What Is Social Media Marketing?

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  • Written By: Charity Delich
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2014
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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.


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