Twitter and Behavioral Engagement in the Healthcare Sector: An Examination of Product and Service Companies

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This paper examines Twitter use by product and service companies in the healthcare sector. This four company study aims to identify the type of content posted in Twitter that drives engagement in terms of ‘likes’, retweets and comments. A sample of 838 tweets were thematically coded as to the perceived tweet function. The tweets were analyzed to determine whether the function was significantly associated with greater or lesser engagement. Linguistic content of tweets was then analyzed using LIWC to determine the type of content associated with greater engagement. Results suggest that company type (product vs. service) and tweet function influence the degree of engagement. Engagement also differed significantly based on the linguistic content of messages, such that word categories associated with greater engagement were identified. Thus, to drive greater engagement with a wider network, the business marketer should consider the nature of the company as well as the function and linguistic content of messages posted to Twitter.


Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date14 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2017


  • products, services, Twitter, linguistic analysis, behavioral engagement