The purpose of this paper is to empirically explore under which conditions Tweets of infomediaries (i.e. ordinary users having few or no followers on Twitter) might nevertheless promote a negative sentiment toward a corporation to the point of having a negative impact on the corporation's outcomes.
The empirical study is based on a unique database that combines a sample of one year of Twitter conversations about an Italian bank and its daily business performances (i.e. number of closures and openings). The relationship between these two is analyzed using autoregressive time series models (VAR).
Findings indicate that a tweet affects a bank’s outcomes only when embedded in a larger conversation about the bank, rather than simply repetitively shared. These findings contribute to two debates within bank marketing literature. First is the debate about the role of infomediaries in banks' outcomes, as it urges to reconsider the way banks' online reputation is conceptualized and measured. Second is the debate on opportunities and threats of social media for the banking industry, as it indicates that negative sentiment expressed by the general public influences not only stock markets but also directly banks' outcomes.
This study allows managers and corporations to understand what to do when conversations of unknown individuals become threatening for the company. To influence such situations, the company should identify not only the actors that are influencers but also the communications that have been popular in the past for their brand or the brand of their competitors and monitor the conversational volume and broadness.
Illia, L., Colleoni, E. and Meggiorin, K. (2021), "How infomediaries on Twitter influence business outcomes of a bank", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 709-724. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-08-2020-0414
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