Startups' Use of Twitter: A Content Analysis of Engagement Tools and One-Way Versus Two-Way Communication
With the increased use of social media as a marketing tool, marketing strategies and the way brands communicate with customers is changing. Due to its low cost and characteristic short length of messages, Twitter is an especially beneficial marketing tool. Twitter is free and consists of making posts that are easy to compose and easy to consume, which makes it an ideal way for companies, such as startups, to reach customers without having to use many resources. However, companies should be strategic in their use of Twitter and no data exists on the best practices for startup companies as they develop Twitter marketing plans. This study sought to address this issue and explored different methods for engaging followers and which of these methods were the most effective for technology-oriented startups to use. A content analysis revealed that engagement tools, such as media, hashtags, URLs, and mentions serve their intended purpose for tech startups and were related to engagement. However, using conversational, two-way communication, as suggested by marketing companies and literature, proved to not be positively related to engagement rates. One-way, promotional language that is typically advised against was more related to higher engagement. Thus, startup tech companies should continue to prioritize engaging followers with engagement tools but should focus on non-conversational topics, such as their products, events, news, and updates.