People worldwide are largely engaged and attached with the web 2.0 technology and Social media platforms. By the same token, businesses start looking at such technologies as effective mechanisms to interact more with their customers. Equally, the related issues of social media marketing have been also the focus of attention for academics and researchers to expand the current understanding about such phenomena over the marketing area. Accordingly, the main aim of this study is to systematically examine and review the current studies that have conducted over the related area of social media and marketing. By reviewing approximately 144 articles, the researchers were able to provide an overview of the main themes and trends covered by the relevant literature such as the role of social media on advertising, the electronic word of mouth, customers’ relationship management, and firms’ brands and performance. In this review, it has also studied the most common research approaches adopted to examine the related issues of social media marketing. Further discussion is also introduced followed by an explanation of the current review limitations and recommended directions to be examined by future studies.
People increasingly look at social media applications as an important part of their daily life and more likely to move their interactions to the virtual platforms (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter). This, in turn, positively reflect on their orientations and behaviours toward all kinds of social media technology as reported by Alalwan et al. (2016a), Dwivedi et al. (2015), Rathore et al. (2016), Taylor et al. (2011), Zhu and Chen (2015). Therefore, social media applications have been observed as one of the most efficient and influential implications that have been progressively engaged in most aspects of people’s lives (i.e. social life, commercial life, business life, educational sector, political life) (Alalwan et al., 2016a; Algharabat et al., 2017; Abed et al., 2015; Hawkins and Vel, 2013; Hinz et al., 2011; Rathore et al., 2016; Usher et al., 2014; Zeng and Gerritsen, 2014; Zhu and Chen, 2015).
6. Limitations and future research directions
The focus of the current study was exclusively on the main body of literature of social media in the marketing context while it was ignored large part of studies that have conducted over different areas such as education, political, sociocultural environments. Thus, it could be worth considering these studies conducted over different areas by future studies. Even though this study does a contribution by theoretically scan the main body of literature, there is still a need for statistical evidences from these studies by conducting a meta-analysis study especially in the light of the fact that there is a good of number of quantitative studies that have conducted over the area of social media marketing. As a new trend and topic, researchers need to spend more efforts on how such phenomenon could behave different from platform to another; over different countries (i.e. developed, emerging, developing); cultures (i.e. collectivism versus individualism); and different contexts (i.e. tourism, sports, governmental).