What is Social Media Marketing?

social media marketing cartoonSo, we’ve already defined “Social Media” in a blog post earlier this week. Let’s take it a step further and see how Wikipedia defines “Social Media Marketing.”

According to Wikipedia, Social Media Marketing is an engagement with online communities to generate exposure, opportunity and sales. The number-one advantage is generating exposure for the business, followed by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships.[1]

Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

In the context of Internet marketing, social media refers to a collective group of web properties whose content is primarily published by users, not direct employees of the property (e.g. the vast majority of video on YouTube is published by non-YouTube employees).

Social media optimization (SMO) is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites.

Social media marketing has two important aspects:

(1) Adding links to services such as Digg, Reddit and Del.icio.us so that their pages can be easily ‘saved and submitted’ to and for these services.

(2) Building ways that fans of a brand or company can promote it themselves in multiple online social media venues.

Some social media marketers offer to write content (such as white papers) that are unique and newsworthy. This content can then be marketed by popularizing it or even by creating a “viral” video on YouTube and other video sites, including getting involved in blogs, forums, and niche communities. Others in the social media world consider this form of social media marketing Astroturfing or “fake grass roots”.

According to Lloyd Salmons, first chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau social media council “Social media isn’t just about big networks like Facebook and MySpace, it’s about brands having conversations.”[2].

Supporting Salmons claim, Jim Tobin and Lisa Braziel liken rules of social media marketing to rules of etiquette commonly practiced at a cocktail party. In their book, Social Media is a Cocktail Party, the authors suggest rules of engagement commonly practiced at a cocktail party are often the same or similar rules for engaging others in social media spaces.

The parameters surrounding social media marketing are arguably elusive today. The trend is still so new many bloggers, public relations, marketing, and social media experts vary in their definition of what social media marketing entails. Nielson published [3] suggesting that blogs and social networks make up an emerging social web. The social web includes social media sites and is a location within which social media marketing might take place.


1. Social Media Marketing Industry Report
2. IAB appoints first social media council chair
3. Global Faces and Networked Places

One thought on “What is Social Media Marketing?

  1. Your know, I have never thought about Social Media as Brands talking together, good point. My fear is that, we will have so many pretend brands and not enough adapters of real media. I believe that the real people in this space, will be trapped by the spammer brand.

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