Social media based sponsorship activation: a typology of content

Leah Donlan, Christos Anagnostopoulos, Simon Chadwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: This paper thematically categorises sports sponsorship-linked Twitter content and, by drawing on uses & gratifications (U&G) theory, maps the extent to which these categories cohere with known user motivations for consuming social media. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative content analysis of a sample of 1502 Tweets by London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsors posted between January 2011 and September 2012 was used to develop the typology of sponsorship-linked Twitter content. Findings:From the data, a typology is developed, comprising 17 categories grouped under four main types: informing, entertaining, rewarding and interacting. The majority of sponsor Tweets (68%) fell into the informing type, with 17% categorised as interacting. While few (2%) Tweets were categorised as entertaining, the link to the sponsored event implies a degree of entertaining content even in ostensibly informative, rewarding or interactional sponsorship-linked Tweets. Therefore, the typology categories highlight Twitter content produced by sponsors which engages customers, fostering dialogue alongside providing informative and entertaining content. Research limitations/implications: Practical implications: The typology can inform practitioners’ future sports sponsorship activation planning decisions and can also aid rights holders in tailoring appropriate sponsorship opportunities to potential sponsors, based on an appreciation of the nature of content sought by brand followers. Social implications: Originality/value: The typology extends existing understanding of the use of social media within sponsorship activation campaigns by thematically categorising content and mapping this against known user motivations for consuming brand-related social media content.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport, Business and Management: An International Journal
Early online date4 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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