Int. J. of Networking and Virtual Organisations   »   2014 Vol.14, No.1/2



Title: An empirical research of the factors affecting users to follow companies' microblogs


Authors: Kem Z.K. Zhang; Sesia J. Zhao; Hong Zhang; Matthew K.O. Lee


School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
Management School, Anhui University, Hefei, 230601, China
School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
Department of Information Systems, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China


Abstract: A number of companies have been creating accounts on microblogging sites to promote products/brands and communicate with customers. In this study, we attempt to understand the factors that may drive online users to follow companies' microblogs. We develop a research model through the perspective of elaboration likelihood model. Users' following behaviour is explained through three levels of participation: reading messages, forwarding messages and commenting on messages of companies' microblogs. We propose that information quality and source credibility are two key antecedents in the model. In addition, we extend the model by considering the impact of similarity on users' following behaviour. We empirically test our model by collecting data from an existing microblogging site in China. The results show that most of the hypotheses are supported. Implications for both theory and practice are discussed.


Keywords: empirical research; company microblogs; corporate microblogs; microblogging sites; elaboration likelihood model; ELM; participation; following behaviour; information processing; information quality; source credibility; similarity; blogs; China.


DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2014.065081


Int. J. of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2014 Vol.14, No.1/2, pp.129 - 145


Submission date: 12 Oct 2013
Date of acceptance: 14 Apr 2014
Available online: 12 Oct 2014



Editors Full text accessPurchase this articleComment on this article