The advantages of social media, including rapid information dissemination and easy access at little or no cost to the user, have placed them at the heart of communications. As a result, regardless of who they are (e.g., governmental organisation, NGO, terrorist group), all strategic communicators today have to utilise social media. More specifically, it is necessary for strategic communicators to have a good understanding of how to guide word-of-mouth communications. While there is an emerging dialogue in the strategic communications journals about social media, it is still at a nascent stage. However, this area has received substantial attention from marketing scholars over the years. In this literature review paper, we aim to contribute to the development of this growing stream of research by summarising findings of the marketing literature on social media and word-of-mouth communications that are useful for strategic communications purposes. Overall, this paper has implications for the theory and practice of strategic communications.

Keywords - digital communications, social media, word-of-mouth (WOM), literature review, strategic communications, strategic communication

About the Authors: Aybars Tuncdogan is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Technology at King’s College London. Prior to this, he worked as a Lecturer in Marketing and Strategy at Cardiff University, and completed his PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Aidan Hughes is currently working towards his PhD at King’s College London. He works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at King’s College London and the London School of Economics, and also as a Senior Paid Social Lead at Merkle.