Social media marketing experts underscore the advantages of using social media for marketing as the
ability to reach a wide audience, two-ways communication, accessibility and viral effect. Social media
marketing promises to improve promotional efforts significantly. One of the major advantages of social
media marketing is the ability to reach a wide audience breaking down geographic boundaries. Historically
communication with others was limited by geographical boundaries and the current technological of the era.
Today’s social media technologies enable nearly everyone to reach a global audience for interpersonal
interaction and exchanging information (Hank, 2008).Web 2.0 encompasses tools and platforms that enable
people from different part of the world to be connected and to exchange information with each other
(GMA’News.TV, 2008, The Nielson Company, 2009, New Media Age, 2009). Statistical data illustrates the
enormous number of users of social media. According to Facebook statistics this social network website
hosts more than 400 million users. Moreover, the number of unique visitors is constantly growing (The
Nielson Company, 2009). On average, users across the US spend more than 6 hours social networking per
day in February 2010; this is, two hours more than at the same time the previous year (Nelson Wire, 2010).
Social media marketing is considered as more effective over traditional marketing because it allows
building two-ways communication. Social media provides platforms and instruments for intensively
exchanging information. Building relationship with customers through dialogue and mutual interaction
becomes an essential part of a promotional strategy. It leads to establishing rapport with customers; - is a
critical element for influencing purchasing behavior. Moreover, dialogue leads to building trust
fundamentally developing loyalty and long-term relationships (Gillin, 2009, Weber, 2009, Valdez, 2009,
There is a strong tendency among web users to communicate with their peers online. Consumers are
more willing to participate in discussions and exchange information with others. Social networking websites
are used by consumers to send messages to other users and keep web users informed regarding current status.
Social media started not only as a casual interaction with friends but also as gathering information about a
generation of users participate with online social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Youtube,
Hi5, Orkut, Mixx, Friendster, Twitter or other sites and focus on communication about products/services.
Moving to participatory society enables the companies interacting with customers and using viral marketing
in order to increase message visibility and brand awareness (Managing Intellectual Property, 2009,
Christopher, 2008, Gillin, 2009).
Customers participating on the Web 2.0 platforms are not only expressing their opinion, but also
becoming co-creators of online publications such as blogs or online reviews. The involvement of the
customers in the promotional strategy has several advantages for the companies. First, investing time and
efforts to online participation customers can learn about it. Second, active participation can also result in the
development of loyalty and potential desire to pass the information about the product/service with others
Two-ways communication with customers is beneficial for the companies because it involves extracting
information that can be valuable for customer relationship management development. During interaction
with others, web users provide feedback regarding their experience related to the product/service. In the
traditional format of CRM, companies spend a significant amount of financial and human recourses
conducting surveys via phone, email, or even personal interviewing. However, many companies realized the
effectiveness of using social media marketing to obtain feedback from their customers. They take advantage
of social media through interaction with their customers and getting insight into their needs and concerns to
effectively address desires (Musico, 2009, Clemons, 2009, Valdez, 2009). Clemons (2009) suggests using the
Second Life as a source for observation about how customers make their choices or design their style.
Examining users’ choices and online behavior provides an opportunity for the observers to make innovations
in their products/services (Clemons, 2009, Drury, 2008).
Companies using social media marketing facilitate increased word-of-mouth referrals and may lead to
generated websites, social network website and other tools enable increased reach and speed of the messages.
In other words, social media tools become a fundamental component of viral or word-of-mouth marketing.
The main principle of viral marketing is based on “self-replicating viral diffusion” of messages among large
number of consumers using social media tools. Encompassing large number of members social network
websites provide a great opportunity to reach large audience quickly and spread the word about a brand. Due
to shifting brand mindsets, exchanging messages about the brand and stimulating further diffusion among
other members potentially becomes an effective marketing technique. Word-of-mouth is considered as the
most successful means of promotion versus traditional advertizing coming directly from a company.
Customers are more likely to accept recommendations of persons they know and trust (Weber, 2009, Word,
2007, Clemons, 2009). Dr. Sidney, chairman of the marketing department at Northwestern University asserts
that customers demonstrate reliance to information coming from personalized contact rather than to the
information presented in an impersonal way, e.g. TV and radio ads (Rasberry, 2005).
Accessibility to all users of the web 2.0 is viewed by the companies as another advantage for adopting
this new form of marketing. The financial means of traditional media are usually available to companies with
unlimited resources. Social media marketing provides tools and applications that are available at low cost
(Hank, 2008, Art Marketing, 2010, Stover, 2010). The biggest cost of using social media marketing is
associated with qualified personnel that would be able to leverage promotion of the company on social media
platforms with positive results (Borges, 2009).