How Large U.S. Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value


It is no doubt that businesses have tried using a variety of platforms to communicate with their relevant stakeholders. Improvement in technology has led to situations where the involved parties get near-real time information particularly using social media platforms. The authors successfully identify the reasons and motives as to why companies and organizations join the social media for business gains. The main aim of the social platforms and their implementations is to gain business value. The authors have identified the following social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and client hosted forums.

The authors have identified implementation strategies applied by organizations as; mindful adoption which considers the risk expectations and how to manage them whenever they occur, community formation and building and absorptive capacity which identify new knowledge and check how costumers report from the platforms. These factors are beleived to improve the internal operations of organizations, create new ways of collaborating with the customers, business partners and suppliers.

Strengths of the article

  • The authors have successfully spelt out the factors to be considered by organizations before opening and forming a business social media platform for businesses. They have cited relationship creation and maintenance as a major building block in coercing customers to help organizations increase their sales and suppliers.
  • The authors have successfully identified Facebook (over 1million followers) and Twitter (100 thousand fans) as the two major social sites that have been by the sample of research they undertook in Wal-Mart, HP and Coca Cola. They have successfully considered organizations producing different products from fashion, technologies and consumables.
  • They have positively identified the rules that govern the operations of these platforms, how they are run (centralized or decentralized) to address risk management and how they respond to complains and suggestions from the community. They have deduced that these organizations should frequently provide new content to their sites.
  • The authors have used two research sample groups to draw their conclusions; the Fortunes 500 and the investigation and analysis of how three large American organizations (Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Coca Cola) have utilized social media in their daily endeavors. Over 50% of the sample in Fortunes 500 have exhibited support to the auto-formation of virtual commerce environments (VCEs) and have also shown the loyalty developed by customers.
  • Additionally, the approach used i.e case studies offered the researchers the chance to look in-depth examination of a given case. This helped them generate a huge volume of descriptive information which enhances understanding of the issue under investigation.

Weakness of the article

  • The article did not feature small and upcoming companies and organizations. These organizations usually face difficult tasks in trying to reach out to the new customers and to market their products through social media. They have focused on already established organizations.
  • The authors failed to establish if some of the administrators of the linkages and sites have a “mutual” benefit with the sampled organizations.
  • Finally, the authors have provided insufficient information concerning privacy of the customers and the protection of their transactions from hackers and potential market competitor was guaranteed.

Discussion points

  • Who are the main administrators of these twitter and Facebook accounts and linkages? Is there zero rate conspiracy by organizations?
  • What current social platforms have emerged and what factors also affect their implementations in gaining business values?
  • How has fraudsters and cyber insecurity been tackled in social media?


Culnan, M., McHugh, P. & Zubillaga, J. (2010). How Large U.S. Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value. MIS Quarterly Executive, 9 (4): 243-259.

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