ArticlePDF Available

Social Media Advertising Platforms: A Cross-cultural Study


Abstract and Figures

Abstract: The advent of social media tools has led to a new era in advertising theory and practice. However, scant amount of research addresses the ways in which social media are used in different countries to convey corporate image. The purpose of the present study is to increase our understanding of the adoption of social media for external communication purposes. Based on a content analysis of 250 websites of the “Fortune 500” companies in the USA and 265 websites of the “Strongest Companies in Greece”, the study performs a cross cultural comparison of issues and trends in the use of social media advertising techniques in the USA and Greece. The findings show that US advertisers tend to use social media for advertising purposes more frequently than their Greek counterparts. In fact, the use of social media as an element of the promotional mix is still at an early phase in Greece, since Greek practitioners seem to have underestimated the importance of this source of corporate communications. Though significant differences between the U.S.A. and Greece seem to exist, there are, also, some critical similarities between the two environments. In particular, business to consumer (B2C) enterprises focus mainly on the use of Twitter and Facebook, while business to business (B2B) emphasize YouTube and RSS. Moreover, it seems that high tech companies are pioneers of the use of Web 2.0 tools for advertising purposes, while traditional firms seem to lag behind such practices. The present study contributes to the relevant literature by analyzing the use of social media in a cross cultural environment. In that manner, significant strategies for more effective exploitation of social media advertising both in countries that are early adopters (as the U.S.A.) and countries that are late adopters of innovations (as Greece) emerge.
Content may be subject to copyright.
International Journal on
Strategic Innovative Marketing
Vol. 1(2014) pages. DOI:10.15556/IJSIM.01.02.002
Social Media Advertising Platforms: A
Cross-cultural Study
Nikolaos Chatzithomas
, Christina Boutsouki
Leonidas Hatzithomas
Yorgos Zotos
Department of Economics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Department of Business Administration, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece
Department of Communication & Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol,
Corresponding author:
Abstract: The advent of social media tools has led to a new era in advertising theory and
practice. However, scant amount of research addresses the ways in which social media are
used in different countries to convey corporate image. The purpose of the present study is
to increase our understanding of the adoption of social media for external communication
purposes. Based on a content analysis of 250 websites of the “Fortune 500” companies in
the USA and 265 websites of the “Strongest Companies in Greece”, the study performs a
cross cultural comparison of issues and trends in the use of social media advertising
techniques in the USA and Greece. The findings show that US advertisers tend to use social
media for advertising purposes more frequently than their Greek counterparts. In fact, the
use of social media as an element of the promotional mix is still at an early phase in Greece,
since Greek practitioners seem to have underestimated the importance of this source of
corporate communications. Though significant differences between the U.S.A. and Greece
seem to exist, there are, also, some critical similarities between the two environments. In
particular, business to consumer (B2C) enterprises focus mainly on the use of Twitter and
Facebook, while business to business (B2B) emphasize YouTube and RSS. Moreover, it
seems that high tech companies are pioneers of the use of Web 2.0 tools for advertising
purposes, while traditional firms seem to lag behind such practices. The present study
contributes to the relevant literature by analyzing the use of social media in a cross cultural
environment. In that manner, significant strategies for more effective exploitation of social
media advertising both in countries that are early adopters (as the U.S.A.) and countries
that are late adopters of innovations (as Greece) emerge.
Keywords: social media, cross-cultural, U.S.A., Greece, corporate communications.
1. Introduction
The advent of social media has led to substantial changes in the communication
process. Social media represent a significant challenge for businesses, as a lot of
existing marketing strategies are considered insufficient and incompatible with an
era when consumers appear to be more empowered than ever before [1] [2] [3].
In this era of the global network, companies need to consider both social and
traditional media as an ecosystem in the pursuit of common goals. These goals may
be, among others, the promotion of a product/service, the disclosure of a new
initiative by the company and consumers’ commitment to a rich, substantial, and
interactive dialogue [2] [4].
To date, research in marketing, relates to the study of media adoption in the
social global network, mainly on an intercultural level [5] [6] [7] [8]. The present
study employs a cross cultural approach. It focuses on the level of adoption of social
media, for marketing purposes and corporate websites promotion in Greece and the
USA. Hence, the objective of the present study is to record and interpret the use and
significance of web 2.0 tools in culturally diverse environments such as Greece and
the U.S.A, based on Hofstede's [9] cultural dimensions.
2. Theoretical Background
2.1. Social Media for Marketing Purposes
The evolution of technology, the appearance of web 2.0 tools and the social media
seem to redefine the economy and the communication process between companies
and their customers and stakeholders [10]. Constantinides and Fountain [11, p.
231] defined
Web 2.0 as:
α collection of open-source, interactive and user-controlled online applications
expanding the experiences, knowledge and market power of the users as
participants in business and social processes ... [supporting] the creation of informal
users’ networks facilitating the flow of ideas and knowledge by allowing the efficient
generation, dissemination, sharing and editing/refining of informational content.
Hence, it could be argued that web 2.0 technologies signify an innovation in
communication. According to Damanpour and Gopalakrishnan [12], the
environment has great influence on the decision making process on the adoption of
the innovation. The degree of innovation also seems to affect its rate of adoption
In the new era of the social web, the industrial period communication model -
dominated by the centrally controlled, top down, mass communication- is replaced
by a novel, well placed and incorporated information system, based on qualities
that comply with a free, open and consumer-centered market [14]. The traditional
communication approach in marketing, where the company in collaboration with
its representatives (advertising agencies, public relations consultants, market
research companies) developed the marketing communication strategy, (controlling
and defining themselves the content, the range, the timetable and the means of
communication), has been seriously “corroded” [15] [16].
Marketing is gradually developing the element of engagement and involves two-
way, many-to-many and multi-modal communication [17]. Marketing
communication, once controlled by distinguished and recognizable corporate
representatives, gives its place to a disorderly cluster of communication that is
based on the market and is performed by numerous participants, such as the
consumers, rivals, employees, observers, and stakeholders [15] [18]. It seems that,
the advent of social media has led to democracy in communication. Power is not
held by marketing professionals and public relations, but by individuals and the
communities they create [1] [11].
Social media represent a hybrid element of the promotional mix. They combine
the features of the traditional tools of Integrated Marketing Communications (B2C)
and a significant channel of word of mouth communication (C2C) where marketing
professionals cannot control the type, the range and the distribution of information.
These media are notably important and powerful to every company that
acknowledges and at the same time makes use of them, as consumers seem to
gradually distance themselves from the traditional promotional approaches (e.g.
limited trust towards traditional advertising as a source of information affecting
consumer decisions) [15]. In their study of the adoption of social media by fast
growing companies in the US, Barnes and Jacobsen [13] report that almost half of
the companies examined (Inc.500) considered social media to be very important for
their business/marketing strategy. Firms used social media not only to
communicate with their customers but also with vendors and partners.
In the new communication model, information about the products and companies
originates from the market itself and disseminates through the traditional and social
media avenues. Marketing professionals, accustomed to controlling the provider
initiated communication messages, have to switch over to the consumers and
employ the social media communications path [15].
Companies ought to consider social media as a comprehensive communication
strategy that places emphasis on consumer’s experience, and works in conjunction
with traditional media. Social media broaden marketing’s potential beyond the level
of keeping the consumer informed, and expand it to the level of commitment,
consideration, loyalty and customer support [2] [19]. Marketing professionals rely on
both individuals and social media in order to develop consumer experiences that
accomplish attention and influence. While the use of the traditional media results in
a compromise between the approach and commitment of consumers, social media,
enable the simultaneous approach and commitment of consumers [2].
Despite the obvious impact of social media, a significant number of marketing
professionals seem to ignore them, either because they are unaware of their
importance for a company’s promotional activities, or because they lack the required
knowledge and guidance in order to incorporate them into their strategies and
actions, or even because they are afraid of losing control [1] [20] [21] [22].
Subsequently, companies often ignore or mismanage the opportunities or threats
that come from creative consumers with preference in the new interactive media
3. Hypotheses Development
3.1. The Adoption of Social Media in Greece and U.S.A.
The adoption and use of the social web by companies could be considered a
constant procedure of adopting an innovation [24] [25]. The acceptance of a
technological trend may be a time-consuming procedure, which depends, among
others, on several cultural factors [26]. According to Rogers [26] there are five
attributes upon which an innovation is judged and incorporated: triability,
observability, relative advantage, complexity and compatibility. Social media is a
form of communication whose sole purpose is to provide open communication
between individuals, companies, consumers and everyone in between. Therefore, it
has to be easy to use and the set-up or creation of a blog, Facebook page or twitter
account has indeed remained straightforward and fast [13].
A number of studies have focused on the relationship between the adoption of a
new technology and several cultural aspects [27] [28] [29]. However, cross-cultural
studies on the use of web 2.0 technologies [5] [6] and the social media [7] [8] have
only recently started to emerge and remain scant.
In Greece, several cultural factors concerning mainly technological and
behavioural difficulties, (lack of information and relevant knowledge, limited
technical support, conflicts between several departments and the department of
information technology) hindered the expansion and wide use of the internet [24].
Tsatsou [29] claims that the persistently low level of internet adoption in Greece
could be attributed to a traditional uncertainty-avoidant and novelty-resistant
culture that discourages technological development and innovation. Hence, Greece
seems to lag behind the other countries-members of the European Union, and other
countries around the world [24].
Despite the existence of numerous theoretical models in intercultural research
literature [30] [31] [32], the study focuses on Hofstede’s [9] cultural dimensions for
the comparison of the USA and Greece. Hofstede’s framework has provoked a series
of discussions and debates about the cultural profiles of countries around the world
and whether culture can or should be quantified and measured [29]. It is a
framework widely used and applied in scientific research to examine individual and
collective trends and the related cultural drivers [33] [34] [35]. Hofstede’s framework
has also been used for the hypotheses formulation in comparative intercultural
studies [36]. Hence, this study employs Hofstede’s framework to complement
existing approaches to the study of social culture focusing on Greece and the USA
and to provide the theoretical ground for an empirical examination of the role of
culture in the adoption of web 2.0 technologies in these countries.
Hofstede [37] introduced five cultural dimensions that explain the differences
among cultures, namely Power Distance (PDI), Individualism - Collectivism (IDV),
Masculinity - Feminity (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), Long vs. Short Term
Orientation (LTO).
Greece has the highest score in the world (UAI 112) concerning Hofstede’s
cultural dimension of Uncertainty Avoidance, unlike the USA, where citizens appear
to be more tolerant towards vagueness and uncertainty (UAI 46). The high rates on
the Uncertainty Avoidance Index indicate that Greece
is intolerant of opinions and
practices different from those
that Greeks are accustomed to. It also demonstrates a
negative predisposition to
new technologies and their significances [29].
According to Hofstede [37] and Shane [38], societies with high tendency for
Uncertainty Avoidance are more difficult to adopt an innovation, the new media and
use the Internet. Following and reinforcing the same view, Shane [38], who
conducted the first intercultural study on the adoption of web 2.0 technologies
based on Hofstede’s model, concluded that societies which feel threatened by the
unknown and the unstructured conditions are less likely to adopt web 2.0
technologies. Hence, it is believed that in Greece, marketing professionals will be
reluctant towards the adoption of social media, as the new media empower
consumers and marketing professionals are afraid of losing control [39].
Furthermore, previous studies [37] [40] suggest that societies that are described
as individualistic are more likely to use new technologies and adopt innovations
compared to societies that are described as collective. Greece is considered a
collective society, (IDV 35) where individuals belong to close groups that they look
after, with the mutual commitment and devotion of their members. On the contrary,
the USA is considered an individualistic society (IDV 91) where people take care of
themselves and their close relatives. As a consequence, it is expected that in the
U.S.A there will be a positive attitude towards the adoption of web 2.0 technologies.
“Power Distance” describes the degree up to which the less powerful members of
organizations and institutions accept and expect that power will be distributed
unequally. According to Hofstede [37], societies that tend to put great emphasis on
equality and justice and are described as of short distance from power (like the USA
(PDI 40)) use technology to a greater extent in comparison to countries that accept
greater distance from power (like Greece (PDI 60)). The high rates
of the Power
Distance Index indicate that in Greece there is
a high degree of inequality of power
distribution with centralized decision structures and authority discouraging
advances in technology. At the same time people are less active and
likely to take
initiatives because they lack autonomy and
fear deprecations [29].
Finally, male dominated societies, in which the acquisition of material goods and
the achievement of work goals are of great importance focus on financial growth,
competitiveness and technology [37]. The U.S.A is considered a relatively more
masculine society (MAS 62) compared to Greece (MAS 57) [37]. Hence, the following
research hypothesis is formulated:
H1: Corporate websites in the USA will employ web 2.0 technologies for the
promotion of products or services to a greater extent than corporate websites in
3.2. The Adoption of Social Media Depending on the Type of Company
Social networking environments have become significant and supportive for both
B2C and B2B markets [41]. A lot of researchers support that social media are of
great influence and importance to B2C companies [42] [43] [44] [45]. However, there
are several researchers who claim that these new media are also very effective and
efficient as cooperation and communication tools of B2B companies [46] [47] [48].
To date, there are few studies on the adoption of social media depending on the
market the companies address [49] [50] [51]. They have been conducted by
companies and do not observe significant differences between B2B and B2C
companies. The small differences between B2B and B2C companies in the adoption
of the new media for marketing purposes may be mainly due to the fact that the
theories on consumer and industrial marketing converge to a great extent [52].
Nonetheless, perhaps B2C companies put greater emphasis on the use of the
social media and web 2.0 tools that focus on the user. According to a study
conducted by the Association of National Advertisers and B2B Magazine [53], only
10% of marketing professionals for Β2Β companies view the social media as effective
communication tools whereas in B2C companies 36% of the marketing professionals
share this view. Moreover, there seems to be a widely-shared belief that especially in
the technology sector, social media are of relevance only to consumer brands [54].
Similarly, while Agresta, Bough and Miletsky [55, pp. 58-61] point out that B2B
companies can and do use social media tools, their research focuses almost entirely
on B2C (sited in Brennan & Croft [56, pp. 102]).
The significance of social media for B2C companies is further supported by Peters
& Salazar [57] and Messerschmitt et al. [58], who claim that social networking sites
were originally developed as sites for the communication and the exchange of views
between individuals and not groups of people, as businesses are considered to be.
They consider that social networking sites target primarily B2C companies and to a
less extent B2B companies. Thus the adoption of social media by B2B companies
remains in its infancy. What is more, according to Li and Bernoff [59], there are not
Β2Β social networks, since individuals and not businesses interact in social
networks and it is thus suggested that B2B companies could benefit from the ideas
of B2C companies that lead the way in the adoption of social media.
Social media can be considered as virtual communities [60] [61] [62]. Virtual
communities are groups of consumers, who are connected and interact with each
other through the web, in order to achieve personal and common goals [63]. Viewing
social media as virtual communities signifies that B2C companies which are already
familiar with the development of virtual communities, will take advantage of the
opportunities the social media and web 2.0 technologies present, in targeting the
user. Thus, the following hypothesis is suggested:
H2a: Web 2.0 technologies that focus on the user (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,
YouTube, Flickr, Tagging) are more likely to be used by B2C companies rather than
B2B companies.
On the other hand Β2Β companies, compared to B2C companies, show an increased
tendency towards the use of blogs, podcasts and the media in general that focus
mainly on the content and not on the users [49] [50] [51] [53]. This may be due to
the fact that most buying decisions on Β2Β products may be considered as high
involvement purchases, as opposed to buying decisions on Β2C products and the
purchase of industrial products entails great risk, without this always being true
On a related theme, Brennan and Croft [56] examined whether social media
could be used to facilitate the development of trusting relationships between buyers
and sellers. They claim that “in business-to-business sectors the audience for social
media conversations is invariably small, with many of the parties involved known
personally to each other. Such social media conversations reduce perceived risk
when buyers and sellers are at an early stage of their business relationship” (p. 111).
Therefore, B2B companies may use web 2.0 tools that focus on the content in order
to give customers more information about the products/services and in this way
reduce the perceived risk entailed in their buying decision.
Social media could also be used as a significant component of a brand strategy in
high-technology B2B markets. This could be achieved by building knowledge
leadership through a sustained application of social media, particularly the use of
content-rich materials such as white papers, blogs and podcasts [56]. It appears
that the more innovative users of B2B social media are striving to position
themselves as experts and seeking to influence the direction in which markets evolve
by providing content-rich social media material.
Moreover, there is a dominant view that B2B companies use social media and
other types of web 2.0 technologies within their companies, for inner purposes too
(internal communication and cooperation of staff) [65]. Tsimonis and Dimitriadis [66]
claim that a firm’s overall social media presence may result among others in the
company revising its strategy in terms of “internal factors” and adjusting its current
social media activities or designing new ones. However, the present study focuses on
web 2.0 technologies that address the general public for marketing and promotional
purposes and therefore does not take into account the media that companies may
use for internal purposes. Hence, the following hypothesis is suggested:
H2b: Web 2.0 technologies that focus on content (Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis, RSS) are
more likely to be employed by B2B companies than B2C companies.
3.3. The Adoption of Social Media Depending on the Technological Level of
Firms vary in their timing of innovation adoption and could be classified as, early
adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards [26]. Organizations that are
innovators or early adopters seek to realize competitive advantages or gain
capabilities and are more likely to be driven by efficiency and profit gains [67]. High-
tech companies present incredible ingenuity and innovation indicators, as well as
high rates of adoption of innovations [68]. Regarding the adoption of social media by
businesses, previous research indicated that while many companies viewed
positively the web 2.0 as a new phase in the evolution of the web, others simply
rejected it as a new high-tech trend of the era [11].
Bughin and Manyika [69], recorded a trend in the vast majority of high-tech firms
(74%) to invest in web 2.0 technologies. In industries such as telecommunications
and pharmaceuticals the rate is 70% and 53% respectively. Indeed, the adoption of
web 2.0 is more prevalent in high technology companies, telecommunications and
mass media [70]. For instance, technology companies such as Oracle and Cisco have
themselves spearheaded new Web 2.0 business models [71], as well as enabling the
whole social media phenomenon to develop through incremental improvements in
connectivity [56]. Additionally, Bughin, Chui and Miller [72] argue that high-tech
companies, compared to more traditional companies are more likely to report
measurable benefits from using web 2.0 in all fields.
In their study of the adoption of social media among the fastest growing small
companies (Inc. 500) in the U.S.A, Barnes and Jacobsen [13] indicate that these
companies are innovators utilizing all new communications tools to help their
business to continue to grow and thrive and have developed their own channels to
share information with their customers and with other businesses due to the fact
that they have the ability to think differently, and let the tools work for them. In a
similar vein, Kelleher's research [73] found that high-tech companies consider their
blogs as key tactics of their communication strategy, unlike traditional companies.
Furthermore, Davidson and Vaast [74] suggest that it is mainly high-tech industries
that create the fast-growing world of technology blogs. Thus the following hypothesis
is developed:
Η3: Web 2.0 technologies are more likely to be used by high-tech companies than
traditional companies.
4. Methodology
4.1. Sample
Content analysis was employed in order to test the research hypotheses. Content
analysis forms a scientific, objective, systematic, quantitative and generalized
description of communications content [75]. Two discrete cultural environments
(USA and Greece) form the context of the study based on Hofstede's [9] cultural
dimensions that specify Greece and the United States of America as two countries
with significant cultural differences.
Two samples were generated by the best practice companies in the USA and
Greece. The sampling frame used the "Fortune 500" in 2012 for USA, and "Strongest
Companies in Greece" publicized by the ICAP Group in 2010
for Greece. The best
250 companies in the ranking list "Fortune 500" were sampled in the USA [76]
( 2012) and the best 265 companies from the list "Strongest
Companies” were sampled in Greece. The list of "Fortune 500" includes the largest
companies in America according to the annual revenues and profits they have and
are the building blocks of the U.S. economy. The "Strongest Companies in Greece" is
the community of businesses operating in Greece and have been highly rated based
on the evaluation ICAP Rating Score. The best companies in both lists were opted for
instead of a random sample by both environments as the study’s objective was to
monitor the use and adoption of web 2.0 tools by the best practice companies.
4.2. Coders
Corporate websites of the samples were randomly assigned to two researchers,
graduates of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, aged 25 and 26 years old. They
were trained over a week, through the analysis of 50 corporate websites and were
handed written instructions as a reference point. Emphasis was given on the
identification of the research variables in the corporate websites and the
comprehension of the classification systems of the companies used in this research
(B2C, B2Β, B2C & B2B; traditional, medium-tech and high tech). Reliability among
researchers was at 0.89 on average.
4.3. Procedure
To avoid the complexity of corporate legal structures, the research focuses on the
corporate level and each partner website was the unit of analysis (n = 515). With
respect to the Greek sample of companies, the study focused on the companies that
have a country specific website (a website that is written in Greek). The two
researchers visited the corporate websites between November 29th and December
19th, 2012 and analyzed 250 corporate websites from the USA and 265 from
It should also be noted that the present study focuses on the use of social media
that address the general public. There is evidence for the use of web 2.0 tools within
large companies that do not intend to involve the public, but these are impossible to
identify through the web content analysis.
In order to identify the variables of the study (Blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,
YouTube, Flickr, RSS, Podcast, Wiki, Tagging) the researchers followed a
Data for 2012 was not available. The closest year with available data was 2010.
predetermined process [77]. First, corporate websites (the analysis focused
primarily on the home page and links to the main menu of every corporate website)
were examined for links with, or references to the web 2.0 tools under study.
Second, each site map was examined in order to record any reference to the
variables being analyzed. Third, in the websites where internal search was possible
research was performed using each variable as the keyword. Otherwise, the Google
advanced search for each corporate website with each variable as the keyword was
The results of the searches performed, were evaluated according to the following
established criteria. If the research variable was not detected by any of the above
steps, then the company was recorded as not making use of the variable. For the
purpose of the study a blog was considered active if it had a new post during the last
twelve months. With respect to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, pages were
considered active as long as any activity was recorded within the last six months.
5. Results and Discussion
Results on the use of all ten web 2.0 tools studied reveal statistically significant
differences between the U.S.Α and Greece, thus confirming the first hypothesis of
the study.
Table 1. The use of Web 2.0 tools in corporate websites in the U.S.A, compared to Greece
% (250)
% (265)
Blog 35.6***
Twitter 66.4***
Facebook 60.0***
LinkedIn 18.4***
YouTube 53.2***
Flickr 18.8***
RSS 82.8***
Podcast 48.8***
Wiki 7.2***
Tagging 12.0***
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001
More specifically, 35.6% of corporate websites in the United States use blogs,
compared to only 3.4% of corporate websites in Greece (X2 = 86.585, df = 1, p =
.000) (Table 1). In terms of the use of Twitter an even greater difference was
recorded, 66.4% in the U.S. as opposed to a mere 5.3% in Greece (X2 = 211.349, df
= 1, p = .000). Moreover, although one would expect a relatively high rate for the use
of Facebook by corporate websites in Greece, the figure only amounts to 10.2%
whereas in U.S.A the respective figure is 60% (X2 = 141.501, df = 1, p = .000). The
use of blogs, Twitter and Facebook in the U.S. sample follows the pattern (blogs
(23%), Twitter (60%), Facebook (56%)) identified in Barnes’ study (2010) of the top
corporations listed in Fortune 500. Differences in rates could be attributed to the
ranking of companies concerning the adoption of these media, as the first companies
in ranking are also the pioneers in the use of web 2.0 technologies [77].
Table 2. Comparison between the use of Web 2.0 tools in corporate sites in the U.S.A and that in Greece,
according to the market they address
U.S.A. (250) Greece (265)
B2C %(96) B2B
B2C %(66) B2B
Blog 37.5
Twitter 74.0*
Facebook 70.8***
LinkedIn 16.7
YouTube 55.2
Flickr 20.8
RSS 85.4
Podcast 34.4
Wiki 3.1
Tagging 12.6
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001
The professional social networking site LinkedIn, is used by 18.4% of corporate
websites in the U.S. but just one corporate website in Greece (0.4%) (X2 = 50.383, df
= 1, p = .000). YouTube presents the highest percentage of use in Greece, which is
approximately 11.7%, however, it falls short of the respective rate (53.2%) in the
U.S.A (X2 = 102.089, df = 1, p = .000). The use of Flickr in America presents an
18.8% rate, while in Greece Flickr was not employed by any corporate site (X2 =
54.823, df = 1, p = .000). The use of RSS feeds holds the highest rate (82.8%) of use
in the U.S.A among the web 2.0 tools studied, as most corporations employ them for
staying informed and communicating with investors. The respective rate in Greece is
only 6.4% (X2 = 305.399, df = 1, p = .000). The findings indicate a significant
difference among the use of podcasts in the U.S.A and Greece (48.8% and 5.7%
respectively) (X2 = 122.612, df = 1, p = .000). Wikis were not recorded in any
corporate website in Greece. However, Wikis represent a low rate of use (7.2%)
compared to the other web 2.0 tools (X2 = 19.771, df = 1, p = .000) even in the USA.
This may be due to the fact that these cooperative tools are used primarily for
internal purposes, such as internal communication and knowledge management
that does not fall within the scope of this study. Finally, tagging services represent
12% and 1.9% of all the web 2.0 tools used in the USA and Greece respectively (X2
= 20.771, df = 1, p = .000).
User oriented web 2.0 technologies are mainly used by B2C corporations.
Significant differences in the use of Facebook and Twitter were identified among B2C
and all other types of companies considered in the study both in the USA and
Greece, thus confirming Hypothesis 2a. In the U.S.A Twitter was used by 74% of
B2C companies, 40.9% of B2B and 62.5% of B2C&B2B companies (X2 = 7.871, df =
2, p = .020). Facebook was used by 70.8% of B2C companies, 40.9% of B2B and
62.5% of B2C&B2B companies (X2 = 14.946, df = 2, p = .001) (table 2).
In Greece, the rate of use for Twitter was 13.6% for B2C companies, 1.8% for B2B
and 5.9% for B2C&B2B companies (X2 = 13.187, df = 2, p = .001). Following a
similar trend, 24.2% of B2C companies in Greece use Facebook, as opposed to just
1.8% of B2B and 5.9% of B2C&B2B companies (X2 = 22.745, df = 2, p = .000 ).
Moreover, in Greece the use of YouTube shows statistically significant differences
between B2C, B2B&B2C and B2B companies, as 22.7% of B2C companies use
YouTube, 7.3% of B2B and 11.8% of B2C&B2B.
Table 3. Comparison between the use of Web 2.0 tools in corporate sites in the U.S.A and that in Greece,
related to the technological level of companies.
U.S.A. (250) Greece (265)
Traditional Medium
Traditional Medium
Blog 29.9
Twitter 63.2
Facebook 58.0
LinkedIn 13.8
YouTube 47.1
Flickr 13.2
RSS 79.9
Podcast 39.7
Wiki 1.7
Tagging 6.4
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001
With respect to the use of podcasts and wikis significant differences were
observed only in the USA (Hypothesis 2b is supported only in the USA). Both
podcasts and wikis were used in most corporate websites of B2C and B2B
companies with rates 64.8% and 13.6% respectively.
High-tech companies seem to pioneer in the use of web 2.0 tools in both cultural
environments. Hypothesis 3 is verified for blogs and podcasts both in the U.S. and
Greece, for LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, wikis and tagging services in the USA alone
and for Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds only in Greece.
In the USA, the use of blogs by high-tech companies is 53.7%, while by
traditional companies is 29.9% and by medium-tech companies is 36.4% (X2 =
10.204, df = 2, p = .006) (table 3). The corresponding figures for Greece are 14.3%
for high-tech companies, 2.5% for traditional companies and 11.1% for medium-tech
companies (X2 = 7.313, df = 2, p = .026). High-tech companies have a head start in
the use of podcasts as well. In the U.S. 74.1% of high-tech companies, 59.1% of
medium-tech companies and 39.7% of traditional companies use podcasts (X2 =
20.562, df = 2, p = .000). In Greece, the use of podcasts are 23.1% for high-tech
companies, 5% for traditional companies and are not used at all by medium-tech
companies (X2 = 7.282, df = 2, p = .026).
Service tagging, in the U.S.A, represents 31.5% in high technology companies,
but only 9.1% in medium-tech companies and 6.4% in traditional ones (X2 =
24.897, df = 2, p = .000). Tagging services though in Greece, are used primarily by
medium-tech companies (22.2%). High-tech companies indicate a significantly lower
rate of use (7.1%) and traditional companies report less than 1% of use (X2 =
12.633, df = 2, p = .002).
The use of Twitter, Facebook and RSS indicated statistically significant
differences only in Greece. The, highest rate of use for Twitter (22.2%) was recorded
in medium-tech companies, followed by high-tech companies (21.4%) and traditional
companies with a low 3.7% (X2 = 13.637, df = 2, p =. 001). Facebook was used by all
types of companies (28.6% for high-tech, 22.2% for medium-tech and 8.7% for
traditional companies) (X2 = 7.198, df = 2, p = .027). Similarly, the use of RSS feeds
was 28.6% for high-tech companies, 11.1% for medium-tech and 5% for the
traditional ones (X2 = 12.633, df = 2, p = .002).
LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and wikis indicated statistically significant differences
only in the USA (table 3). In particular, the rate of use of LinkedIn was 29.6% for
high-tech, 27.3% for medium-tech and 13.8% for traditional companies (X2 = 8.149,
df = 2, p = .017). YouTube was used by 74.1% of high-tech companies, 50% of
medium-tech and 47.1% of traditional ones (X2 = 12.119, df = 2, p = .002). In Flickr,
the corresponding rate of use was 33.3%, 27.3% and 13.2% for high-tech, of
medium-tech and traditional ones (X2 = 12.057, df = 2, p = .002). Finally, wikis
displayed a wide margin of use (24.1%) in high-tech companies, followed by 9.1% in
medium-tech companies and only 1.7% in traditional companies (X2 = 30.938, df =
2, p = .000).
6. Conclusions
The study provides empirical evidence of cultural differences reflected in the use
of web 2.0 tools based on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions (individualism,
collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and masculinity/femininity).
The analysis of over 500 corporations across the two cultures (the USA and Greece)
indicates that the use of social media for communication purposes by corporations
is not culturally neutral, but culture-bound. Such findings are consistent with
previous cross-cultural research on consumer-generated brand communities in
social networking [78] and internet usage patterns [35] [79].
The USA being characterized as an individualistic society that largely tolerates
the existence of ambiguity and uncertainty, has relatively low distance from power
and is a relatively masculine society, seems to adopt innovations at a fast pace.
According to the results of the survey, the USA shows significantly high rates of use
for the majority of research web 2.0 tools. Also, as the companies studied were
among the largest both in the USA and worldwide, it could be argued that this
foreshadows a trend that will most likely be followed by other companies in the
On the other hand, it seems that Greece, being characterized a collective society
that avoids uncertain and unstructured situations, has relatively high distance from
power and is a less masculine society than the U.S., is at the infancy of social
media use. According to the results of the survey, Greece has very low rates of use
for all the web 2.0 tools studied, while it seems that Flickr and wikis are not used at
all. Greek entrepreneurs seem to have not benefited yet from the opportunities for
interactive communication and promotion, offered by such tools, mainly due to their
fear of losing control.
Indeed, the new social media signify liberation, empowerment and
interconnectivity for consumers. Nowadays, consumers define their own image for
companies and brands, often at odds with the image the companies themselves want
to promote. This sudden upsurge of people, who use web 2.0 technologies in order to
get what they desire from each other, rather than from companies, shifts the
balance of power from companies to the consumers [80].
Additionally, B2C companies appear to be active in developing social networks
and expanded virtual communities mainly through Twitter and Facebook. Thus, it is
suggested that several companies have become aware of the change in market
structure, where consumers create active communities/tribes and actively
participate in discussions (word-of-mouth) via online communication channels.
Therefore, not only B2C but also B2B companies are obliged to recognize the power
of social media, and the new approach to relationship marketing and tribal
High-tech companies are forerunners on the use of web 2.0 technology. They
seem to adopt innovation at a faster pace compared to traditional companies. The
use of these media primarily by high-tech companies reveals a trend expected to
prevail in the future. Many companies are regarding consumers not only as co-
creators of value and meaning, but also as co-producers. They have turned to social
media as environments of innovation and ingenuity and involved consumers in
activities that up until recently were at the exclusive jurisdiction and control of
Finally, the findings of this study seem to contradict ideas that support the
development of an online virtual culture, one that challenges traditional cultural
boundaries and promotes a community powered by the ability to communicate and
share ideas globally [81] [82] [83] [84]. However, scholars suggest that organizations
with significant social media adoption have a global strategy approach that
combines global connectivity with local cultural differences [85] [86].
7. Managerial Implications
Many companies are attracted by web 2.0 tools and the benefits of their prudent and
proper use. Hence they focus on immediate adoption for marketing communication
purposes and value adding activities. On the other hand, many companies recognize
the prevailing potential of the new media and the active and empowered role of
consumers, but have no idea how to turn this consumer power to their own
advantage. Behind all this lurks a cultural issue, the acceptance of the shift in the
balance of power from companies to consumers [80]. This is a significant initial step
for companies, especially Greek ones, in order to remain competitive and successful
in the new environment.
In the age of social media, consumers with greater access to information and
dominance in media consumption are in control [87]. Companies that continue to
ignore the social media cannot overturn or evade this reality. On the contrary, they
risk losing the new generation of consumers who express their strong predilection to
social media, together with the potential possibilities and prospects that stem from
these tools for any corporation.
Companies and more specifically marketing professionals should disregard the
time when they had complete control of marketing activities and were not interacting
with consumers, as getting feedback from consumers was almost impossible. In a
“listening economy”, as defined by Smith [88, pp.560], companies that are
indifferent for their surroundings and do not listen to their customers and
stakeholders, will become laggards. The act of listening on the part of the company
becomes an essential component of any business model that refers to marketing
communications, the development of products and services and customer
8. Directions for Future Research and Limitations
The increased popularity of the social media on a global basis and the speed and
magnitude of the development and influence of these tools have prompted ardent
research interest in understanding the science behind social media and exploring
the utility and opportunities they have for various business activities such as
Similar studies on the adoption of social media in various countries could help
highlight the significance of these tools in the development of these business
environments. Cross-cultural studies on the use of social media are to date very
limited, even though the results of research so far indicate that cultural differences
seem to play a vital role in the adoption of these tools.
Additionally, the ways in which companies use social media are an interesting
direction for future research. The present study has not focused on specific uses of
social media by companies, but only on the extent to which media, that address the
general public are adopted. Hence, empirical and theoretical studies aimed at
extending knowledge about the ways in which companies and consumers use social
media as well as their potential uses in the future would be accommodating.
Finally a number of limitations constrain generalizability of the findings of this
study. A major limitation originates from the inherent dynamic nature of the web.
The corporate websites that were studied, as expected, are dynamic and constantly
updated. This, combined with the rapid growth and penetration of new social media,
could lead to results that, in a short time, may become obsolete.
Additionally, as pointed out, the study focused on identifying research web 2.0
tools that address the general public. However, many companies could make use of
these tools within their internal environments or in networks with limited access.
These were not accommodated in this study.
[1] Kietzmann, J.H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I.P. & Silvestre, B.S. 2011, "Social
media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social
media", Business Horizons, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 241-251.
[2] Hanna, R., Rohm, A. & Crittenden, V.L. 2011, "We’re all connected: The power of
the social media ecosystem", Business horizons, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 265-273.
[3] Bernoff, J. & Schadler, T. (eds) 2010, Empowered: Unleash Your Employees,
Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business, 1st edn, Harvard
Business Review Press, United States.
[4] Solis, B. (ed) 2010, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to
Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, 1st edn, John Wiley &
Sons, New York.
[5] Ribière, V.M., Haddad, M. & Wiele, P.V. 2010, "The impact of national culture
traits on the usage of web 2.0 technologies", VINE, vol. 40, no. 3/4, pp. 334-361.
[6] Lim, S. & Palacios-Marques, D. 2011, "Culture and purpose of Web 2.0 service
adoption: a study in the USA, Korea and Spain", The Service Industries Journal,
vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 123-131.
[7] Yong Gu, J., Hwangbo, H., Ji, S.Y., Rau, P.L.P., Fang, X. & Ling, C. 2010, "The
Influence of Cultural Differences on the Use of Social Network Services and the
Formation of Social Capital", International Journal of Human-Computer
Interaction, vol. 26, no. 11, pp. 1100-1121.
[8] Kim, Y., Sohn, D. & Choi, S.M. 2011, "Cultural difference in motivations for
using social network sites: A comparative study of American and Korean college
students", Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 365-372.
[9] Hofstede, G. (ed) 1980, Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in
Work-related Values, 1st edn, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills.
[10] Chakravorti, B. 2010, "Stakeholder Marketing 2.0", Journal of Public Policy &
Marketing, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 97-102.
[11] Constantinides, E. & Fountain, S.J. 2008, "Web 2.0: Conceptual foundations
and marketing issues", Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice,
vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 231-244.
[12] Damanpour, F. & Gopalakrishnan, S. 1998, "Theories of organizational structure
and innovation adoption: the role of environmental change", Journal of
Engineering and Technology Management, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 1-24.
[13] Barnes, N.G. & Jacobsen, S. 2013, "Adoption of Social Media by Fast-Growing
Companies: Innovation Among the Inc. 500", Journal of Marketing Development
& Competitiveness, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 11-17.
[14] Mulhern, F. 2009, "Integrated marketing communications: From media channels
to digital connectivity", Journal of Marketing Communications, vol. 15, no. 2, pp.
[15] Mangold, W.G. & Faulds, D.J. 2009, "Social media: The new hybrid element of
the promotion mix", Business horizons, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 357-365.
[16] Muñiz, A.M. & Schau, H.J. 2007, "Vigilante Marketing and Consumer-Created
Communications", Journal of Advertising, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 35-50.
[17] Kavoura, A. 2014, "Social media, online imagined communities and
communication research", Library Review, vol. 63, no. 6/7, pp. 490-504.
[18] Muñiz, A.M. & Schau, H.J. 2011, "How to inspire value-laden collaborative
consumer-generated content", Business horizons, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 209-217.
[19] Edelman, D.C. 2010, "Branding in the Digital Age: You’re spending your money
in all the wrong places", Harvard Business Review, vol. 88, no. 12, pp. 62-69.
[20] Kaplan, A.M. & Haenlein, M. 2010, "Users of the world, unite! The challenges
and opportunities of Social Media", Business horizons, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 59-68.
[21] Danias, K. & Kavoura, A. 2013, "The role of social media as a tool of a company's
innovative communication activities", The Malopolska School of Economics in
Tarnow Research Papers Collection, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 75-83.
[22] Kavoura, A. & Stavrianea, A. 2014, "Economic and social aspects from social
media's implementation as a strategic innovative marketing tool in the tourism
industry", Procedia Economics and Finance, 14, 303-312.
[23] Berthon, P.R., Pitt, L.F., McCarthy, I. & Kates, S.M. 2007, "When customers get
clever: Managerial approaches to dealing with creative consumers", Business
horizons, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 39-47.
[24] Kitchen, P.J. & Panopoulos, A. 2010, "Online public relations: The adoption
process and innovation challenge, a Greek example", Public Relations Review,
vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 222-229.
[25] Carrero, M. 2009, "Innovation for the Web 2.0 Era", Computer, vol. 42, no. 11,
pp. 96-98.
[26] Rogers, E.M. (ed) 1995, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th edn, The Free Press, New
[27] Steers, R.M., Meyer, A.D. & Sanchez-Runde, C. 2008, "National culture and the
adoption of new technologies", Journal of World Business, vol. 43, no. 3, pp.
[28] Vitkauskaite, E. 2011, "Cultural Adaptation Issues in Social Networking Sites",
Economics & Management, vol. 16, pp. 1348-1355.
[29] Tsatsou, P. 2012, "The Role of Social Culture in Internet Adoption in Greece:
Unpacking “I Don't Want to Use the Internet” and Frequency of Use",
Information Society, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 174-188.
[30] Hall, E.T. (ed) 1976, Beyond Culture, Anchor Books, New York.
[31] Schwartz, S.H. 1992, "Universals in the content and structure of values:
Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries", Advances in
experimental social psychology, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 1-65.
[32] Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (eds) 1997, Riding the Waves of
Culture, 2nd edn, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London.
[33] Kirkman, B.L., Lowe, K.B. & Gibson, C.B. 2006, "A quarter century of “Culture’s
Consequences”: A review of empirical research incorporating Hofstede’s cultural
values framework", Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 37, no. 3, pp.
[34] Robbins, S.S. & Stylianou, A.C. 2010, "A longitudinal study of cultural
differences in global corporate web sites", Journal of International Business and
Cultural Studies, vol. 3, pp. 77-96.
[35] Burgmann, I., Kitchen, P.J. & Williams, R. 2006, "Does culture matter on the
web?", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 62-76.
[36] Soares, A.M., Farhangmehr, M. & Shoham, A. 2007, "Hofstede's dimensions of
culture in international marketing studies", Journal of Business Research, vol.
60, no. 3, pp. 277-284.
[37] Hofstede, G. (ed) 2001, Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors,
institutions, and organizations across nations, 2nd edn, Sage Publications,
Thousand Oaks.
[38] Shane, S. 1995, "Uncertainty Avoidance and the Preference for Innovation
Championing Roles", Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 26, no. 1,
pp. 47-68.
[39] Krishnamurthy, S. & Dou, W. 2010, "Note from special issue editors: advertising
with user generated content: a framework and research agenda", Journal of
Interactive Advertising, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 1-4.
[40] Taylor, M.Z. & Wilson, S. 2012, "Does culture still matter?: The effects of
individualism on national innovation rates", Journal of Business Venturing, vol.
27, no. 2, pp. 234-247.
[41] Cooke, M. & Macfarlane, P. 2009, "Training the next generation of market
researchers", International Journal of Market Research, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 341-
[42] Leitner, P. & Grechenig, T. 2009, "Scalable Social Software Services: Towards a
Shopping Community Model Based on Analyses of Established Web Service
Components and Functions", 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System
SciencesIEEE Computer Society Press, Washington, DC, pp. 1.
[43] Leitner, P. & Grechenig, T. 2007, "Next Generation Shopping: Case Study
Research on Future E-Commerce Models", IADIS International Conference e-
CommerceAlgarve, Portugal, pp. 312.
[44] Sigala, M. 2009, "E-service quality and Web 2.0: expanding quality models to
include customer participation and inter-customer support", The Service
Industries Journal, vol. 29, no. 10, pp. 1341-1358.
[45] Rose, S., Hair, N. & Clark, M. 2011, "Online Customer Experience: A Review of
the Business-to-Consumer Online Purchase Context", International Journal of
Management Reviews, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 24-39.
[46] Ferguson, R. 2009, "The consumer inside: at its heart, all marketing speaks to
human beings", Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 214-218.
[47] Goh Chong Minsk, Lee Siew Poh, He Wei & Tan Puay Siew 2007, "Web 2.0
concepts and technologies for dynamic B2B integration", Emerging Technologies
and Factory Automation, 2007. ETFA. IEEE Conference on, pp. 315.
[48] Gummesson, E. & Polese, F. 2009, "B2B is not an island!", Journal of Business
& Industrial Marketing, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 337-350.
[49] White Horse 2010, B2B Marketing Goes Social: A White Horse Survey Report,
White Horse.
[50] Moorman, C. & Finch, T.A. 2010, The CMO Survey, The Duke University Fuqua
School of Business; American Marketing Association.
[51] Hanna, B. 2009, 2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study,,
[52] Arnould, E.J. & Thompson, C.J. 2005, "Consumer culture theory (CCT): twenty
years of research", Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 868-882.
[53] Association of National Advertisers & B2B Magazine 2007, Harnessing the Power
of New Media Platforms, Guideline.
[54] Weber, L. (ed) 2007, Marketing to the social web: How digital customer
communities build your business, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
[55] Agresta, S., Bough, B.B. & Miletsky, J.I. (eds) 2011, Perspectives on Social Media
Marketing, Course Technology, Boston, MA.
[56] Brennan, R. & Croft, R. 2012, "The use of social media in B2B marketing and
branding: An exploratory study", Journal of Customer Behaviour, vol. 11, no. 2,
pp. 101-115.
[57] Peters, A. & Salazar, D. 2010, "Globalization in Marketing: An Empirical
Analysis of Business Adoption and Use of Social Network Sites", AMCIS 2010
ProceedingsAISeL,, pp. 1.
[58] Messerschmitt, D.G., Peltonen, J., Laine, M.O.J. & Oza, N. 2008, Community
Networked Services: learning from Web 2.0, Helsinki University of Technology,
Software Business Laboratory, Finland.
[59] Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (eds) 2008, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by
Social Technologies, 1st edn, Harvard Business School Press Books, Boston.
[60] Bih-Ru Lea, Wen-Bin Yu, Maguluru, N. & Nichols, M. 2006, "Enhancing
business networks using social network based virtual communities", Industrial
Management & Data Systems, vol. 106, no. 1, pp. 121-138.
[61] Dwyer, P. 2007, "Measuring the value of electronic word of mouth and its impact
in consumer communities", Journal of Interactive Marketing (John Wiley &
Sons), vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 63-79.
[62] Wellman, B. & Gulia, M. 1999, "Net-surfers Don’t Ride Alone: Virtual
Communities as Communities" in Networks in the Global Village: Life in
Contemporary Communities, ed. B. Wellman, 1st edn, Westview, Boulder, CO,
pp. 331-366.
[63] Dholakia, U.M., Bagozzi, R.P. & Pearo, L.K. 2004, "A social influence model of
consumer participation in network- and small-group-based virtual
communities", International Journal of Research in Marketing, vol. 21, no. 3, pp.
[64] Lohtia, R., Donthu, N. & Hershberger, E.K. 2003, "The Impact of Content and
Design Elements on Banner Advertising Click-through Rates", Journal of
Advertising Research, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 410-418.
[65] Safko, L. & Brake, D.K. (eds) 2009, The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and
Strategies for Business Success, 1st edn, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
[66] Tsimonis, G., & Dimitriadis, S. 2014, "Brand strategies in social media",
Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 328-344.
[67] Perrigot, R., Kacker, M., Basset, G. & Cliquet, G. 2012, "Antecedents of Early
Adoption and Use of Social Media Networks for Stakeholder Communications:
Evidence from Franchising* Antecedents of Early Adoption and Use of Social
Media Networks for Stakeholder Communications: Evidence from Franchising",
Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 539-565.
[68] McAfee, A. (ed) 2009, Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your
Organization's Toughest Challenges, 1st edn, Harvard Business School Press
Books, Boston.
[69] Bughin, J. & Manyika, J. 2007, How Businesses are Using Web 2.0: A McKinsey
Global Survey, The McKinsey Quarterly, San Francisco.
[70] Bughin, J. 2008, "The rise of enterprise 2.0", Journal of Direct, Data and Digital
Marketing Practice, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 251-259.
[71] Williams, A.D. & Tapscott, D. (eds) 2006, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration
Changes Everything, Portfolio, New York.
[72] Bughin, J., Chui, M. & Miller, A. 2009, How companies are benefiting from
Web 2.0: McKinsey Global Survey Results, The McKinsey Quarterly, San
[73] Kelleher, T. 2008, "Organizational contingencies, organizational blogs and public
relations practitioner stance toward publics", Public Relations Review, vol. 34,
no. 3, pp. 300-302.
[74] Davidson, E. & Vaast, E. 2009, "Tech Talk: An Investigation of Blogging in
Technology Innovation Discourse", IEEE Transactions on Professional
Communication, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 40-60.
[75] Kassarjian, H.H. 1977, "Content Analysis in Consumer Research", Journal of
Consumer Research, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 8-18.
[76] , Fortune 500 2012 [Homepage of Time Ink.], [Online]. Available: [2012, 9/8].
[77] Barnes, N.G. 2010, The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of
Blogging, Twitter and Facebook Usage by America’s Largest Companies, Center
for Marketing Research, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
[78] Ahn, H., Min, W.K. & Sung, Y. 2010, "Online Brand Community across
Cultures", International Journal of e-Business Management, vol. 4, no. 1, pp.
[79] Zahir, S., Dobring, B. & Hunter, M.G. 2002, "Cross-cultural dimensions of
Internet portals", Internet Research, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 210.
[80] Bernoff, J. & Li, C. 2008, "Harnessing the Power of the Oh-So-Social Web", MIT
Sloan Management Review, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 36-42.
[81] Johnston, K. & Johal, P. 1999, "The Internet as a “virtual cultural region”: are
extant cultural classification schemes appropriate?", Internet Research, vol. 9,
no. 3, pp. 178-186.
[82] Shuter, R. 2011, "Introduction: New Media Across Cultures—Prospect and
Promise", Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, vol. 4, no.
4, pp. 241-245.
[83] Willson, M. 2010, "Technology, Networks and Communities", Information,
Communication & Society, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 747-764.
[84] Smith Pfister, D. & Soliz, J. 2011, "(Re)conceptualizing Intercultural
Communication in a Networked Society", Journal of International and
Intercultural Communication, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 246-251.
[85] Waters, R.D. & Lo, K.D. 2012, "Exploring the Impact of Culture in the Social
Media Sphere: A Content Analysis of Nonprofit Organizations’ Use of Facebook",
Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 297-319.
[86] Stelzner, M.A. 2011, 2011 Social media marketing industry report. How
Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses, Social Media
[87] Vollmer, C. & Precourt, G. (eds) 2008, Always On: Advertising, Marketing, and
Media in an Era of Consumer Control, McGraw Hill Professional, New York.
[88] Smith, T. 2009, "The social media revolution", International Journal of Market
Research, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 559-561.
... According to Wang & Huberman (2012) in parallel with the rapid developments in social media, technology, and internet networks, it continues to spread by expanding its usage area day by day. Today, social media has brought many innovations within the interaction of individuals also businesses, resulting in a unique change in the field of communication (Patrick & Dostsika, 2007Constantinides et al. 2011Zotos et al. 2014;Roberts et al. 2016;Appel et al. 2020). These new media are increasingly attracting the attention of businesses, institutions, communities, and individuals, with the ability of virtual communities to facilitate collaboration and provide a productive environment for mutual sharing and interaction (Goh et al. 2013). ...
Social media networks, besides being an area where users communicate and share with each other, have become one of the important promotion activities of businesses. Businesses are trying to influence the purchasing behavior of consumers by using the advertising element effectively in social media networks. Hedonic and impulse buying behaviors can be expressed as important buying behaviors that are becoming increasingly widespread among consumers today. This study, focused on investigating the correlation among that despite the growing prevalence of digital technological developments, social media advertising which has seen little work done in scientific journals the impulse buying and hedonic buying behavior that has become a common phenomenon in the purchasing decision process. In this context, it is thought that the findings will contribute to the relevant literature. The data within the extent of the study were obtained by applying the survey method. In total, 992 survey data were obtained. The result, it is concluded that social media ads have a positive predictive effect on impulse and hedonic buying behavior. In addition, the partial mediation effect of hedonic buying behavior has been determined in this relationship.
... In another study, Marinakou, Giousmpasoglou, & Paliktzoglou (2015), who used social media to examine the potential impact of cultural centers on the development of Bahrain cultural tourism, concluded that people used Tripadvisor to gather information about Bahrain and to share their experiences with others. Chatzithomas et al. (2014) applied content analysis to the websites of the most powerful companies in the USA and Greece to make cross-cultural comparisons of issues and trends in the use of social media advertising techniques. The findings indicated that USA advertisers tended to use social media for advertising purposes more frequently than their Greek counterparts. ...
Full-text available
Social media, emerged due to the development of information and communication technologies, has become an integral part of people's lives and they have been making extensive use of it when deciding on any touristic activity. Social media has a very important role in cultural tourism, which is one of the alternative tourism types. People get information about the destination they will go through social media. At the same time, they increase the recognition and awareness of cultural tourism values through social media platforms. In this context, the aim of this study is to examine the use of social media in cultural tourism. Within the scope of the study, social media, social media platforms, the use of social media in cultural tourism are discussed. At the end of the study, various suggestions that will enable the social media to be used more in cultural tourism are given. ÖZ Bilgi ve iletişim teknolojilerinin gelişmesiyle ortaya çıkan sosyal medya, insanların yaşamlarının ayrılmaz bir parçası haline gelmiştir ve kişiler herhangi bir turistik faaliyete karar verirken sosyal medyadan yaygın bir şekilde yararlanmaktadır. Alternatif turizm türlerinden biri olan kültür turizminde sosyal medyanın çok önemli bir yeri vardır. İnsanlar, gidecekleri destinasyon hakkında bilgiyi sosyal medyadan elde etmektedirler. Aynı zamanda sosyal medya platformları aracılığıyla kültür turizmi çekiciliklerinin tanınırlığını ve bilinirliğini artırmaktadırlar. Bu bağlamda çalışmanın amacı, sosyal medyanın kültür turizminde kullanımını incelemektir. Çalışma kapsamında; sosyal medya, sosyal medya platformları, sosyal medyanın kültür turizminde kullanımına ilişkin konular ele alınmıştır. 36 Çalışmanın sonunda ise, sosyal medyanın kültür turizminde daha fazla kullanılmasını sağlayacak çeşitli önerilere yer verilmiştir.
... Marketers who understand the shifting role of consumer social media can use new media platforms as marketing communication platforms (Felix et al., 2017;Herrero & San Martín, 2017). They use social media advertising to inform or influence target consumers of a product or brand (Zotos et al., 2014) and to encourage digital engagement (Voorveld et al., 2018). Marketers have also used social media to develop and maintain customer relationships (Warner-Søderholm et al., 2018), to create customer-based brand equity (A. ...
The goal of this study is to determine the behavior of tourists who use Instagram to discover about local destinations and cuisine in West Sumatra. Instagram, which is the most popular social media among millennials and Generation Z, offers advantages that other social media platforms lack, such as more complex visuals that shape the image and aid individuals interested in gastronomy tourism in West Sumatra Province. The method used in this study is a quantitative survey. This research used a cross-sectional study design, in which data is collected at the same time or period for both independent and dependent variables. The focus of this research is on millennials born between the 1980s and the 1990s. Respondents that use the Instagram social media platform and live outside of West Sumatra province will be sampled for the study. When the visual complexity of the destination image has a CR value of 7.291 (p0.00 ≤ 0,05) and an estimated value of 0.654, Ho is rejected and Ha is accepted, revealing that visual complexity has a positive influence on the destination image. It is well known that the influence of visual complexity on destination image has a CR value of 3.508 (p0.00 ≤ 0,05) with an estimated value of 0.418, showing that Ho is rejected and Ha is accepted, confirming that visual complexity has a positive influence on destination choice. The statistical test findings for hypothesis 3 revealed an estimated parameter value of 0.233, a standard error of 0.114, and a critical ratio value of 1.956 with a probability value of 0.05. With a significance level (alpha) of 0.05, it is possible to conclude that there is insufficient empirically strong evidence to reject Ho, hence Ha is rejected. Therefore, visual complexity increases the image of culinary attractions in West Sumatra. Visual complexity has a significant positive effect on the image of the destination as well as the tourist's destination choice in West Sumatra. Instagram can assist tourists who are considering West Sumatra as a destination for gastrotourism. Keywords: Visual Complexity, Destination Image, Destination Choice, Content Preferences
... From a supply perspective, the influence of culture in website design and content has been highlighted by several studies (Tigre Moura et al., 2016), which have also addressed corporate communication on social media (e.g., Chatzithomas et al., 2014;. For example, research by Riskos et al. (2017) investigates cultural differences in Facebook posts published by British and Greek companies for their respective domestic audience. ...
Full-text available
A lack of cross-cultural research has been identified regarding cultural tourism promotion on social media. Using the dimensions of Collectivism-Individualism, Power Distance, and High-Context vs. Low-Context communication, we content analyze cultural value differences in Instagram posts promoting cultural tourism – published by the national tourism organizations of Chile, Portugal, USA, and Netherlands. In addition, an automated content analysis is conducted using the software LIWC2015 to examine linguistic differences between collectivist and individualist destinations’ posts. Findings show that cultural tourism promotion on Instagram differs across cultures, highlighting the importance of adapting online content when addressing culturally distant markets.
... Various classifications of consumers are given in scientific literature. Previous studies in the field of consumer behaviour created preconditions for determination that there exist differences of consumer behaviour due to cultural and age characteristics (Barnettz et al., 2014;Chatzithomas et al., 2014;Chen et al., 2014;Culnan et al., 2010;Jackson and Wang, 2013;San and Yazdanifard, 2014). However, the latest scientific studies create preconditions for assertion that IT development or globalisation processes associated with Internet development had an impact on consumers and their behaviour becomes similar all around the globe (Barnes et al., 2014). ...
Full-text available
The application of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms is improving everyday tasks worldwide. But while the internet has transformational benefits, it also has its severe drawbacks. Internet infrastructure is extremely expensive and requires large private investment. To profit while giving free access has necessitated the presentation of personalized advertisements. Psychology-based strategies are employed to keep users perpetually engaged, often using emotional or aggressive stimuli that attract attention. Users’ responses and personal data are harvested from multiple sources and analysed through complex statistical algorithms. When hundreds of variables are collected on a person, personality traits, expense patterns, or political beliefs become fairly predictable. This happens because human cognition and emotions evolved for survival in Palaeolithic environments, and certain features are universal. Technology companies sell behaviour prediction models to anyone willing to pay. According to client purposes, users can be prodded to spend money or adopt politically motivated beliefs. Furthermore, smartphone beacons and face recognition technology make it possible to track political activists as well as criminals. Through the use of AI, therefore, tech corporations “design minds” to act as directed and socially engineer societies. Large ethical issues arise, that include privacy concerns, prediction errors, and the empowerment of transnational corporations to profit from directed human activities. As AI becomes part of everyday lives, the internet that intended to bring universal knowledge to the world is unwittingly throwing us back into the Palaeolithic era. Now more than ever, humans ought to become more peaceful and content rather than be driven by ever-increasing emotion-driven contests. This chapter discusses these important issues with the direct or indirect actions that need to be taken to maintain sustainable consumption, world peace, and democratic regimes.
The paper analysed cultural differences to explain ad engagement (AE) among Facebook users in India and Tanzania. It uses Hofstede’s model and theory of planned behaviour to examine the differences in cultural values and AE between the two countries and to evaluate AE and its determinants. The paper used a cross-sectional descriptive design to collect data from 700 students from Indian and Tanzanian universities by using self-administered questionnaires. Data were analysed by using an independent sample t-test, Spearman’s Rank correlation coefficient, Multi-group differences test, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM) methods. These analyses were run in SPSS 20.0 and AMOS 24. The paper confirms cultural convergence for individualism and masculinity values, but significant differences in indulgence and uncertainty avoidance across India and Tanzania were observed. Also, significant differences in AE across the two countries were observed. Moreover, we found that attitude to Facebook advertising, subjective norms and perceived herd behaviour positively determines AE, while perceived intrusiveness determines AE negatively. Indulgence has an insignificant relationship with AE while other cultural values have a significant positive relationship. The paper adopted purposive sampling and limited the scope to Facebook, thus, the findings may lack generalisability to other social media platforms. Hence, multiple-platform ad engagement research is encouraged. The marketing implications from this paper include the development of AE strategies, designing culturally relevant ad content and themes and ad targeting. This paper contributes to the understanding of the relationship between cultural values and users’ engagement with Facebook advertising.
This chapter examines the implementation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as innovative tools and the use of Social Media (SM) by Polish medium and small sized companies. The chapter aims to present the scope and importance of the use of Information Technology (IT) and SM in the process of companies' functioning and management. Presentation of the results of empirical research is another important aim. Companies' assessment of IT tools and SM's effective use as a prerequisite to improve the company performance is also examined. This is an exploratory study based on a sample of 166 southern Polish firms and it adds to the scant literature on firms' internal IT capabilities to support SM. The paper makes a theoretical and practical contribution in that it brings forth the emerging theme of IT resources that small and medium-sized enterprises adapt to their processes. It further examines the SM use from these firms based on the IT technology they implement as a whole. Managerial implications for marketers are provided since findings illustrate the tendency from small and medium-sized Polish companies not to implement ICTs and SM to a full extent and they could further incorporate SM in the firms' advertising and communication campaigns. Limitations and further research are discussed.
Full-text available
In the spirit of this Special Issue theme, we start with the definition of user-generated content (UGC, also called consumer-generated media) offered by Wikipedia, itself a classical example of UGC: "Consumer generated media encompasses opinions, experiences, advice and commentary about products, brands, companies and services-usually informed by personal experience-that exist in consumer-created postings on Internet discussion boards, forums, Usenet newsgroups and blogs. CGM can include text, images, photos, videos, podcasts and other forms of media." User-generated content is omnipresent in e-commerce today, and its rapid growth has created some of the most successful digital brands, such as YouTube and Wikipedia. It also is quickly becoming a viable electronic medium as massive numbers of Internet users flock to UGC Web sites to consume content generated by "ordinary" people. In the United States, 63 million people read at least one blog a month, and 24 million visit YouTube (Fulgoni 2007). A recent industry research report also reveals that consumption of UGC has reached levels comparable with traditional media, such as commercial radio and regional newspapers in the United Kingdom (Marketing Week 2007). Despite UGC's extraordinary growth, advertisers and agencies remain hesitant to embrace this unproven media wholeheartedly, citing concerns such as fear of intruding on a "consumer" environment, a lack of understanding of UGC users and their behaviors, and lack of control over the context in which their advertising gets exhibited (Clark 2007). In summary, advertisers' wait-and-see attitude toward this new media seems mostly due to a lack of understanding of the characteristics and functioning of this new media.
Full-text available
GfK NOP is seeking to develop excellence through the use of Web 2.0 tools on its graduate training programme. Our approach has been to build excellence by adopting a new organisational form known as the 'community of practice' approach. This approach is emerging in companies that seek excellence as it promises to galvanise knowledge sharing, learning and change. It has led us into a world where our avatar has been conducting interviews in Second Life and we have been using social networks for research purposes. We believe this approach will produce market researchers who are more attuned to client requirements of the future, and could possibly retain more talent within the industry, as it allows new entrants to see how they can contribute to the development of methods, techniques and products, and creates a better sense of belonging to the industry.
Full-text available
The aim of this conceptual paper is to examine social media's central role for the creation of the sense of an online community belonging and present the items that measure their role in the creation of such a community for tourism destinations. From a theoretical perspective, elements such as the specific language, sharing of similar interests and interaction among members, allows us to argue for the sense of belonging to an online community. To date, there are no studies that relate social media with the concept of the imagined communities and sense of belonging. The economic issues emerging from the implementation of social media may be useful for companies and authorities in order to effectively allocate their economic resources.
An updated and expanded Second Edition of the popular guide to social media for the business community. Marketers must look to the Web for new ways of finding customers and communicating with them, rather than at them. From Facebook and YouTube to blogs and Twitter-ing, social media on the Internet is the most promising new way to reach customers. Marketing to the Social Web, Second Edition helps marketers and their companies understand how to engage customers, build customer communities, and maximize profits in a time of marketing confusion. Author and social media guru Larry Weber describes newly available tools and platforms, and shows you how to apply them to see immediate results and growth. Rather than broadcast messages to audiences, savvy marketers should encourage participation in social networks to which people want to belong, where dialogue with customers, and between customers, can flourish. in Networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and even Flickr are the perfect forums for this dialog; this book shows you how to tap into this new media. In addition to the tools and tactics that made Marketing to the Social Web a critical hit among marketers, this second edition includes three entirely new chapters that cover recent changes in the field. These new chapters describe how Facebook will monetize its business and one day surpass Google; how companies can measure the influence and effectiveness of their social media campaigns; and how marketing to mobile social media will grow into an effective practice in the near future. Marketing must reach out into new forms, media, and models. Marketing to the Social Web, Second Edition presents an exceptional opportunity to use these new tools and models to reach new markets, even in today's fragmented media environment. Larry Weber has spent the last three decades building global communications companies, including Weber Shandwick Worldwide and the W2 Group. He is also the founder and Chairman of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, the nation's largest interactive advocate association.
Purpose – This paper aims to examine social media communication that may consist of a database for online research and may create an online imagined community that follows special language symbols and shares common beliefs in a similar way to Anderson’s imagined communities. Design/methodology/approach – Well-known databases were searched in the available literature for specific keywords which were associated with the imagined community, and methodological tools such as online interviews, content analysis, archival analysis and social media. Findings – The paper discusses the use of multiple measures, such as document and archival analysis, online interviews and content analysis, which may derive from the online imagined community that social media create. Social media may in fact provide useful data that are available for research, yet are relatively understudied and not fully used in communication research, not to mention in archival services. Comparison takes place between online community’s characteristics and traditional communication research. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social media’s use of special language requirements may categorise discussion of these potential data, based on specific symbols, topical threads, purposeful samples and catering for longitudinal studies. Practical implications – Social media have not been fully implemented for online communication research yet. Online communication may offer significant implications for marketers, advertisers of a company or for an organisation to do research on or for their target groups. The role of libraries and information professionals can be significant in data gathering and the dissemination of such information using ICTs and renegotiating their role. Originality/value – The theoretical contribution of this paper is the examination of the creation of belonging in an online community, which may offer data that can be further examined and has all the credentials to do so, towards the enhancement of online communication research. The applications of social media to research and the use by and for information professionals and marketers may in fact contribute to the management of an online community with people sharing similar ideas. The connection of the online imagined community with social media for research has not been studied, and it would further enhance understanding from organisations or marketers.
Corporate executives struggle to harness the power of social technologies. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube are where customers discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals but how do you integrate these activities into your broader marketing efforts? It's an unstoppable groundswell that affects every industry yet it's still utterly foreign to most companies running things now. When consumers you've never met are rating your company's products in public forums with which you have no experience or influence, your company is vulnerable. In "Groundswell", Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li explain how to turn this threat into an opportunity. In this updated and expanded edition of "Groundswell", featuring an all new introduction and chapters on Twitter and social media integration, you'll learn to: Evaluate new social technologies as they emerge; Determine how different groups of consumers are participating in social technology arenas; Apply a four-step process for formulating your future strategy; and, Build social technologies into your business. "Groundswell" is required reading for executives seeking to protect and strengthen their company's public image.