Social Media and Its Implications for Marketing Communications

Social Media and Its Implications for Marketing Communications

Irina Yankova (London Metropolitan University, UK) and Wilson Ozuem (University of Gloucestershire, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6595-8.ch011
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The field of marketing communications studies is often called on to close the gap between marketing and computer-mediated studies. This chapter engages with the concept of social media in the design and implementation of marketing communication programmes, particularly in the UK Fashion sector. The chapter goes on to conclude, rather sceptically, that understandings of the various nuances of social media platforms could engender effective customer retention programmes. It also offers a new way of thinking about customer engagement, incorporating social media platforms.
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Introduction And Context

In recent years, social media has emerged as a topic of great interest to scholars and practitioners alike (see for example Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010; Hoffman & Novak, 2011; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). The tremendous success of social media has been witnessed in terms of adoption and usage, caused by a paradigm shift in the way people communicate, express ideas and thoughts, and even how they interact with companies (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Mangold & Faulds, 2009; Palmer & Koenig-Lewis, 2009). Traditionally, enterprises maintained control over relationship activities while customers were passive “receivers” (Christodoulides et al., 2011; Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010; Jahn & Kunz, 2012). Web 2.0 technologies have transferred power over brands directly to consumers, turning them into empowered, educated, technology-savvy and informed customers (Constantinides & Fountain, 2008; Constantinides, 2008). Thus, they have placed the consumer in the ‘driving seat’ and forced managers to concentrate their efforts on managing the dialogue, not the customer (Baird & Parasnis, 2011b). More importantly, the cultural shift in the customer-centric direction that has occurred (see Bernoff & Li, 2008; Peppers & Rogers, 2011; Sheth et al., 2000) has led to a transformation in organisational focus from transaction-orientated to relationship-orientated entities (Christopher et al., 2002; Egan, 2011; Godson, 2009; Gronroos, 1991; Gummesson, 2008).

This new marketing communication reality presents new challenges and opportunities for businesses which perceive of social media as a new tool for creating a better customer experience (Baird & Parasnis, 2011b; Palmer, 2010; Stone, 2011) and for increasing brand awareness through creating excitement and amplifying word-of-mouth (Brown et al., 2007; Chevalier & Mayzlin, 2006; Kozinets et al., 2010). It also represents a means for improving corporate search engine optimisation, increasing sales, and building, nurturing and maintaining lasting relationships with customers (Peppers & Rogers, 2011; Tuten & Solomon, 2013).

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