Social media marketing is essentially the usage of various social media sites and platforms to advertise a product or a service. While the traditional terms such as digital advertising and e-marketing are still quite dominant in academic circles, social media marketing has become increasingly popular for researchers and practitioners alike. These days, it is not unusual to hear about an advertiser or a brand promoting its services through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and the likes of Flickr and YouTube. In a way, this is just what is being done in conventional offline marketing: the objective is to reach out to customers, explain the product, gather contact information, and convert that information into sales.
The difference, of course, is that when you are reaching out to a captive audience through media platforms, you have to be specific about what your brand awareness and reputation are. You need to speak directly with these people. This requires a different approach to marketing than what many other businesses and brands are currently employing. Social media is an extremely interactive medium that allows you to interact directly with customers and build rapport at a fundamental level.
By engaging content and providing genuine information, you not only allow your audience to share your material with their friends but also encourages them to become loyal followers. As followers begin to see your brand as a trusted advisor and friend, they will share your content with all their contacts. This will lead to massive exposure and this in turn, more website traffic. Eventually, your brand will be seen by everyone who matters, in the same way that your content is now seen by everyone.