitative approach in the literature and the results are mixed. The paper aims to understand the effectiveness of social media marketing with a data science (quantitative) approach, which remains underexplored in the literature. The particular application of social media marketing studied in the paper is hashtag campaigns in Twitter, which are typically launched with some easy-to-remember terms prefixed by a # symbol by corporate marketers and hopefully will encourage customers to create branded user-generated content and hence diffuse the use of the hashtags in the Twitter space. To understand the effectiveness of hashtag campaigns, this paper selects 50 London-based companies across industries and deploys a systematic data collection process through Twitter API to gather the information of the lifecycle of the campaigns. Preliminary findings suggest that the effectiveness of the hashtag campaigns depends on the interaction between involved Twitter users and the characteristics of the companies.

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