To define the term Social Media Marketing let's first analyze the definition of each word that makes up the term itself.
The word 'social' implies that communication is occurring between two parties and the term 'media' is simply the platform or method by which people are 'doing' social. And 'marketing' is the act of promoting products and services that lead to sales opportunities.
To summarize, Social Media Marketing is the process of promoting people, brands, products or services using Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn.
While the principles of marketing remain, the strategies and psychology of marketing on each platform can be vastly different.
From a business perspective, each Social Media website serves one or more purposes as a marketing medium, the use of which depends on the target market you wish to communicate with (and sell to).
Let's look at each of these platforms individually …
Facebook, the most popular of the Social Media websites has essentially two sides. Firstly, from a purely social perspective, it allow any individual to join and find, connect and communicate with anyone they choose, whether they are existing friends, school or university colleagues, family members, work collections and more.
The second side to Facebook is the business side. Facebook allows the creation of a 'Facebook Page' to anyone, but for business owners, they represent an opportunity to promote their products and services.
A Facebook Page is now an essential marketing tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes. They allow businesses the ability to attract 'fans' (past, present or future customers) as well as interact with these fans on the Facebook Page itself, primarily on the 'Wall' page.
A Facebook Page has multiple pages just like a normal business website would. The default pages contained within a brand new Facebook Page are; Wall, Info, Photos.
Business owners can also setup advertising within Facebook to drive visitors to the business's Facebook Page as a way of attracting more customers.
Twitter is what's known as a 'Micro-Blog'. Micro meaning small and a Blog is like a news-feed containing information about a person, company, topic, industry etc., etc.
Twitter allows you to 'post' information of 140 characters in length about anything you wish. While it's true purpose is unknown it serves as a broadcast medium for businesses, individuals, celebrities or anyone who wants to voice their option or expertise about any subject they choose.
YouTube is a video sharing website and due to its popularity and vast resource of information on just about any topic you can imagine, has become the second largest search engine (after Google). This means that people use YouTube to search for video content about any topic they wish to search for. It's no doubt that online video one of the primary ways our society uses as a way to communicate, learn, share and engage with others.
YouTube allows anyone the ability to upload a video of their choosing onto their own YouTube account for public or private viewing.
LinkedIn serves two purposes. The first, it's a way for job seekers (or employers) to connect with each other.
Secondly, it's a business tool that allows business owners the ability to connect with and build a 'network' of contacts. Thinking of it like a business networking group, located online.
You can use LinkedIn to be introduced to someone via an existing contact in your network. It can be a powerful tool if your business is B2B.
Your choice of Social Media platform to choose to market yourself, your company or your products and services should be dictated by the type of customer you wish to connect with as well as the type of engagement and interaction you wish to have with the person.