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Building Marketing Relationships on Twitter: A Content Analysis of University Twitter Accounts

Brandi A. Watkins and Regina Lewis
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Brandi A. Watkins: The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
Regina Lewis: The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies (IJICST), 2013, vol. 3, issue 1, 32-46

Abstract: The current study applies a relationship marketing approach to examine how universities use Twitter to communicate with their audiences. To explore social media strategies related to top-ranked universities’ Twitter activity, Kotler’s (1992) model of five levels of relationship building was refined and operationalized. A content analysis of 1375 tweets distributed by 22 universities was conducted to evaluate the level of relationship building that universities establish through social media in order to engage with current and prospective students, alumni, donors, and external audiences. The authors conclude that top-ranked universities are more likely to engage primarily in reactive relationship building, which can be characterized as the broadcast of an original message with opportunities for followers to initiate post-communication interaction. Results of the message orientation analysis reveal that the vast majority of tweets in the sample were used to give opinion, suggestion, or information.

Date: 2013
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