What is Social Media Marketing?

The simple answer to this question is that social media marketing is a process of marketing your product or service via sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, and other social media sites. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The fact is, social media marketing is a bit more involved than what it appears on the surface. If you’re a small business owner, we want to take you a bit more in-depth into this “interactive” method of marketing.

Today, social media marketing offers several benefits. Not only can small businesses build awareness of their products, services, and even brands, you can actively engage with potential and existing customers. It’s a more personal approach, allowing people to see the real person behind the business. In addition, search engines today “listen” to social marketing signals and use them in determining rank in the search engine results pages. How? The more “likes,” “shares,” and “retweets” a blog post, video, or piece of content gets, the more valuable it must be in the eyes of search engines. Logical, when you think about it.

As the folks at Search Engine Land describe it, social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.

Social media marketing can be simple, or it can be complex, depending on how deep you want to get into it and the results you expect. For instance, you may have a blog for your small business that offers share buttons for readers of your blog to share your articles on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or other sites. This is social media marketing at its most basic.

More complex social media marketing strategies include creating content on a regular basis designed for sharing via social media, and even creating a calendar in order to schedule regular posts to share on the social networking sites you find most beneficial for your business. It may involve creating videos for posting to YouTube.

As a small business, the social media sites you join will often depend on the audience you want to put yourself in front of. Different demographics may be found at different locations. For instance, musicians at one time loved to “hang around” MySpace. Where you place your efforts depends on where your target audience spends its time.

It’s important to be effective with social media marketing that instead of advertising or “spamming” your friends, followers, or communities a dozen times every day, you build solid relationships instead. Provide valuable content, but interact with others, too, by becoming involved in their conversations. Answer questions people ask; respond to their opinions. You have to be involved, and it can take up a considerable amount of time. If you don’t have the time, you may want to delegate someone to take care of social media marketing for you.

Social media can be a great tool in your overall marketing plan when done right. Today, SEO and social go hand in hand. As a small business owner, it would definitely be worth your time and effort in terms of gaining recognition and new customers!