The Purpose of Social Media Marketing

The best practice and most basic definition for social media marketing (or social media optimization) is to market a product or service by matching content to what a specific online community is looking for, engaging discussions about that product and service, and creating a viral buzz.  Social media marketing uses sites like Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter along with blogs, forums, and other online social outlets to generate user based interest and get people talking – and buying!

As the economy continues to struggle and marketing budgets stay lean, marketers are seeking new cost-effective ways to reach their target markets.  Consumers are also becoming increasingly skeptical of many traditional media outlets and spend a lot of time online verifying what they see offline.

One of the prohibiting factors for most companies while considering a social media campaign is that it takes time and resources.  This is why most companies will outsource it to an Internet marketing company.  A good social media optimization campaign in conjunction with an SEO campaign can get expensive simply because of the hours it takes to properly engage the audience.

There are many resouces online that marketers are taking advantage of to learn more tips on effective social media campaigns.  The most important things to remember are to follow the rules of the community (written and unwritten), respect the users in that community (do not spam), and ask them what they want and need (the best way to define your brand to that community is to see what they are looking for and cater to those needs).  So again, remember:

  • Gain insight into the communities you are looking for:  learn about what the users are looking for, what their interests are and see how other companies market to them
  • Get involved in the conversations that are happening online: some of them might be about you, so engage the users and offer valuable information about your products and services
  • Do not spam:  improper use of social media outlets is frowned upon and will soon be banned, so play by the rules and offer valuable content
  • Link Building:  use social media as a way to build good inbound links but do it in a way that adds value to the community.  If your content is good an adds value, people will talk about it, blog and the links will come!

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