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The Role of Twitter in Crisis Communication for Businesses


This study examined Twitter’s role in business crisis communication. The study assessed three research aims, including how Twitter can assist an organisation in providing a crisis response to its stakeholders, why people use Twitter in a crisis, and how valuable people think Twitter is as a crisis communication tool. For this study, a survey research design was chosen. A questionnaire was created to gather the necessary data and information for analysing this study project. The Linker 5-point scale was used to create a structured questionnaire. A large number of respondents were questioned about the study’s declared research aims. According to the analysis conducted for this study, 67.5% agreed and strongly agreed that Twitter may help a company respond to a crisis by delivering fast updates of news and information to its shareholders, 5.8% were unsure, and 27.6% opposed and severely disagreed with this viewpoint. According to this investigation, using real-time news and information updates can help with organisational crisis management. Engagement with stakeholders and customers on Twitter can assist manage the communication crises in a business, according to 59.2% of research participants, 19.2% of whom were not confident of this idea, and 21.7% of whom disagreed and strongly disagreed. This analysis reveals that a business can control communication crises by engaging with stakeholders and customers. 22.5% of respondents disagreed and strongly disagreed with the idea that starting a conversation on Twitter can assist handle a communication problem in a business, while 3.3% were unsure. So, using Twitter to foster conversation within a company can aid in managing communication crises. It was concluded in this study that the best responses and fastest feedback are usually obtained through Twitter because it permits immediate and faster responses. Appropriate recommendations were made.




Background to the Study

Failure to have a crisis communications plan in place can seriously affect stakeholders, cause financial losses, and even lead to a company’s demise. Crisis management is a crucial function for organisations (Coombs, 2017). The Internet has changed how information is accessed by stakeholders, which has had an impact on PR strategies, especially crisis management (Pavlik, 2017). gement (Pavlik, 2017). (Pavlik, 2017). Social media’s advent has altered the balance of power in communication away from PR professionals and towards social media users (Smith, 2018). Social networks provide two-way communication based on a mutual understanding between a corporation and its stakeholders as opposed to traditional communication, where organisations would send information to its stakeholders (Pavlik, 2017). Almost 30 million adults in the UK alone use the internet every day, and 43% of them post to social networking sites (Twitter, 2019). Due to the constant flow of communication made possible by social media, businesses must modify their communication strategy accordingly. By providing people with an engaged audience to speak their ideas to, this new technology empowers citizens, which can have both a beneficial and a bad impact on a business.  According to Twitter (2019), Twitter is the third most popular social networking site in the world and has over 175 million registered users. The information network connects users to a vast amount of information and allows individuals to connect with other users, organisations and the media through 140-character ‘tweets’ or by uploading photos and other media (Twitter, 2019).

Twitter is a microblogging platform that enables users to follow one another and publish messages that are strictly limited to 140 characters. Relationships on Twitter can be entirely one-sided, which makes it different from other social networking services. For instance, a user is not required to follow another user just because they both follow the first. Twitter burst onto the scene in March 2006 thanks to its simple user interface. This set it apart from its rivals, which at the time allowed users to fully customise their personal pages, frequently leading to a crowded, gaudy appearance (Experian, 2009). However, Twitter welcomed third-party developers from the start and provided a flexible application programming interface (API). It also has an unprecedented level of celebrity fame (Twitter, 2019).

Statement of the Research Problem

Despite its popularity and substantial media coverage, Twitter hasn’t expanded as swiftly as Google or Facebook after each company’s first three years. There are 18,000,000 Google users, 27,000,000 Facebook users, and 8,000,000 Twitter users (Pavik, 2017). Many individuals are still sceptical about Twitter’s utility or whether it will be helpful to them even though it has been there for five years and is no longer the new kid on the block.  It is for discovering and sharing what’s happening in your life right now, according to Twitter. While this is true and unfortunately by its very nature, results in a lot of the information shared is ‘pointless babble’, it does not highlight the potential Twitter has in business (Java et al., 2007).

As technology develops, there are more ways than ever to promote products and services to consumers. The internet advertising business is growing year over year. The “people” now desire power and possess the “acute editing abilities” necessary to listen so they can understand the messages they desire to hear. As consumers can block media messages from being viewed by them, marketers must develop a strategy to communicate with their customers without them realising it is an advertisement. The act of contacting the owner of a website and paying for advertising space, usually in the form of a banner placement, is known as media buying.

All popular websites with high traffic, including Facebook and YouTube, provide advertising slots. Companies use the data from these websites to project the percentage of their target market that they will reach. The bulk of their target market may see it when a company purchases a placement on a busy website, but they will also be spending a lot of money on visitors that have little to no interest in what the company has to offer.

Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the role of Twitter in crisis communication for business. Specific objectives of this study include:

  1. To examine how Twitter can help an organization provide a crisis response to its stakeholders;
  2. To investigate the motivations of individuals for using Twitter in a crisis.
  3. To identify perceptions of the value of Twitter as a useful crisis communications tactic.

Research Questions

  1. How does Twitter help an organization provide a crisis response to its stakeholders?
  2. What are the motivations of individuals for using Twitter in a crisis?
  3. What are the perceptions of the value of Twitter as a useful crisis communications tactic?

 Significance of the Study

For academics and students studying the humanities, social sciences, and management, this topic is important. They will learn a lot more about how to use social media to manage communication crises in an organisation after reading the literature examined in this study, which will greatly expand their prior knowledge. The stakeholders in the business sector will find this study useful. The study’s conclusions and suggestions will act as a manual for using social media as a tool for productive internal communication.

Scope of the Study

This study concentrated on Twitter’s function in business crisis communication. Further included in the study are the reasons for using social media in times of crisis, how useful people believe Twitter is for conveying crises, and how organizations utilize Twitter to respond to stakeholders.

Limitations of the Study

There were some restrictions to this study. There was no easily available literature about the topic of this study, either online or offline. The issue of respondents refusing to complete the administered questionnaire for personal reasons was one that the researcher had to deal with. Also, the researcher did not have enough time to thoroughly analyse all of the study’s data in the time allotted for its completion. The scope and calibre of this investigation were significantly influenced by the aforementioned constraints.

Definition of Terms

Social media : interactive technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks. 

Twitter: an online social media and social networking service owned and operated by American company Twitter, Inc., on which users send and respond publicly

Crisis: either any event or period that will (or might) lead to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, or all of society.

Communication: usually defined as the transmission of information. The term can also refer to the message itself or the field of inquiry studying these transmissions, also known as communication studies.

Crisis communication: a sub-speciality of the public relations profession that is designed to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation.

Organization of the Study

There are five chapters in this study, the first of which discusses the background, statement of the research problem, aims, research question, and research hypotheses as well as the study’s significance, scope, and limitations. Chapter 2 contains conceptual, theoretical, and empirical reviews. The study methodology is covered in Chapter 3. This chapter covers the research design, the study’s population, the sample size and methodology, the data collection source and method, the study’s instruments, the data analysis method, and the validity and reliability of the study. Chapter four contains data presentation, Analysis and discussion of findings. Chapter five of this study encompasses the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations.



  • Swann, W. B., Jr. (2017). Resilient identities: Self, relationships, and the construction of social reality. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  • Thomas, K., & Nicol, D. M. (2020). The koobface botnet and the rise of social malware. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Malicious and Unwanted Software (MALWARE), Nancy, France.
  • Twitter., (2019). About twitter. Available from: http://twitter.com/ Accessed 04.02.19.
  • Van Der Merwe, R., Pitt, L. F., & Abratt, R. (2015). Stakeholder strength: PR survival strategies in the internet age. Public Relations Quarterly, 50(1), 39-48.
  • Vaynerchuk, G. (2018). Crushing it! : how great entrepreneurs build their business and influence- -and how you can, too. New York, NY: Harperbusiness, An Imprint Of Harpercollins Publishers.


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