Purpose: Due to the emergent use of social media for marketing purposes, and the limited number of studies focusing on the use of social media by firms, the purpose of this paper is to explore the inclusion of social networks in the traditional marketing mix models. Design/methodology/approach: A sample of 20 small and large Italian liquor producers was used, and their Facebook profiles were content analyzed. Findings: The results provide evidence about the emerging shift from the use of social media for communication purposes through static advertising (characterized by pictures and slogans), to its use as an interactive channel that can influence consumers’ purchasing behaviour through multimedia tools (i.e. games and interactive applications able to solicit users’ interest), by emphasizing the extent to which a higher level of participation by a firm involves a higher level of consumer interaction. The findings also suggest that the firm’s participation should be considered as a new element of the traditional marketing mix model and as an additional tool for efficient market sizing and sensing. Originality/value: The study offers findings on actual usage of Facebook as part of marketing mix strategies based on large and small enterprises operating in the food and beverage sector, where a dearth of studies is observed. The study enhances and advances the social media and marketing literatures.
- MGMT Marketing and Consumption
- Marketing communication
- Marketing strategy
- Social media management