Social Media’s New Role in Marketing Communication and its Opportunities in Online Strategy Building

New trends affected communication recently, modifying the basic aspects and attitudes of firms and consumers. Many companies believe that their existence on social media platforms is the key ingredient to a successful way of activity in the web 2.0 era. However, these new tendencies entail a myopia in strategy for companies who do not integrate these tools. Nevertheless, implicating social media elements globally is quite complex. An important and significant problem is that business actors can barely distinguish the different types of these tools. In the extensive construct of social media, there are multitudinous main categories, for example social networks, microblogs, virtual worlds, sharing surfaces etc. Social media has a growing effect in many perspectives: from one standpoint, it reverses the way how and why users communicate with each other. From another standpoint, it permits of the extension of marketing communication opportunities both in a business-to-business (B2B) and a business-to-consumer (B2C) aspect. Social media supports firms to rethink the traditional one-way communication flow of their marketing messages. Consequently, business actors have to incorporate a new, interactive communication flow into their marketing strategy. In such an environment, users are able to create, modify, share and discuss a significant part of contents on the web. In our research, our aim is to enhance the relevance of social media phenomenon as a tool, which can impact a company’s performance, sales and reputation level as well. However, many firms are not acquainted with the numerous types of social media and the attributes of them. In accordance with Kietzmann et al. (2011), there coexist seven functional blocks in social media, which are the principles of understanding how it works. These elements are the following: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation and groups. Identity delineates the way how consumers reveal themselves on a social media platform. Conversations describe how they communicate, including their motivations, frequency and content. Sharing reveals the rate of content exchange process between the different actors. Presence describes the reachability of the users on the social media platforms. The following element characterizes the ties between the participants (relationships). Reputation is the measure of identifying themselves, mainly relating to others in the community. Groups are the communities, which are the grounding elements of social media phenomenon. We hypothesize that these functional blocks can be treated as contributions to the companies’ marketing strategy. In our literature review, we would like to lay the foundations of our theoretical implications in an interdisciplinary way, which can help firms to better understand the nature of the online social platforms, thus to answer the following main questions: on what social media platforms should the firms be present and how they should apply them as strategic tools.

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