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

Addresses: 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

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

Received: 14 Oct 2013
Accepted: 14 Apr 2014

Published online: 29 Oct 2014 *

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