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Digital engagement strategies and tactics in social media marketing

Conor Drummond (Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)
Thomas O'Toole (Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland)
Helen McGrath (Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 6 March 2020

Issue publication date: 10 June 2020




Digitalisation has increased the importance of online forms of marketing, including social media (SM) marketing, for entrepreneurial firms. This paper aims to identify digital engagement strategies and tactics in developing SM marketing capability.


The study uses ethnographic content analysis of an entrepreneurial firm and a network of business-to-business (B2B) actors to classify 1,248 B2B Facebook posts and Twitter tweets from a case of an artisan food producer in addition to semi-structured interviews with 26 networked actors.


The authors derive a range of digital engagement strategies (8 in total) and tactics (15 in total) for the four defining layers of SM marketing capability, namely, connect, engage, co-ordinate and collaborate.

Research limitations/implications

This research focuses on a case study and a network of B2B actors within the artisan food sector. However, the strategies and tactics are applicable to other entrepreneurial firms and contexts.

Practical implications

The digital engagement strategies and tactics are of direct practical benefit to entrepreneurial firms willing to learn and develop SM marketing capability in interaction with their B2B partners.


This study investigates three under-researched areas, SM as it relates to B2B relationships, and entrepreneurship, and marketing capability gaps in an era of rapid digitalisation. The definition of SM marketing capability and associated digital engagement strategies and tactics are new to the extant literature moving forward the understanding of SM B2B marketing in theory and practice.



The authors are grateful for feedback and comments on this manuscript from the reviewers. The lead author, Mr. Conor Drummond, would like to acknowledge the support of the Irish Research Council in providing funding for the project, in addition to Cork University Business School in providing additional financial support for conference attendance where earlier versions of the manuscript were presented.


Drummond, C., O'Toole, T. and McGrath, H. (2020), "Digital engagement strategies and tactics in social media marketing", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54 No. 6, pp. 1247-1280.



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