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

Karampela, Maria and Lacka, Ewelina and McLean, Graeme (2019) 'Just be there' : Social media presence, interactivity, and responsiveness, and their impact on B2B relationships. European Journal of Marketing. ISSN 0309-0566 (In Press)

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    Abstract

    In 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. This paper extends 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, partner quality). Data from an online survey (N=200) with customers of UK-based B2B firms were analysed using structural equation modelling. 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. The research was conducted on a sample of UK-based firms with varied degrees of SMS use that may influence the impact on B2B brand relationship strength. 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. 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.