Social Media in Marketing Communications

By: Xinran Zuo

Mass Media, one of the main forces in contemporary society, has great influence and impact on ways of thinking and human behavior, as well as social structure and education trends. At the same time, mass media has also successfully created a whole new world: Social Media.

Social media influences our generation in many respects. As a student with wide interests in marketing, I have been learning how to market brands on social media platforms and studying the influence of social media on the marketing since the beginning of my studies in Business. In the past years, the influence of social media has been a popular research topic.

The emergence of Social Media has created a new tool for marketers in marketing research. Social Media facilitates convenient interactions between enterprises and their customers, which enables businesses to get a clear and timely idea of market trends and customer needs. Moreover, marketing costs of social media are low. These two aspects make social media an efficient tool to maintain brand image, improve corporate influence, and obtain market information.

There are 5 most common forms of social media, which are SMS, social network sites, instant messaging (IM), blogs, and micro-blogging (limited words). Each one has their own characteristics. Researchers argue that each of these 5 forms of social media have unique features and functions. In this article, I compared these 5 forms of social media from 3 different perspectives – open to the public vs. keep private; users’ relations; communication model.

Open to the public vs. keep private Users’ relationship Communication model
Micro blogging

(i.e. Twitter)

Completely open to the public. All information could be announced Following relationship. Information flow could be unidirectional, bidirectional as well as multidirectional.

Equal relationship between users

Focus on information exchange. One to N to N Model. Communication, announcement and interaction need to be short due to the word limitation. Free of charge


Exclusive space. Most communication are between two willing parties and are not accessible for the public, information is one to one. Private interaction Users are real friends or the ones you know in daily life. Stable relationship. Private. Word limited. Need to pay
Social Network Sites (i.e. Facebook) Half public half private. User could choose if their message are to the public to all or to friends only Most users are real friends or the ones you know or knew in daily life. Stable relationship is not needed On one’s own page. In addition to updating or messaging, it has other functions such as Party book, Vote, Music, Game. Number of words unlimited. Free of charge
Instant Message Closed communication,

Only friends can talk to each other, and it’s secret to others. Communication are private. The number of friends in each account is limited to 1000.

Add and Accept friend request is needed to confirm the relationship In addition to written message, can also provide with video chart, voice chart, music etc. Free of charge
Blog Public space. Information can be as long as one wants. Blogger has the absolute say in their own blog. In their blog, they are the dominate party in this relationship. Stable relationship is not needed Words unlimited,

Music, Document sharing.

Free of charge.

Social Media is already widely used in collecting market information. As the table shows above, different platforms can provide different benefits. At the same time, each form has its own disadvantages or limitations. Only one tool for brand marketing is rare. Choosing and combining suitable tools in efficient ways are important for collecting the best range of marketing information for an organization.


11 thoughts on “Social Media in Marketing Communications

  1. Ronald Zampanti March 11, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    I like the table that compares the different forms of social media from three different perspectives. Social media as a whole offers a huge convenience factor to both consumers and brands. For instance, interactions between consumers and brands, consumers to consumers, or even business to business can be done publicly or privately, depending on the desires of the parties involved. This article also illustrated how marketing costs of social media are low. This is great for brands because they are able to reach a large or specified audience (depending on which social media forms) at a cheap price. Thus, if social media marketing is done effectively, profits can be enormous for brands.


  2. Aishwarya Gunti March 22, 2016 / 3:10 am

    I like the table and its comprehensiveness. As there are plenty of options to choose from, it is also important to consider traditional media depending on marketing budget. Traditional media is still considered authentic and has its significance in the communication plan. Social media is a mode to reach to diverse and vast majority of population, traditional media is mode to prove its authenticity. It is also mostly because of fake and counterfeit advertisements running in social media. This fake information is easy and free to upload but hard to retract.


  3. Julie Wusenich March 22, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    I agree with the comments above – the table provides an excellent comparison of five forms of social media from three perspectives. At a quick glance, an individual can get an overview and a better understanding and benefits, which can be provided by using that form of social media. Companies have easily accessible tools available as they marketing their product/business. They just need to select the one or two, which would work best for them.


  4. Meghan Gulbrandsen April 4, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    Social media is a huge concept for businesses in today’s world. With technology advancing as it as and with the majority of our population always having a smart phone on them the accessibility to such platforms is huge. People, being the customers of companies here, always want things that are quick and convenient for them. These various different sites allow business to stay in touch with their customers as well as allowing them to give them the information or product they need in a fast and efficient way. It is important for companies to see what different platforms do so that they can use the ones that will be the most beneficial for them and the company.


  5. Alicia April 14, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    I really like how the author if this article divided the different types of social media into 5 separate categories. When I think of social media, I tend to clump everything together into that one dominant category, but there are different forms that offer different benefits. Blogging is really cool if you want to share your interest with other people on your own personal domain. Social networks are the most popular, I think, because they are universal and make it super simple to connect with other people. I also think that the three topics in which the author chose to analyze the different types of social media are the most important aspects. I think a person should understand how public a platform is or can be and the types of relationships they can have with people through that site before they decide to create one.


  6. Derek Lawton April 14, 2016 / 7:16 pm

    This article is great at showing how the different forms of social media are used. There are definitely pros and cons to each use. Instant messaging may not be the best way because it is closed communication. Social network sites are a great way to collect market information. Users can choose to keep it public or private.


  7. Andie-Jane Phinney April 19, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    This article does a great job showing the different forms of social media and the significance they have. Social media has become significantly huge for marketing and has helped gain great success for companies. It has allowed consumers to communicate with companies, and gain feedback as well as companies have gained customer loyalty and have been able to promote themselves much better. It is a cheeper way to adversities and promote the businesses which is another reason why companies promote themselves. Billions of people use social media, and once businesses found the ways and means to help promote themselves, it flourished. The chart was very interesting to see the three different perspectives of the 5 types of social media. Having learned so much about social media in this semesters course, this article definitely reflected the material that was taught.


  8. Meg April 19, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    As other users stated, the table is a great way to display the different social media sites. I do wonder where video sites fall in the table, such as youtube and vine. Would they simply be under social network sites? There are many forms of social media, and it is important that businesses decide which forms are the best for their respective business. I also wish the table had different pros and cons of each tool connected with marketing.


  9. Chansamone Voralath April 24, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    I think the table is great in providing comparison of the five different forms of social media. Most companies will be more beneficial in using social network sites such as facebook and twitter as marketing tools for their business to collect marketing information on consumers to tailor to consumers want and need.


  10. Colleen Flynn April 27, 2016 / 2:00 am

    This blog was very interesting to read and see the visual table that was laid out comparing the five different forms of social media and the 3 different perspectives. This was the first blog post I have seen that took that approach and I really loved reading it! I completely agree with the simple facts that social media is exponentially growing in recent years. Also, there has been a shift in the platforms strictly being “social,” but rather a platform for marketing and market research and where business advertise now. Social media has taken on a whole new role in today’s society, and a big one at that! Mostly every business now has some sort of social media platform for their business. If not, they are behind. Social media allows customers very easy access to the company and provides a great sense of customer relationships with the company. It also is almost instant forms of communication. Of course, each social media form as a different usage for the purpose, but overall, social media is completely taking over the world, especially in marketing. This is undeniably the area to focus for the future.


  11. Xinran(Blair) Zuo May 13, 2016 / 3:19 pm

    Social Media in marketing is large term that contains lots of meanings. I was reallly interested in it because it is the up-te-day technology and it is the future trend as well. Not any single business would ignore the develop of social media. However, mass information can be applied and received. Managing the social media marketing is the trend but stricky. How to get the useful and correct information is the concern for customers and the business. This is a very interesting topic and I will go on study it.


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