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What is Social Media Marketing?

By Charity Delich
Updated May 16, 2024
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Social media marketing involves promoting products, services, or content using a collaborative form of Internet social media, which is typically accessible on the Web or by phone. Social media marketing strategies usually combine the elements of social interfaces, technology, and words and image construction. Most forms of social media marketing target Internet users who are engaged in a common action, such as creating user profiles, compiling networks of friends, acquaintances, or business connections, or reviewing and rating Web content. For example, a musical group may put up a fan page on a social networking site in order to promote its albums and concert tour schedule.

The use of social media networks, which include online communities such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, is one of the most common ways to conduct social media marketing. Media marketers may also use social bookmarking sites, forums, blogs, and review or rating Web sites. In addition, social media promotion can be done through news aggregators, virtual 3D networks, and social media sharing sites, such as sites that allow for photograph, video, and music swapping.

Companies can use social media development and marketing tactics in order to reach their public relations and product sales goals. Typically, a company’s social media policy involves promoting its site or business lines through social media channels as part of the company's overall advertisement strategy. For example, a company might sponsor its own page or a page for one of its brands on an online social network that allows company supporters to become fans of the company or its brands.

When it comes to advertising, social media marketing differs from traditional advertising formats, such as television commercials or magazine ads. Typically, social media marketers don’t force advertisements on their target audiences. Instead, using a social medium, they focus on developing an interactive dialogue with the audience. In general, advertisers who use social media marketing have less control because content is published mainly by site users rather than by the advertiser’s employees. Advertisers usually conduct social media research prior to choosing the medium that is best for their products, services, or content.

For politicians, social media marketing has become an increasingly important tool. A politician may, for instance, create a blog that allows blog followers to post comments, links, and other content. Social media politics involve using social media networks or sites as a venue for debating political issues or critiquing political candidates. Some of these networks and sites include political fact-checking.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Oct 20, 2014

@turquoise-- Yes, social media marketing is a lot of fun, especially if you're someone who already spends a lot of time on them anyway.

If you know statistics, that's even great. My brother is a social media marketing manager and I know that they work with a lot of statistics. There is also room for brainstorming and creativity in this job. If you're going to be a part of developing new ideas to market stuff on social media, creativity is required.

By turquoise — On Oct 20, 2014

I've just applied to a social media marketing job. I hope I get it.

I don't have a lot of experience in this area but I am very familiar with social media and very tech savvy. This position just requires the use of social media to get content out there. It's also about checking the results to see how many people the content has reached and what could be done to improve that. It sounds like a lot of fun to me.

By bluedolphin — On Oct 20, 2014

TV and radio ads are still important but social media marketing is becoming a major thing now. I can't even imagine why a company would not want to market themselves through social media. There is so much potential there because it provides access to a lot of people, far more than what most mediums provide.

The other great part is that it costs less too. Just maintaining Facebook and Twitter accounts that are regularly updated is a great way to advertise. But it's also relatively cheap to advertise on social media sites. Even if people don't immediately check out the company's website or products, they become familiar with the brand and that's very important too. Social media marketing is the way to go.

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