Research Process


Contemporary Context

As student with an interest in social media marketing and the production side of the process I do aspire to various people who have both practically and conceptually informed the practice of social media marketing.

These people consist of,

1) Calvin Stowell, director of digital content at

2) David Lubars, chief creative officer at BBDO North America

3) Tracy Melton, senior vice president of entertainment marketing and branding at TNT, TBS and TCM

4) Steve Baer, managing partner of the brand design group at Code and Theory

5) Jeff Greenspan, freelance, previously chief creative officer at BuzzFeed

Each of these practitioners has influenced the way social marketing is used and viewed in their field. Calvin Stowell directs the non-profit organisation ‘Do Something’, which aims to motivate teens to get up and take action for social change. Stowell uses the tool of celebrity partnerships, socially relevant projects and emotionally engaging social media content to market his position to the targeted audience. Stowell has been the man behind several viral social campaigns, one of which is the ‘The Hunt’ campaign where the organisation seeks out young people to find small things around their home to send down to the homeless shelter. Alongside this, Stowell partnered with Toyota to allow participants a chance of winning a scholarship worth $10,000.

Stowell’s practice in this field, with regular posting on Do Something accumulates more than one million views.


Calvin Stowell – This post was seen more than 1.578 million times.

Tracy Melton is another practitioner who has influence the work of social media marketing within the entertainment industry, after joining TNT in 2006 Melton has overseen the creation of a Facebook Timeline for the show ‘Dallas’, it chronicled everything that happened in the show’s 14 season run as well as filling in the blanks during the 20-year break prior to it’s reboot.

“The ‘Dallas’ social campaign also summarized every old episode in a 140-character tweet and according to TNT ‘created the ‘Rise to Power’ social loyalty program, which gave each character a power ranking that could be influenced by fans.’” (Stampler, 2013)

Tracy Melton – “Dallas” Campaign on Facebook

Within both of these campaigns there are various steps that need to be followed before establishing a social media campaign. The first is to ask yourself who the target audience is. Once this is clear you can then pick the best format to present your campaign on, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube.

According to Duct Tape Marketing (2016), there are 7 steps for a effective social media marketing plan and they are as followed:

  • Audit your current social presence
  • Document who your ideal customer is
  • Create a social media mission statement
  • Identify key success metrics
  • Create and curate engaging content
  • Invest in a social media management tool
  • Track, analyse, optimise

All of these practitioner’s see great following with each of their social media campaigns, whether it be for social awareness or advertising opportunities. Compared to other contemporaries in their field they are among some of the best in the business. Creating great successes for their companies and their brands, as well as engaging effectively with their target audience.

Historical Context


From this timeline it is evident that 1999 was the spark of something extraordinary, leading on to a plethora of sites that would now shape the way marketers advertise. These developments have enabled people like Tracy Melton, Calvin Stewoll and many others to create new techniques to incorporate into their advertising practices. This now leads us into another avenue, which looks at behavioural attitudes towards social media and how they can affect marketing strategies.

An article written on Buffer Social by Courtney Seiter (2015), states that there is a science to social media that can be linked and used in various marketing techniques, these are two chemicals in the brain dopamine and oxytocin.

“Dopamine is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information and by reward cues – pretty much the exact conditions of social media.

Oxytocin is referred to as “the cuddle chemical” as it is released when you kiss or hug” (Seiter, 2015).

It is with these chemicals that engagement with social media is so high and why it gives marketers a perfect advantage against another media channel. When using the elements of social media in campaigns it can target more people.

For example using emoji’s within media campaigns is shown as “a really unique way – as self-expression, not advertising” (Seiter, 2015).

In order to use this in a practical and material way, more research would need to be done into which target audiences felt the same way about the different elements of social media, in order to utilise those in the best way possible.

Theoretical/Conceptual Research

Identify 5 academic papers related to your field using the Libraries search function or using Google school scholar.

  • Hannah, R & Rohm, A & Crittenden, V.L, 2011, ‘We’re all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem’, Business Horizons, 54, no. 3, pp. 265-273

This journal article speaks the truth about those increasing active roles that are being placed on companies to generate content for their brands in order to start a conversation with their consumers. It touches on the challenging factor that though companies have social media accounts they are ineffectively using them. It is still unknown how to measure social media success as a form of advertising on a company’s behalf, however, this article debunks that by offering solutions based on theories to combat this issue. However, this article does state that companies are struggling to integrate each social media platform and traditional media practices to deliver the same message to their audience. There have been many campaigns that have gone above and beyond to showcase how they integrate both new media and traditional media in their advertising campaigns, BONDS ‘The Boys’ campaign highlights how businesses are learning how social media can work to their advantage along side traditional media practices.

  • Kaplan, A.M & Haenlein, M, 2011, ‘Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance’, Business Horizons, 54, no. 3, pp. 253-263

Kaplan and Haenlein’s article discusses the concept of viral marketing that was first introduced in 1996 by Jeffrey Rayport, and therefore providing an insight into the relationship between social media and viral marketing. The article defines viral marketing as the ‘electronic word-of-mouth’, separating it from social media as a different element. However, I believe that social media and viral marketing go hand-in-hand you can’t have one without the other, each element within social media becomes a domino effect for viral media to come into play. Overall, this article has created an understanding of a step-by-step plan of social media and viral marketing for all business types.

  • Gholston, K & Kuofie, M, 2016, ‘Social Media for Marketing by Small Businesses’, Journal of Marketing and Management, 7, no. 1, pp. 24-39

This particular article gives a great understand to a basic understanding of how to establish an online media presence for small businesses. However, the article does state that the problem with social media is that “customers have no shame”, I do not believe this as true, customers help develop a businesses social media channel by offering advice and options to make it more successful. Therefore the problem lies within an unsuccessful strategic media plan. It is important for businesses to take advantage of their audience by investigating what their habits are on social media and in their channels, what is their level of engagement with their brand and how are they seen. This article does offer solutions to measure social media effectiveness and how to produce a plan that will benefit the brand and the consumer.

  • Berthon, P.R & Pitt, L.F & Plangger, K & Shapiro, D, 2012, ‘Marketing meets Web 2.0, social media, and creative consumers: Implications for international marketing strategy, Business Horizons, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 261-271

This article brings to light the history of social media with in 21st century and how it has brought about both opportunities and challenges for marketers. With social media comes constant measuring and constant attention to detail, trends and consumer behaviour, more so than what would be measured through traditional forms of media. As social media is forever changing it is important to businesses to stay up to date with technology, customers and social media itself. The solution this article provides is allowing for a deeper understanding of social media and training into how it can be used effectively from a marketing standpoint.

  • Saravanakumar, M & SuganthaLakshmi, T, 2012, ‘Social Media Marketing’, Life Science Journal, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 4444-4451

Saravanakumar and SuganthaLakshmi’s article also places great emphasis on having a social media strategy in order for companies to make a real impact on their audience who are now moving closer to the online world everyday. It also allows constant and quick connect with their consumer’s who may want to voice concerns or praise the business for their efforts. This article makes it clear how social media has an advantage on businesses, as there is always a two-way communication avenue open. Again this article places emphasis on knowing the media channel you are perusing, knowing and understanding who uses each platform and what for so marketers can tailor their adverts accordingly.


Digital Trends Staff 2016, The History Of Social Networking, Digital Trends, weblog post, 14 May, viewed 6 March 2017 <>

Duct Tape Marketing 2016, 7 Steps For An Effective Social Media Marketing Plan, Duct Tape Marketing, weblog post, N/A, viewed 6 March 2017 <>

Gaskin, C 2014, 7 Days, 7 Casues, 7 Challenges – The Hunt Campaign, KTLA, weblog post, 8 August, viewed 6 March 2017, <>

Hendricks, D 2013, Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now, Small Business Trends, weblog post, 8 May, viewed 6 March 2017 <>

Seiter, C 2015, The Psychology of Social Media: The Deep Impulses That Drive Us Online, Buffer Social, weblog post, 10 August, viewed 6 March 2017 <>

Stampler, L 2013, RANKED: The 30 Most Creative People In Social Media Marketing, Business Insider Australia, weblog post, 3 July, viewed 6 March 2017 <>


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