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Ties that bind: leveraging horizontal and vertical ties within an entrepreneurial community in cross-promotional social media marketing

Elena Dowin Kennedy (Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, Elon University, Elon, North Carolina, USA)
Alisha Blakeney Horky (College of Business and Technology, University of North Alabama, Florence, Alabama, USA)
Ethan Kaufmann (Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, Elon University, Elon, North Carolina, USA)

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1471-5201

Article publication date: 13 December 2022

61

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within an entrepreneurial community engage in cross-promotion on social media via Facebook. This paper specifically examines how SME community members leverage their horizontal and vertical ties to generate publicity, improve brand perceptions and drive traffic to themselves or community events.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a qualitative approach, examining 1,025 Facebook posts from 27 members of an entrepreneurial community in the southeast USA to develop typologies of posting strategies, post purposes and post functions.

Findings

This paper finds that in the entrepreneurial community of interest, many members engage in cross-promotion via social media at various frequencies and with distinctive purposes. This paper identifies five distinct patterns of cross-promotion – quality signaling, traffic driving, community amplifying, hybrid cross-promotion and infrequent engagement. This paper also notes differences between cross-promotional strategies of vertical and horizontal partners.

Originality/value

This paper advances understanding of social media marketing and identifies key patterns of SME social media behavior. Although previous research has noted the importance of social media for SMEs, there has been little research regarding posting strategies being used by these firms. Further, to this point, there has not been a framework to understand how firms can use social media to cross-promote one another. This paper seeks to begin filling these gaps by providing a useful framework that can be used by SMEs in coordinating their social media posting strategies as well as by researchers studying SME cross-promotion.

Keywords

Citation

Dowin Kennedy, E., Horky, A.B. and Kaufmann, E. (2022), "Ties that bind: leveraging horizontal and vertical ties within an entrepreneurial community in cross-promotional social media marketing", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRME-01-2021-0010

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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