Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

With the consumer market becoming more competitive by the day, businesses must find innovative yet cost effective means of reaching their target markets and steadily increasing their revenues. While businesses compete with one another to remain the best, they must have a strategic market plan that differentiates their products and/or services from their competitors. In an effort to do this, many businesses have begun using social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn as a means of reaching their target markets. Such sites have opened businesses to a new level of advertising where they reach consumers faster, have the ability to be more innovative, and spend less money than they would with conventional means of advertising. In addition to these social networking sites, Twitter has emerged, gaining interest from businesses looking to get their products and/or services out to consumers through a new medium. With the number of users increasing daily and the ease of passing information along from one user to the next, businesses have begun to see their new found means of advertising on Twitter as the way to increase their revenues 140 characters at a time. This project highlights how the understanding of the benefits of social media marketing is essential to businesses venturing into the use of Twitter. This understanding allows businesses to frame the use of Twitter to successfully fit their business strategies, while the Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) shows the connection between the use of social networking sites by businesses and how it relates to the manner in which consumers are receptive to the information such sites provide. Various studies conducted on the use of Twitter by companies along with a case study on FM Global, a mutual insurance company, highlight how Twitter can be used by businesses as a marketing tool for branding purposes and increasing revenues.

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