Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Internet » Marketing & Advertising » Social Media Marketing

This is a guide to social media marketing, which is the use of social media platforms to promote a business, service, or website.

Although search engine optimization continues to be the focus of most digital marketing campaigns, the importance of social media is becoming increasingly important, particularly given the popularity of such social media platforms as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yelp, and YouTube.

Social media marketing generally includes social bookmarking sites, like Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Slashdot, and Stumbleupon, which are, in effect, crowdsourced directories of other websites that users consider to be interesting or worthwhile.

Social media sites and social bookmarking sites offer advertisements that will appear within individual user communities and categories, and these ads reach a targeted audience because they can be placed in designated communities, based on interests or other demographics. Common among sites is the ability for users to vote on which ones will be shown on the pages they frequent, or to choose not to have ads from a specific company shown.

Also important in social media marketing, besides the paid advertising, is that social media sites allow users and customers to post comments and reviews of various products, services, and companies. Such user-generated content is known as earned media and can be more effective than marketer-prepared advertising.

Social networking sites allow businesses, services, and organizations to interact with customers and potential customers, building relationships, and generating personal interactions that can lead to brand loyalty, more so than in traditional methods of advertising and marketing. By choosing who to follow on these sites, companies and products can reach a narrow target audience of people who have an interest in what they are selling.

One reason for the growing significance of social media is the growing use of mobile phones and decreasing use of desktop computers. Mobile phones are a boon to the social media market because their web browsing capabilities allow users to automatically access social networking sites, and the navigation of social media sites is generally easier on the small screen than that of traditional websites.

Strategies for the use of social media as a marketing tool include the passive approach and the active approach.

In the passive approach, companies use social media as a way of hearing from customers and prospective customers, paying attention to their recommendations and reviews of products, services, and brands, in much the same way that they would traditionally use focus groups and surveys. Social media can be used as a tool for avoiding costly market research.

Often used simultaneously, is the active approach to social media marketing, the active approach involves interacting with these customers and making use of what is usually a targeted audience. It may also involve advertising to this audience. Some social media outlets, such as Facebook, allow advertisers to hyper-target their ads, using not only public profile information but that which users might hide from others.

Small businesses may also use the social media to promote their products or brands, following users who reside in their local area, advertising to people who live or work near their stores or places of business. Review sites, such as Yelp, which allow users to review local businesses, restaurants, and hotels, are highly influential, particularly at the local level. Positive customer reviews will influence others to become customers, while bad reviews may keep them away.

Whatever the product or service, businesses use social media marketing to communicate to those who are interested in whatever they are selling, including those who are not familiar with their brand. They also use social media to learn from their customers.

A presence in social media can also affect a company's more traditional Internet marketing, as those who are not active on social media tend to show up less in organic Google searches.

Companies may elect to handle their own social media accounts or they might engage a social media marketing company.

The focus of this category is on the use of social media in marketing and may include links to sites offering social media marketing tools or services, and it may also include those offering information that may be used to companies or individuals who intend to handle their social media campaigns in-house.



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