Marketing with Social Media

by Edward J
In a world of cut throat competition finding a way to reach customers can mean life or death for start-up companies.  Even well established companies must always try to find new ways to stay in the public’s consciousness. Becoming or staying relevant is a daunting task when one considers the deluge of adverts an average person experiences every day.  People become numb to them, and end up partially or completely ignoring the various commercials, billboards, and specials they come across hundreds of times each and every day.  Advertising can often feel like trying to fill a barrel of water with an eye dropper or asking someone to find your needle in the ol’ haystack.  A company can easily find itself throwing money into a black hole called marketing, with little or no results.  On the other hand a smart and efficient company can find clever and affordable ways to reach potential customers, and not only reach customers but truly grasp their attention.  One new and powerful tool to help with such a task is marketing via social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Since the dawn of the internet social media, sites or applications that allow users to share information with friends and acquaintances, has been very popular.  Early sites such as and soon multiplied and now there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of social media based sites.  Some of the giants today are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all with several million users who share status updates and pictures with one another like an ongoing conversation between a group of friends.  Now imagine being able to inject your products and promotions right into that personal and intimate conversation.  That’s what marketing with social media offers.

There are several methods for accomplishing this goal of social marketing, the old-fashioned way is to find sites that allow for banner advertising such as and  Lauren Simonds claims that of the millions of Facebook users, the average user checks the service 14 times a day.  In order to tap in to this users can make use of Promoted Posts, where your post is turned into an ad and Facebook Offers which are essentially virtual coupons. However, these ads are similar to those found throughout the internet and all add to the ‘noise’ caused by advertisements, and are easily ignored. So what then should be the goal of a company who wishes to make use of social media?  The answer is getting people to ‘talk’ about your brand or products and creating a pseudo word of mouth effect.

The most basic step is creating a company profile on various social sites.  Users are able to ‘like’, ‘follow’, or ‘favorite’ your profile and doing so shares that activity with their network.  Gaining a noteworthy amount of ‘follows’ is commendable in and of itself and can have a viral effect.  This can lead to more people visiting a profile and seeing what a company has to offer.  So the question becomes, how to I get people to follow me?  Finding that ‘it’ factor that draws people to a company profile unfortunately is not very simple, but there are tried and true methods used by many companies.  According to Petros Giannakouris, one such method is the ‘check-in’ discount.  Foursquare and other sites offer the ability for users to use geo-location ‘check-in’ and announce where they currently are.  Encouraging customer’s to check in at your store is a great way to gain exposure, and many companies offer promotions for doing so. From personal experience, my local Chipotle Mexican Grill often offers customers a discount or free drink if they show the cashier a Facebook check in on their mobile device.  In order to capitalize on this phenomenon, Facebook has created a ‘Deals’ feature for their mobile site which streamlines the process.

Another great way to build a buzz is effective use of Instagram, an app where user can only share pictures with captions.  A picture is worth a million words, right? Well being able to share that much information with millions of Instagram users can be very valuable in attracting attention.  Rachel Sprung suggests companies reward followers with promo codes and other potential perks.  Also, companies can hold photo competitions where users compete by posting images of company products with the appropriate hashtag, a tool used to group content. Additionally, Instagram and other photo based social networks are a great way to keep customers updated on new products and company events.

Another powerful tool is Twitter, where users post text with a short character limit.  According to Michael Stelzner, there are many effective ways to make use of twitter and other micro blogging sites.  One such way is dealing customer service.  Internet users are habitual complainers and undoubtedly companies will receive complaints via social media.  Twitter offers various tools to respond to such complaints, and doing so will convey an interest in customer well being.  Customer’s dissatisfaction is often quickly abated if a company responds in a timely fashion.  Additionally, social media is great way to make announcements about upcoming product lines or anything relevant to potential customers.

Social media marketing is an undeniably powerful tool, but it’s no miracle guaranteed to increase sales.  You can have all the ‘likes’, ‘tags’ and ‘follows’ in the world but they won’t do you any good of the customers aren’t buying your products.  Pat Lapointe suggests that while social media can offer high levels of brand engagement, companies shouldn’t throw out their current advertising strategy, especially if it’s working.  Lapointe continues to recommend that companies use traditional marketing in conjunction with the social media to strengthen brand identity.

In conclusion, a 2011 study performed by the Advertising Research Foundation found that social media have empowered consumers by giving them a voice open to the public and companies must facilitate this conversation by openly sharing brand values.  This ongoing conversation between individuals, the public in general, and the companies themselves provides a method for consumers and companies to find mutual interest and connect with one another.

Works Cited

5 Ways Marketers Can Use Instagram | Social Media Examiner. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2013, from

Facebook Check-Ins to Offer Discount “Deals.” (n.d.). CBS News. Retrieved May 15, 2013, from

Introducing Deals. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2013, from

LaPointe, P. (2012). Measuring Facebook’s Impact on Marketing. Journal Of Advertising Research52(3), 286-287. doi:10.2501/JAR-52-3-286-287

POWERS, T., ADVINCULA, D., AUSTIN, M. S., GRAIKO, S., & SNYDER, J. (2012). Digital and Social Media In the Purchase Decision Process: A Special Report from the Advertising Research Foundation. Journal Of Advertising Research52(4), 479-489. doi:10.2501/JAR-52-4-479-489

Simonds, L. (n.d.). Mobile Marketing on Facebook. Time. Retrieved from

Twitter Marketing How to Use Twitter for Business | Social Media Examiner. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2013, from

7 thoughts on “Marketing with Social Media

  • May 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Interesting blog about using social media as a marketing tool. I also feel that social media is essential as now, everyone has their handheld devices on the go and it is easy to access. It’s great to see how many social media sites are working alongside businesses and supporting marketing using social media. It’s a win-win situation for both sides.

  • May 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Since social media has become so prevalent and people see it multiple times a day, do you feel that it gets drowned out? Facebook throws up “suggested posts” and other offers that many people don’t want to see and they get ignored.

    Certain companies utilize this well. Foursquare has taken off on the east coast and companies recognize this. They have given free drinks or a discount to the “mayor” of their establishment. I’ve only seen this work if a company really delves into the social media service.

    Obviously, it is a case-by-case situation.

  • May 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    A very well writte blog and presentation, Edward. I totally agree with you about using social media to market. I see it all the time on Facebook where companies will use a promo code for facebook users to receive 20% off on certain items. When I had my internship, I used Facebook as a marketing tool. I would create a special facebook promo code for our customers so that they could receive a special deal only on facebook. It can be effective, but it has to be limited because if you use it too much, it sorta brings your products down. But, that’s just me.

  • June 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Very nice blog entry Edward! Yes, social media is not to be underestimated. There are just so many pros with using social media marketing. Social media can build brand loyalty, encourage open communication, and companies may even interact with their customers. The downside would be that it can also work against companies if negative PR were to happen. Very interesting read.

  • June 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Well written blog entry. I am a Facebook and Instagram user as well. I do check most of the times the deals that my favorite companies or stores provide on the Facebook feed page. I agree with the blog that Social Medias are one of the best tools for companies to advertise their products. Most of the coupons and deals attract and invite people to visit their page.

  • June 10, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Using Instagram can be good for some companies, especially ones showing off their products. But I too believe social media can make a HUGE difference in promoting and boosting sales. Good Blog Edward.

  • March 21, 2014 at 12:22 am

    In this day and age social media is everywhere. It has become such a huge player in our everyday lives that utilizing it for marketing was only a matter of time. Marketing through social media is highly effective and definitely has proven to be successful. Whether it be Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, or Twitter, businesses everywhere are profiting from subtle product placements and advertisements in our daily feeds.

Comments are closed.