"Just be there" : Social media presence, interactivity, and responsiveness, and their impact on B2B relationships

Karampela, Maria and Lacka, Ewelina and McLean, Graeme (2020) "Just be there" : Social media presence, interactivity, and responsiveness, and their impact on B2B relationships. European Journal of Marketing, 54 (6). pp. 1281-1303. ISSN 0309-0566 (https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-03-2019-0231)

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Purpose: In business-to-business (B2B) settings, research on social media sites (SMS) has primarily examined the benefits and challenges relating to their use, as well as factors driving their adoption. Recently, attention has turned to the consequences of using SMS in B2B markets. The purpose of this paper is to extend this line of research by investigating the impact of B2B brands’ social media presence, interactivity and responsiveness on customers’ perceptions of four indicators of brand relationship strength (commitment, intimacy, satisfaction and partner quality). Design/methodology/approach: Data from an online survey (N = 200) with customers of UK-based B2B firms were analysed using structural equation modelling. Findings: The study reveals that a supplier’s presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook has a positive impact on all four brand relationship strength indicators; interactivity enhances perceived partner quality, while responsiveness positively influences commitment. Differences across the three SMS are also observed. Research limitations/implications: The research was conducted on a sample of UK-based firms with varying degrees of SMS use that may influence the impact on B2B brand relationship strength. Practical implications: This study indicates that B2B brands ought to focus primarily on presence on SMS, given its positive impact on brand relationship strength. At the same time, however, B2B brands should be active in responding to customers’ queries on SMS, as well as interacting with them to enhance commitment and perceived partner quality, respectively. Originality/value: This study contributes to the digital marketing and B2B relationships interface and is the first to examine the role of B2B brands’ presence, interactivity and responsiveness on SMS in enhancing relationships with customers.