An investigative study on the relationship between business and social media: Social media´s influence on corporate reputations

Rochelle Norwood

Student thesis: Master thesis


Although social media is still dominated by personal motives for connecting and sharing with family and friends, it is also increasingly becoming part of people’s professional lives. The research finds that people’s professional social media use is largely dominated by the need for information, and that professional interest is mainly focused on companies’ products and services. In people’s motivation to find and read information about companies, research shows that people access companies’ social media pages on a daily and weekly basis. In contrast to personal motives for social media use however, social-­interaction and self-­expression play only secondary roles for professionals. Additionally, findings show that people interact with companies on a more infrequent basis in their professional lives, with a majority of subjects saying that they never comment on material posted by a company. The study supports the hypothesis that social media influences people’s perceptions of the companies they interact with. Specifically, social media allows users to get to know a company better, can contribute to increased trust and confidence in a company, and influences the expectations that people form. Corporate reputation theory proposes that these concepts are factors on which people can evaluate and form an opinion of a company, contributing to the formation of a corporate reputation. Taking departure from corporate reputation theory the study reviews current reputation measurement models and various academic perspectives surrounding the topic. The study evaluates the impact and potential influence of social media on corporate reputation and identifies professional motives for social media use. Research methodology is based on a combination of case studies and questionnaire surveys. The research and findings are relevant for B2B companies interested in social media strategy and the potential consequences it has for the corporate name and reputation. The paper offers insights on what drives people to companies’ social media pages, what information is relevant and interesting, and tactics that engage and create interaction among company followers.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages90