What is Social Media Marketing?

What is Social Media Marketing?

The inspiration for this article lies in a fantastic slide presentation I saw fairly recently on slideshare.net. The presentation, aptly named “What the f*** is social media?” was put together by Marta Z Kagan.

Over 74 slides, one is just hit with fact after fascinating fact – initially about the reach and penetration of social media, and then how to converse with audiences. It’s truly inspiring stuff.

Wikipedia broadly defines social media as the use of electronic and Internet tools for the purpose of sharing and discussing information and experiences with other human beings. Kagan sums it up nicely saying “social media is people having conversations online”.

The mechanisms for these conversations include a number of mediums – some are communicative, others collaborative and others include multimedia or a combination of all three. Social media can take many forms, but one element that consistently sets all of its incarnations apart from “traditional” media, is that it is produced to be shared.

There’s more to social media than social networking sites. While extremely popular (Time magazine wrote in October 2007 that social networking sites are officially more popular than porn!), they are not the only way people connect online. Other media include wikis, microblogging (like twitter), blogs, social bookmarking (like del.icio.us and StumbleUpon), photo sharing (like Flickr), video sharing (like YouTube), pod casts and many others.

How big is this phenomenon really?

There are over two and a half million articles in English on Wikipedia. 75% of Americans watch at least one video online a month. YouTube alone has hundreds of millions of videos being viewed daily. There are over 200-million blogs on the internet. Just under 60% of the people online have joined a social network.

And these are just some of the staggering numbers that get thrown around. This just serves to prove just how powerful and wide the reach of social media is.

What’s the difference between social media and traditional media?

The main difference is that social media is not a monologue. It is a dialogue that the brand sometimes does not lead. People are talking online right now – and this is an aspect of social media marketing.

Research has shown that 90% of people who can skip television adverts do just that.

A 2007 Nielsen report entitled “Trust in Advertising” showed that people trust referrals from their friends and other customers far more implicitly than one-way company messaging. Fundamentally, people don’t care what a company or brand thinks, they care what their friends think.

So, how do you harness this?

The short answer is: subtly. You can’t always lead the conversations – and you need to be honest. Don’t bombard the audience with noise and marketing messages – they will just switch off, or you’ll be lost in the din – neither are optimal situations.

Create personas and communicate. You need to allow your customers to feel ownership of the brand. You need to enable, engage and inspire people. A flat one-sided message is not going to get anybody excited about a brand or product, and this is how to start a buzz.

There’s no real “trick” to social media marketing. What it comes down to essentially, is listening to your customers and participating with them.

AlterSage is a Cape Town based Internet marketing consultancy servicing a wide range of local and international clients. AlterSage’s online marketing services include social media marketing, affiliate marketing, search engine optimisation and pay per click campaign management, among others.

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Question by Carl C: What are the main difference between email marketing and social media marketing?

Best answer:

Answer by Gudsud55
email marketing, is gaining popularity over the conventional ‘Direct Mailing Folder’ and social media Marketing.

email is digital, where as ‘Direct Mailing Folder’ and Social
Media Marketing, print is on paper (hard copy). Environment activist propose least use of paper.

Thus, the difference is …………………………. !

What do you think? Answer below!