Journal of Media and Communication Studies Vol. 3(7), pp. 234-242, July 2011
Available online http://www.academicjournals.org/jmcs
ISSN 2141 – 2545 ©2011 Academic Journals
Full Length Research Paper
Analysis of social networking sites: A study on
effective communication strategy in developing brand
P. Sri Jothi*, M. Neelamalar and R. Shakthi Prasad
Department of Media Sciences, College of Engineering, Anna University, Guindy, Chennai, 600 025, India.
Accepted 18 March 2011
Internet is the emerging information technology with the credibility of immediacy and fastness, thus, it
brings globalization in every aspects of communication. Communication through internet is more
specified, with effective interactive strategy among its users. In recent days, internet advertising has
taken new forms which have more advantages over the traditional mediums like print media, television
and radio. Marketing communication is becoming precise, personal, interesting, interactive and social.
Different strategies of communication are followed in various social networking sites like Face book,
Twitter and Orkut. They not only create impact over the audience but also make them interact with the
marketing statistics created. People get attached to brand communication in social networking sites
than usual banner and pop up ads. These networking sites bring more interactive communication with
advertising. Social networking sites will become the primary arena for highly targeted marketing and
advertising. Therefore, it is necessary to study the effectiveness of brand communication strategy
followed in social networking sites which are mainly accessed by Indian users. This research attempts
to find the effectiveness of brand communication strategy in promoting and advertising their brand in
social networking sites. The effectiveness is determined with the help of survey from people who use
these sites, and the content of three social networking sites is analyzed.
Key words: Social networking sites, brand, communication, strategy, social media.
In its current form, internet is primarily a source of
communication, information and entertainment, but
increasingly, it also acts as a vehicle for commercial
transactions. Since the explosion of the web as a
business medium, one of its primary uses has been for
marketing. Soon, the web could become a critical
distribution channel for the majority of successful
enterprises. One among them is marketing and spreading
brand communication through Social networking sites
*Corresponding author. E-mail: email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 044-2235 8245/8247 or 91
Social networking websites are online communities of
people who share interests and activities or who are
interested in exploring the interests and activities of
others. They typically provide a variety of ways for users
to interact, through chat, messaging, email, video, voice
chat, file-sharing, blogging and discussion groups. As
World Wide Web grew in popularity, social networking
moved to web-based applications. In 2002, social
networking era really started. In 2006, anyone with an
email address could sign up in social networking sites
Now advertisers target more over to these media due
to high rush in varsity of audiences. So they hire this as
the ideal platform to communicate their brand and create
an effective brand identity through highly effective and
interactive communication strategy. Most of the
advertisers present their ads in interactive form so that
people tend more to check them and gain a little
knowledge about the product. There are various forms of
brand communication available in social networking sites.
The effective way of brand communication present in
these networking sites would be the main aim of the
Social media advertising is a paid form of brand, service
or business promotion and requires a proper and planned
communicative message and budget. Advertising is
customer centric in nature. Customers play an important
role in any major or minor communication because they
are the one who are going to decide the fate of the
advertising communication. Some benefits of social
network advertising include:
1. Popularizing your brand, idea or service to the target
2. Informing target audience about your brand or
service’s presence in the market.
3. Encouraging healthy competition in the market.
4. Providing social benefits for the brand.
5. Making the audience to interact and keep them intact
with the brand.
Advertising in internet provides a major contribution to
brand competition in the market. Advertising here not
only provides information about a product or service but
also promotes innovation. Besides it also facilitates
consumer satisfaction. Big and small companies,
individuals of all walks of life, major and minor events,
concepts, etc., nowadays lay their base on social network
advertising to get recognized in the market (Zarrella,
With over 200 million active users, Face book, Twitter
and Orkut have become a personal, product and
corporate branding hub in India. Every brand that exists
on social networking sites has the same core features
and benefits, such as the ability to create a page, share
resources, add multimedia and much more (Eric, 2008).
The effective brand communication strategies are
analyzed to find the impact among the users.
Social networking sites
A social networking site creates network communication
among the user community. Though social networking
site serves for communication purposes among special
interest groups, the marketing strategy has also entered
this medium for its reach. People get exposed to various
kinds of brand communication through this media. They
Jothi et al. 235
tend to interact with the brand and also get awareness
about the brand and its service in an interesting way
(Nicole, 2007). Hence, there is a need to study the
effective way of communication in branding the product in
social networking sites and analyze its reach among the
people and their perceptions in this research.
In recent trend of marketing in social networking sites,
various brand communications are widely used to attract
targeted leads. So, this study would help to know the
effectiveness of communication and strategy done
through social networking sites which make the target
audience to participate in this kind of advertising. This is
mainly studied on networking sites which are popular
among Indian users were Face book, Twitter and Orkut.
This study would help the advertisers to understand the
effective communication strategy to communicate their
brand among the users.
Objectives of the study
1. To analyze the effective communication strategy
through social networking sites.
2. To study the effectiveness of brand communication
through social networking sites from its users and
3. To find the impact of interaction through these
communication among Indian users (with reference to
Face book, Twitter and Orkut).
Scott (2009) states the reasons for brand promoters
preferring online web for marketing is that the tools,
techniques and content are constantly evolving. The
buyers reward creativity by responding to the online
“If you are open to trying out new things, you can be first
in your industry to use something new to communicate to
Marketing in some social networking websites are still the
most popular in their niche. Shih (2009) says that there
are hundreds of millions of active users across sites like
Face book, Hi5, Orkut and MySpace. 2.6 billion min are
spent on Face book each day. These websites are
enabling brands to engage the right people in the right
conversation at right time. Marketing the brands through
social media is becoming precise, personal, interesting,
interactive and social.
Weber (2009) says promoting a community is just like
as promoting a new brand product or service to the
consumers. Social media is used to communicate people
in the promotional aspect and inclined to involve the
236 J. Media Commun. Stud.
people. Traditional advertising and direct marketing in
social media is to send people to the digital community to
be informed, entertained and heard. Users find
appealing, a value high enough to encourage them to
Borges (2009) finds that today's buyers want to be
engaged differently than in years past and many
traditional marketing tactics simply do not work anymore.
Social media marketing is a revolutionary way to build
solid relationships with buyers. Low cost, brand building,
staffing advantages, loyalty and level playing field are key
benefits of social networking sites as a successful
Zarrella (2010) says the roots of online social
networking can be traced to the 1980s bulletin board
systems (BBS). These systems allowed the users to
create personal profiles, helps to share information by
sending private messages, public messages and post
events at low speed connectivity. After emanation of
social networking technology in the internet world, it grew
higher and popular among the internet user.
Lacy and Hernandez (2009) says Twitter gives the
ability to share nearly 140- characters thoughts in a split
second, where user can easily share links to press
releases and stories about their business, service or
product. Making tweets interesting and diverse, there is a
more possibility of increasing the followers, by consider
with news sharing and stories about the industry that they
The rules of marketing had to change and the web has
proved a catalyst in bringing the changes forward and
amplifying their scale. The sudden emergence of the
Web 2.0 marketing techniques demand additional
approaches, while most marketers are still wrestling with
the first generation, savvy brands are exploring the
landscape that social media and social networks create
for marketers. These techniques are allowing much
deeper drivers in social change to be unleashed, with a
profound impact on planning customer connections. The
new generation of relationship marketing responds to the
additional challenges of digital media literacy and in the
right hands can trigger a rebuild of the entire marketing
mix through different strategies. Relationship marketing
for the Face book generation demands both thinking and
acting differently (Chaffey 2003).
Stroud (2007) says that the ability of social networking
sites to generate these huge volumes of web traffic is
proof of their huge popularity. Google, Yahoo and News
International have bought themselves a presence in the
social networking arena. The detailed rationale for these
acquisitions differs but all have a common theme of
wanting access to the enormous audiences.
Ricadela (2007) says, Coca-Cola has been running
promotions on MySpace for the past two years for brands
including Cherry Coke and Fanta and has promoted Diet
Coke and other drinks on Google's YouTube.
Smith (2010) says that Face book is becoming one of
the great internet communications of people time now
days. Whereas many companies have tried to emulate
Face book’s success or challenge it in one geography or
another, Face book has proven that the core asset on
which all of its services are built - the social graph - is
much more defensible and powerful than many others
Visitors to social networking sites are significantly more
likely than average to visit leisure-oriented retail site
categories, such as music, jewelry/luxury goods/
accessories, consumer electronics and apparel. Heavy
social networking visitors are defined as the top 20% of
visitors based on time spent on social networking sites.
People typically enjoy sharing their experiences with
these products, whether it is to talk about their new
iPhone or the pair of designer jeans they just bought.
Social networking sites offer the venue for those
conversations to occur. Social media advertising is ideal
for promoting brand recognition, although click-through
rates are not so strong. Still, there is no doubt that
advertising via social media sites is an effective way to
increase your overall revenue stream (Brinlee, 2007).
To analyze and find the effectiveness of communication strategy in
developing brand, communication through social networking sites
was done with the survey method and content analysis in the
Methods of data collection
The survey method helped to identify the reach of the brand among
its target audience, ways of impact, usage of these social
networking sites and access to these form of communication. And
the content analysis is another method used to analyze the
communication strategy of different social networking sites with
certain parameters among top three Indian social networking sites
which are tabulated with results.
This research study adopted survey and content analysis in order to
find the effectiveness and the impact of communication in branding
any product or the service among the target market through social
networking sites like Face book, Twitter and Orkut.
Survey was conducted randomly among Face book, Twitter and
Orkut user community, by sending questionnaire through online to
collect the individual opinion from the respondents.
Non probability sampling technique is used to collect the opinion
Jothi et al. 237
Table 1. Usage of internet.
Once a week(%)
2 to 3 days a week (%)
1 or 2 hours a day (%)
More than 3 hours a day(%)
Table 2. Awareness of social networking sites.
from the online respondents. The total population is social
networking user community, but to collect the effective data the
sampling is constrained to the target population like young adults,
graduates within the age of 16 years to 30 years. The sampling size
In content analysis, the following three popular social networking
sites were selected to find the effective brand communication
among its users (Face book, Twitter and Orkut).
Parameters and units of analysis
1. Target group: category of audience visiting these sites.
2. Types of advertisements: what are the types of brand
communication followed by them?
3. Ads placement: how do these sites place their ad in their pages?
4. Communication strategy: kinds of brand promotion used by them.
5. Visual appealing factors: regarding the appearance of these
6. User Interaction: kinds of participation with the brand.
7. Accessibility: how legibly they present themselves.
8. User interest: the forms of expectations from users in these sites.
9. Customization: the factors that the users could create by
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Usage of internet by the user
It has been found that 12% of audience use internet once
a week, 19% of the respondents use 2 to 3 days a week.
30% of the respondents use 1 or 2 h a day and the
remaining 39% of users are accessing internet more than
3 h a day. It is understood that the new media and its
technology is an emerging trend in communication which
attracts almost all the people, if they have knowledge of
computers. So this digital media has more snatchers
towards its communication and internet is becoming part
of necessary communication among the students and
professionals, etc (Table 1).
Awareness of social networking sites
From this result, it is observed that nearly 98% of the
internet users are aware of social networking sites and
only 2% of them are clueless. Although the concept of
computer-based communities dates back to the early
days of computer networks, only some years after the
advent of the internet online social networks have met
public and commercial in a successive manner. At the
most basic level, an online social network is an internet
community where individuals interact, often through
profiles that represent their selves to others (Donath and
Boyd, 2004). Social networks have grown rapidly, and
some like face book, orkut, have achieved the mass
market and penetrated in a few months since their
inception, such applications have infringed their users in
different strategy to interact with more people (Table 2).
Number of profiles in social networking sites
The study found that all the respondents that is, 100% of
respondents have profiles on Face book. And also, 88%
respondents of the same group have profiles on Orkut,
62% respondents have connected to twitter and 37% of
users have account on other social networking sites. The
users can create many accounts in different social
networking site. Face book is useful for communication,
self-promotion, to know about friends’ community and to
find the missed out school and college mates. The peers
use the Face book, Orkut and Twitter for the same
reasons to share the information and communication.
Due to this reasons, Face book, Orkut and Twitter were
more popular among the internet users of youth
population comparatively with other social networking
sites (Table 3).
Ads in different social networking sites
From the earlier mentioned, it is found that 45% of the
users find Face book as a well communicated social
networking sites, which promotes more brands and
238 J. Media Commun. Stud.
Table 3. Number of profiles in social networking sites.
Table 4. Ads communicated in these social networking sites.
Table 5. Exposure of different kinds of ads.
Web banners (%)
Table 6. Communication creates trust on ads.
advertisements, gives information about product and
service which is useful for the young user community in
an interactive way to learn more about the particular
brands, 12% user suggests Twiiter, please follow one
pattern all here small words has effective communication
of advertisements. 28% of users find Orkut as the second
option in communicating brand advertisements (Table 4).
Exposure of different kinds of ads
From the data, it is found that 32% of respondents have
come across web banner ads in these social networking
sites like Face book, Twitter and Orkut; whereas 8% cut
across pop up ads and flash ads in various websites and
31% of users found video ads in YouTube and in other
sites. Google, Yahoo and News International have
bought themselves a presence in the social networking
arena with different communication strategy to have
innovative appearance in content and display (Stroud,
2007). The detailed rationale for these acquisitions
differs, but all have a common theme of essential access
to the enormous audiences of these sites (Table 5).
Communication creates trust on ads
From the survey data, it is understood that 38% of user
agreed and satisfied with ads appearing in social
networking sites, whereas 11% of the user disagreed and
unsatisfied with certain communication of information.
Only 51% of the respondents found it neutral. The web
has proved a catalyst in bringing the changes forward
and amplifying their scale in creating trustworthiness
Accessibility of ads
Only 8% of the total samples say that they have never
accessed or shown interest to the ads displayed in social
networking sites, while browsing internet for other
communication purposes. And 36% of the respondents
use to access often and were interested to listen to the
advertisements of various brands, 35% user says they
listen to the brand communication and also link to the
brand sites to gather more information and 21% of the
user access according to the way of communication it
appears, because sometimes the brand promotion could
be in the form of display ads, interactive feedback forms
or as interactive games, accessing of advertisements
information differs sometimes according to the format of
brand communication . Today's customers want to be
engaged differently than in years past and many
traditional marketing tactics simply do not work anymore.
Social media marketing is a revolutionary way to build
solid relationships with customers long before first
contact with fun, attractive messages and interactions
Jothi et al. 239
Table 7. Access of these ads.
Table 8. Brand Communication that attracts the users.
Games, quiz or
Table 9. Impact of communication.
(Borges, 2009) (Table 7).
Brand communication that attracts the users
Games, quiz and updates of latest information are the
kind of interactive communication messages that attracts
28% of users. 26% of users are attracted to fan pages
and posts. 20% of users are pulled their interests towards
flash ads, 14% of users listened to video ads and
remaining 12% of users are interested to traditional
banner ads. Most of the social networking websites are
enabling brands to engage the right people in the right
conversation at right time (Shih, 2009). Nowadays
communication on branding in social networking sites is
more personal, contentious, fascinating and influencing
among the user community (Table 8).
Impact of communication
According to the respondents, 67% of user agreed that
the communication strategy used in brand
communication creates impact on certain brands
effectively and also which could helps them to recall the
same often and interactively. 24% of users said that it
partially creates impact and traffic of communication,
which result to confusion in users mind. The remaining
respondents almost 9%, says that it does not create
much impact on ads but still effective for other
communication purpose like sharing and chatting
information (Table 9).
The three social networking sites Face book, Twitter and
Orkut were chosen to analyze the units of parameters
and the presentations of data are shown in Table 10.
Results of the analysis
As seen earlier, the various brand communication factors
involve in these kinds of social media advertising and day
by day competition among the brands increase. So, to
survive brands, the communicators come up with more
and more innovative, interactive and interesting kinds of
brand communication messages which make the users to
access them and develop closeness with the different
brand communication strategy with attractive name and
1. The finding of the study states that the audiences
respond more to interactive marketing than the traditional
ads followed in internet advertising.
2. Almost everyone is communicated through social
3. Nearly 70% of the audience has impact through ads in
social networking sites and half of them access these ads
e.g. games, quiz, events, etc.
4. Users remember the brand by the way they advertise.
They respond to any new form of advertising which
5. Social networking sites will become the primary arena
for highly targeted marketing and advertising. Social
networking sites present an unmatched opportunity to
6. Users of Face book and Orkut are of same age group
and category. In twitter, people do not show much
interest because it’s just like a micro-blogging site.
7. Interaction is more in the display banners adver-
tisements in Face book and Orkut. All the networking
240 J. Media Commun. Stud.
Table 10. Layout of content analysis with parameters.
Nearly 54% lie in the age group
16 – 30. Graduates and students
of all age
16% stay updated with news,
22% for stay in touch with
friends and to update status.
Graduates > 16 yrs
53% < 25 years, 32% between
25 - 34 years. Graduates,
students of all ages
Poll engagement ads, Video
engagement ads, Banded gift
engagement ads, Event and
hybrid engagement ads, Fan
No advertisements but regular
brand follow ups and updates.
Banner ads, Ad optimization
using ad trackers
Generally placed right hand side
corner and in wall posts
NA (Not applicable)
Right hand side top , above
the profile page e.g.: Docomo
Brand promotion, To sell, users to
interact, brand identity, sharing,
fan and follow ups. Managing
Regular feeds from brands
and retain the brand identity
Using ad tracker, particular
groups are selected and ads
are hosted, themes and fan
pages are one among the
Through fan pages, posts, events
To retweet and reply. Share
messages among brand
Through fan pages and click
No themes, but visually appealing
with cool colors like blue and
Can customize the page and
can ad own contents. Usually
the designs are standard
Themes available. Usually
Clean and clear. Ads and content
gets loaded fast. Friendly user
Easy loading and no time out
Same as facebook, but
contents get loaded slower
than other two.
Expect brand to be communicated
thro games, fan pages and events
Regular updates from
Usually banner ads and
optimization ads. So no
People can create their own ad
and upload, sell products thro
market place option
NA (Not applicable)
Can create own fan pages and
send posts to users and can
also create their own ads.
sites have their own space in their web pages for
8. Communication strategy and user interaction are
unique among each site. Face book promote and allows
user interaction, Twitter regularly feed posts regarding
the brand and Orkut promote through click ads and
promotional brand pages.
9. Face book follows a default backdrop and text whereas
twitter and Orkut can be customized.
10. Accessibility is more in Face book than others. Twitter
show importance only for text.
11. Users expect brand communication than brand
marketing in these sites.
12. People can create their own ads in Orkut and Face
Communication about the product or service provides a
major contribution to brand competition in the market. It
not only provides information about a product or service
but also promotes creative innovation. Besides
advertising, it also facilitates consumer satisfaction. The
hidden fact is that no brand can progress without
effective communication strategy to attract their custo-
mers or users. Big and small variety of brands nowadays
laid their base on social network communication to get
recognized in the target market.
Social networking sites users of Face book, Twitter and
Orkut have become a personal, product and corporate
branding hub in India nowadays in digital era. Every brand
that exists on social networking sites has the same core
features and benefits, such as the ability to create a
page, share resources, add multimedia and much more.
Social networking sites are filled with potential users who
are mainly young adults. They spend more time in these
networking sites due to heavy commercial contents,
entertainment and social gathering. So, product or
service communicators throng their ads in these areas
with more and more interactive and with fascinating
factors so that their brand identity is developed among
the right choice of focused audience. Advertisers and
brands uses social networking sites as the major
resource for their promotion and developing brand
identity among the focused market.
Communication should be more preferred than
advertising: people do not prefer buying products through
social networking sites. So, if the brand is communicated
well and remembered by the audience, then it is a
greatest success to the company for their promotion
through social media.
Promotional way of advertising is best: the usual
banner ads and pop-up ads make the users to ignore
them. So advertising must be interactive, promotional and
in innovative form to hold the audience. It should target
the individuals than the mass. If an ad is hosted for a
group then that would be no advantage in delivering
specified information. Adding more multimedia elements
Jothi et al. 241
to have more interactive factors in fan pages and group
would benefit the brand user.
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242 J. Media Commun. Stud.
Appendix 1. Survey questionnaire.
A Questionnaire regarding the effectiveness of brand communication through Social Networking Sites
1. Age: _________
2. Educational Qualification: _________________________
3. How often do you use internet?
--- Once a week ---- 2 to 3 days a week ---- 1 or 2 hrs a day ---- more than 3 hrs
4. Are you aware of social networking sites?
----Yes ---- No
5. How often do you log in those networking site?
--- Daily --- 2 to 3 times a day --- once a week --- more than 3 times a day
6. How many SNS profile do you have?
---- Orkut ---- Face book ---- Twitter Others _____________
7. In which SNS do you find ads communicated well?
--- Face book ---Orkut ---Twitter ----Others
8. What kinds of ads have you come across in these sites?
--- Web banner ---Pop up ---Flash ads ---Video ads others _________
9. Do you agree ads appearing in SNS?
--- Agree --- Neutral --- Disagree
10. Have you ever accessed these ads coming on your way?
--- Often --- sometimes --- never --- depending on ads
11. What kinds of brand communication attract you in SNS?
--- Interactive --- Flash ads --- Banner ads --- Games, quiz, updates --- video ads
12. Did these kinds of ads made an impact over you?
--- Agree --- Neutral --- Disagree.