Date of Original Version
In today’s technology driven world, social networking sites have become an avenue where retailers can extend their marketing campaigns to a wider range of consumers. Chi (2011, 46) defines social media marketing as a “connection between brands and consumers, [while] offering a personal channel and currency for user centered networking and social interaction.” The tools and approaches for communicating with customers have changed greatly with the emergence of social media; therefore, businesses must learn how to use social media in a way that is consistent with their business plan (Mangold and Faulds 2099). This is especially true for companies striving to gain a competitive advantage. This review examines current literature that focuses on a retailer’s development and use of social media as an extension of their marketing strategy. This phenomenon has only developed within the last decade, thus social media research has largely focused on (1) defining what it is through the explanation of new terminology and concepts that makeup its foundations, and (2) exploring the impact of a company’s integration of social media on consumer behavior. This paper begins with an explanation of terminology that defines social media marketing, followed by a discussion of the four main themes found within current research studies: Virtual Brand Communities, Consumers Attitudes and Motives, User Generated Content, and Viral Advertising.