Sample Paper on The Internet and Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Literature Review

The Internet and Social Media as a Marketing Tool

The business world today is fast becoming technologically driven, with social networking sites and the internet being the most widely used avenues to reach a wider range of clients. This is due to the availability of several approaches and media of communication targeting clients in accordance with an organization’s business plan (Mangold and Faulds 2009). In the United States and New Zealand, this is commonly referred to as Direct-to-Consumer advertising (DTCA).

Online marketing occurs through several social media means accessible globally. These may include the development of web pages provided for by the World Wide Web (WWW) and the use of social media like Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, blogs, and YouTube channels. These have gained popularity because most people find internet and social media advertising as an efficient and faster channel for getting information on particular products. Furthermore, conversations on social media greatly affect the consumer’s decision and buying behavior. Heinze and Hu in their 2006 study on corporate web usage, recommended that managers should concentrate on ideas with the most influence and impact on consumer behavior and perceptions

The Viral Model: Drivers of the Spread of Online Content

The Internet has become a vital component of human life today and most of the world’s population has access to it. Further, a greater percentage of this population has used the internet to download and upload videos. Most managers have maximized on this fact and thus ventured into online marketing leading to reduction of marketing costs in their respective companies and organizations. Reduced expenditures and exogenous changes to business revenue models have aroused interest in viral marketing. Viral marketing is thus defined as “eWOM whereby some form of marketing message related to a company, brand or product is transmitted in an exponentially growing way – often through the use of social media” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2011). The main aim of viral marketing is to make use of the internet to create awareness, arouse the customers’ interest, and change the consumers’ perception of a product or service to generate sales for the company.

In as much as viral marketing is the current trend in marketing, many marketers have difficulties using it and predicting its success. At the same time, email-based viruses and spam have flooded the internet posing challenges to viral marketing (Barutcu & Tomas, 2013). This study aims to investigate among others the social motivations including interpersonal factors for the spread of content online; research into how to better utilize social media as part of the marketing strategy is relatively nascent, and this study aims to assist marketers in using this medium more effectively.

Gift Giving

Considering that companies are focused on maximizing profits in an ever-competitive market, the question of whether or not to gift the consumers is usually controversial (Areni, 1998). Giving a gift to a consumer can build loyalty and as a means of distinguishing yourself from your competitors. Research has however shown that giving a gift can build loyalty and can be used to distinguish one from competitors (Mathur, 1996). This technique can change the consumers’ perception of the product and start to spend money on that particular product. Thus, a manager who decides to invest in gift-giving should make sure that the brand reaches the intended users; otherwise, this marketing strategy will prove useless.

Studies by Jarvenpaa and Todd in 1997 revealed that consumers are now more pleased with online shopping and most especially where they can gain from their online shopping through winning different gifts. Milligan in 1981 observed that teenagers are most likely to participate in online shopping just to acquire extra cash or a gift. This is because most of them are current recruits in social media and they are still eager to use the internet facilities.

Many companies today advertise their products on the internet and tag their customers on the advertisements placed on social media. This is mostly done when the advertising company has released a new product that they need to roll out to its customers. A company may decide to gift those clients who buy the product online, by giving out gift hampers, discounted prices, and even offering free delivery of the product to the client. Some companies encourage clients to ‘like’ and comment on the pages of their social networks. These comments can then be seen by those in their network of friends who may decide to try out that same product. These consumers who encourage others to use a company’s product are either gifted with cash or other gift hampers to encourage them. The more consumers the first client brings in the greater the reward.


Areni, C. S., Kiecker, P., & Palan, K. M. (1998). Is it better to give than to receive? Exploring gender differences in the meaning of memorable gifts. Psychology & Marketing, 15(1), 81-109.

Barutcu, S., & Tomas, M. (2013). Sustainable Social Media Marketing and Measuring Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing. Journal of Internet Applications and Management, 4(1), 5-24.Behavioral Research, 16, 379-407.

Heinze, N. & Hu, Q. (2006). The evolution of corporate web presence. A longitudinal study of large American companies. International Journal of Information Management, 26, 313-325.

Jarvenpaa, S. L. and Todd, P. A (1997). Consumer reactions to electronic shopping on the World Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2011). The early bird catches the news: Nine things you should know about micro-blogging. Business Horizons, 54(2), 105-113.

Mangold, G. W., & David J. F. (2009). Social Media: The New Hybrid Element of the Promotion Mix. Business Horizons 52: 357-365.

Mathur, A. (1996). Older adults’ motivations for gift giving to charitable organizations: An exchange theory perspective. Psychology & Marketing, 13(1), 107-123.

Milligan, G.W. (1981). A review of monte carlo tests of cluster analysis, Multivariate Wide Web. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 1, 2, 59-88