Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a process of increasing web traffic or simply getting attention through social networking sites. SMM programs basically focus on efforts in creating content that encourages people to share it in their social media profiles. In SMM, a corporate message spreads from each user which likely resonates with its appearance from trusted sources. Hence, this type of online marketing is driven on a “word-of-mouth” basis resulting to earned media more than the paid one.
Social networking sites are allowing people to connect with one another in the pursuit of establishing relationships. When companies join these sites however, people are free to connect themselves with the company through the products being offered. Furthermore, the interaction between the company and users becomes more personal due to the power of social media marketing.
Social networking sites like Facebook, Multiply, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and blogs allow their range of users to “like”, repost comments or re-tweet updates about the product or service that are being promoted. By repeating company updates, all user connections will be able to see the message and reach more people. Social media act as the internet’s “word of mouth” since the information regarding the product that is getting repeated brings more traffic to the product or company. It is through social networking sites that a company can interact with individual users. In fact, personal interactions infuse loyalty – turning regular users to potential customers. The company can reach a narrow target market by choosing the right users to interact with.
In the context of social media, SMM is often associated with “online engagement”. Meaning, online stakeholders and customers are more of participants than viewers. The use of social networking sites in expanding a business lets anyone share or express their opinion about the business’ path to marketing. Through SMM, each participating customer becomes a part of the market as others read and share their reviews and comments. Clearly, the whole engagement process is essential to effective social media marketing.
SMM can create a huge impact regardless of the outcome of such events. In 2010, an online petition asking TV network NBC Universal to feature actress Betty White in a “Saturday Night Live” episode surfaced on Facebook. Since the petition went viral, users forwarded the campaign to many of their followers. Betty White hosted SNL on May 8, 2010 after the petition was granted by the network.
SMM played a significant role in the 2008 US Presidential Elections. Then Senator Barack Obama of the Democratic Party used Facebook and Twitter to make a difference in his campaign. His Facebook and Twitter pages garnered millions of followers. The use of social media gave Obama’s campaign free access to social networking profiles and e-mail services. This in turn signalled the Democratic Party to launch an email campaign asking for donations and support during the elections.
Many businesses are now hooked to using social networking sites as their promotional tactic. Adidas for example, created an agency for soccer players through social media.