What Is Social Media Marketing? (SMM)

Social Media Marketing is an overall term for the profession of utilizing social media channels to achieve specific business goals. As social media increased as a source of news and updates, it also rapidly became a source for advertising. Long story short, ahead-of-the-game thinkers and dedicated marketers developed ways to use social media channels to:

  • promote a product or service,
  • gain traffic and attention,
  • build customer loyalty,
  • act as a form of customer service, and
  • ultimately increasing sales.

Their techniques have been monitored and adjusted to achieve higher goals and paved the way for what social media marketing has become today.

It’s still a difficult conversation topic with some because it’s a hard cycle to explain, especially when terms like ‘ROI’ come up. Earlier this year, SproutSocial released 47 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark in 2017, they presented some interesting facts:

These are just some of the great bits of insight that have helped social media marketers adjust digital marketing strategies to reach larger, interactive audiences. Years ago, a majority of people got their news, entertainment, and advertising from television. However as technology and digital marketing rises, the gap between online and TV has gotten smaller:

“The share of Americans who often get news from TV – whether from local TV news, nightly network TV news or cable news – has fallen, while the portion of Americans often getting news online – either from news websites/apps or social media – has grown.” Pew Research Center. Further, “Two-thirds of Americans (67%) get at least some news on social media. This represents a modest increase from 62% in 2016, but similar to mobile, this growth was driven by substantial increases among older Americans.”

This info allows social media marketers to see how users are getting their news info, but what about in terms of businesses?

According to Small Business Trends, “44 percent of local businesses said they depend on social media to generate brand awareness, and 41 percent depend on it to drive revenue. Almost 90 percent of marketers say their social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75 percent say they’ve increased traffic.”

Social media marketing also includes paid and native advertising, which have been rising trends, with a high projected spending for 2018. Business Insider cites spending on native ads will reach $7.9 billion this year and $21 billion by 2018.

Now, social media marketers are definitely jack of all trades considering the more in depth their research and efforts go, the more successful their return. These efforts include (but certainly not limited to):

  • Audience and market research
  • Influencer research
  • Content creation
  • Scheduling
  • Graphic Design (or working with other departments/outsources)
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Paid social media advertising and campaigns
  • Organic social media campaigns
  • Strategizing
  • Engagement
  • Social listening
  • Tone and messaging
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Trend and statistic research
  • Testing/Experiments
  • Clicking around social media channels
  • Attempting to understand the internet and all of its mysteries
  • Failing
  • Trying again

There are more social media channels, platforms, and networks than just your first-come-to-mind Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now added, Snapchat. Not only that, but within each of those channels there are created groups you can engage in to further your organic reach. Using all of the techniques, specifically designed around the particular social media channel and growing audiences, social media marketing proves to be a vital component of marketing teams.

Written by: Krystal Blais, follow on her on Twitter to view more of her work.