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Interactive or reactive? Marketing with Twitter

Suzan Burton (University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Alena Soboleva (Communispace Corporation, Manly, Sydney, Australia, and Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 1 November 2011




Despite rapid growth in organizational use of Twitter, there is little theoretical or empirical research examining how different organisations use Twitter. This paper aims to analyse and compare use of Twitter in 12 accounts held by six organisations in the USA and Australia, drawing on existing models of interactive communications.


The paper is based on analysis of a random sample of tweets sent by each account.


The results demonstrate different ways in which the interactive capabilities of Twitter can be used to communicate with customers. However by also demonstrating lack of consistency in Twitter practice within most organisations, the results reinforce the need for strategic consistency in developing Twitter practice.

Research limitations/implications

The results are based on the Twitter practice of 12 organisational accounts in the USA and Australia from December 2009 to May 2010. As with any evolving medium, practices at the different organisations may have changed since that time.


The paper is the first to compare Twitter use within and across organisations and geographic markets. It demonstrates a variety of potential Twitter practices, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies, and thus provides a framework for analysis of Twitter practice, and strategic direction for organisations developing their use of Twitter. The paper identifies challenges in the use of Twitter as both a one‐to‐many, and also a one‐to‐one, communication medium, and suggests strategies for coping with this dual use of Twitter.



Burton, S. and Soboleva, A. (2011), "Interactive or reactive? Marketing with Twitter", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 28 No. 7, pp. 491-499.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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