Purpose: This study focuses on how brands participate in social network sites (SNSs) and investigates both the different strategies they adopt and the factors that influence these strategies.`
Design/methodology/approach: The activities of top brands in SNSs were investigated through a content analysis of brand web sites in three countries, measuring two primary dimensions: presence in SNSs and level of engagement which the brand hoped to establish with stakeholders. The study then built logistic regression models to understand which factors drive brands to adopt and use SNSs, using insights from previous studies related to internet innovation adoption cycles.
Findings: The study confirmed that SNS adoption follows a general path of Internet innovation adoption by brands. Industry markets exert influence, with technology and consumer intensive brands being more likely than all other industry segments to be present in SNSs and to participate at higher engagement levels, while brands targeting younger audiences also engage at higher levels than brands targeting generic audiences. The country in which the brand operates plays a significant role in a brand’s likelihood of adopting SNSs: web sites in the USA are more likely to use SNSs than other countries, even after controlling for factors such as pre-existing web operations or the headquarters being in the same country. It was also found that top brands operate in a global world, as shown by their preference for SNSs with global coverage compared to local SNS, even when the penetration rates of these local SNSs were higher.
Originality/value: The paper advances research on SNS adoption by brands from an organizational standpoint, at a time when the majority of the top global brands actively promote such services.
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