What is Social Media Marketing

Trying to Understand What SMM & SMO is?

You’ve heard the phrases “Social Media Marketing” and “Social Media Optimization”, and you are all too familiar with social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but if you’re wondering how those social networks can be used to market your business, then read on.

So what is social media marketing? Some would say that it is the process of paying for ads on social networks and advertising to your target demographics, but others may argue that social media marketing involves all forms of a business’s communications on social media networks. For instance, even a simple post wishing all of your followers a “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays” can in fact be considered marketing. Your brand and your business is tied to your account so anything you post, especially if it gets the attention of your social followers, is a form of marketing your business.

The Difference Between Paid & Non-Paid SMM

So we’ve established that social media marketing can in fact involve non-paid social media sharing, but what is the difference? Well, if you’ve been on any social media network, you’ve likely noticed the sponsored ads on the sides, at the bottom or top, pretty much all over. Those are obviously paid advertisements and can be used to increase brand awareness, drive traffic/sales, or increase social followers.

While I stated previously that non-paid interactions with social networks can still be considered marketing, the big difference between the two – besides the obvious difference of cost – is that paid SMM allows you to introduce your product or brand to users who may not already be familiar with it. Creating posts on your social media accounts, regardless of how good they are, are only effective if people know about you and are following your page. So if you don’t already have a large following, some paid social media marketing could be a good investment to increase your online social following.

What Social Media is, in Relation to SEO

I’ve talked to many business owners who, in response to me talking about social media marketing, have said, “Yes, everyone keeps telling us we need to get on social media accounts, we know, but we just don’t see it as being worth the time because most of our clients don’t spend time on those networks”. While they are likely making way too broad an assumption (Your clients may not use Facebook or Twitter, but what about LinkedIn or Google+?), the fact of the matter is that social media marketing has a bigger purpose than just advertising to social network users.

One of the biggest benefits of social media marketing that many marketing departments fail to take into account, is that it helps with your search engine rankings. Social media engagement has become a huge factor in ranking well on search engines. Just like Google used to look heavily at back links to determine how popular a site is, they now look at social media engagement to determine how popular your business is and therefore how they will rank you. Granted this is just one of the ranking factors that search engines take into consideration, but it’s such a huge factor that it is not something you can afford to pass up.

Another way that social media marketing can help your SEO strategy is in adding diversity. As I spoke about in my introduction to online marketing, diversity is extremely important with any online marketing strategy. You can’t just focus on building links, or adding content to your site. You have to create a diverse SEO strategy, one that involves social media marketing along with the other more common SEO tactics.

How To Get Started With Social Media Marketing

While I want to keep this article brief and to the point, I want to touch on the introduction of social media marketing into your online marketing strategy. Now, many marketing departments that I’ve consulted for have – in their zest to jump on board the SMM band wagon – setup a social profile on every social network that is known to man kind. OK, great, so you get more exposure and reach a wider audience, but do you really have time to put a significant amount of effort into each and every one of those accounts? Because, if not, they’re likely to perform poorly.

When you get started with social media marketing, you need to first assess your audiences. Find out what networks that the majority of your supporters are using, what they’re interested in, even what time of day they are most likely to be engaging socially. Once you’ve determined this information, setup a social profile for your company in the top 2 to 4 networks, depending on your available time and resources, and focus on those. Once again, I don’t want to get too in-depth about this, as I will be doing that in another article, but I wanted to raise this point as it is something that I see many companies making the mistake of.

So now that you know what social media marketing is, go out there and start promoting your business and brand!

Need help with social media marketing? Find an SEO Consultant to help!

About Nate Wheeler

Quickly adapting to the constantly changing world of online marketing, Nate Wheeler has taken to blogging in order to share his knowledge on SEO and online marketing while continuously expanding upon that knowledge. Nate has over 10 years experience within the industry, working with hosting, web design, PPC management, SEO, and content marketing. While he enjoys nothing more than snowboarding and watching football with an ice cold beer, his second favorite thing is learning and discussing online marketing tactics, strategies, and trends.
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