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What is Social Marketing? Social Media Marketing in a Nutshell

Social media marketing is an increasingly valuable tool in promoting a web site, product or business to the public. Many Internet users spend a significant amount of time online using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Establishing a strong and constantly updated presence on these social media sites can increase traffic to a web site, grow advertising revenue and improve sales of products or services.

One way in which a web site can promote itself through social marketing primarily involves creating content attractive to the target audience and then distributing this content through social networking sites. This is often done by establishing a fan page or brand identity on these sites and then publishing content under that page or identity on the social networking site. The more often fresh content about the business or site is put in front of the public audience, the more increased traffic or sales are likely to result.

An example of this type of social media marketing might be writing a review of the newest 3-D blockbuster DVD release and publishing this on a web site where visitors can purchase the DVD. Then the link to the article is posted on to encourage users to click through to read the content. A social networking site user hopefully clicks through to read the article and enjoys it. While they are there, they might decide they really want to purchase that DVD and go ahead and buy it through the site. If they really liked the article, they might also decide to share the link to it with their friends on the social networking site, who then might also visit the site and purchase the DVD.

Of course, this is only one simple way in which social media marketing can be used to promote a web site or business. Web sites and businesses can establish strong ties to their visitors and consumers by communicating directly with them via social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook or Google Circles.

Building a strong social networking following is a must for any successful online web site or business. There are many ways in which social media marketing strategies can be used to build a following. A social marketing expert can be brought in to help organize successful strategies for building a strong base and then marketing effectively to these consumers.

For example, a business can announce coupons, special deals or sales through their Twitter page. This encourages those who would be interested in such deals to become followers of the business's Twitter feed. A web site might use its Facebook page to run a special promotional contest which can only be entered through posting a Facebook comment on the site's fan page. Those who wish to enter the contest are then required to interact with the site's Facebook page and hopefully will share the page with others who might also like to enter the contest.

Once a consumer has 'followed' a business or web site on a social networking site, they are now present to receive promotional information on a repeat basis from that business. This can help to significantly increase traffic to a web site or grow sales of a product or service.

The end goal of social media marketing is to eventually have the consumers marketing the web site, product or service themselves to their own friends and social circle. After all, a recommendation about a product or business that comes from a friend or a family member is often going to be taken with far more interest than random advertising from an unknown third party source.

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