The current study shows four indicators (follower indegree, mentions criterion, sentiment and retweet criterion) brands can use to measure their influence on consumer word of mouth. The results of this study assist marketers with quantifying influence on Twitter. It builds further on the knowledge of measuring online activities, and will help marketers reporting back to the management. Certain structural aspects of Twitter may seem medium specific. However, a first degree network, content replication, sentiment analysis and brand mentions expressing the conversational exchange all are medium to highly visible for other social media. Hence the results are characterized by a high external validity across social media.
The study puts reach into perspective. Although the first degree network is a highly valid measure of online influence, a strategic focus on direct reach has a minimal effect on the conversational exchange and even negatively impacts the other measures. The findings stress the fundamental relevance of conversational exchange for brands to increase online influence. For online brand management it is crucial to measure online conversations in order to keep track of a brand's online influence. Results of the current study impact online brand management in the sense that they help brands understanding, managing and monitoring consumer word of mouth across the social web. The study confirms the relevance of consumer word of mouth for online branding in this communication 2.0 era.