Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Faison P. Gibson

Second Advisor

Harash Sachden

Third Advisor

Paul Chao


The proliferation of social media usage has made engagement with social networks a marketing imperative. The effectiveness of any marketing effort is largely dependent on the quality and implementation of its strategy. Social media generates an intense amount of interest as a marketing platform because of its low cost and wide reach. However, this study finds that leveraging social media may be far more effective as a public relations asset than as an advertising platform. This study in no way deals with the effects of paid advertising on social media, but focuses instead on utilizing social media for unpaid marketing communication. This study also finds that the perception of social media as a low cost marketing platform is misleading. While free communication is the very foundation of social media, the intense amount of time and effort that is continuously required to execute a successful social media strategy should not be underestimated.

The following research report chronicles the development and implementation of a social media strategy and examines its effects through a participant observation case study. The intensive and immersive nature of this methodology grants unique insight, but its narrow scope also limits its implications. This case study can inform the development of other more general research projects with the aim of testing if its findings are universally applicable. Although this study is by no means conclusive, companies and individuals can use its findings as a guide in the creation of their own social media strategy.

Included in

Marketing Commons