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Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that implements various social media networks in order to achieve

marketing communication and branding goals. Social media marketing primarily covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing purposes. "Social media" is a way for people to communicate and interact online. While it has been around since the dawn of the World Wide Web, in the last 10 years or so we ve seen a surge in both the number and popularity of social media sites. !t s called social media because users engage with "and around# it in a social conte$t, which can include conversations, commentary, and other user% generated annotations and engagement interactions. &ublishing content has become e$ponentially simpler over the last several years, which has helped skyrocket the use of social media. 'on%technical web users are now able to easily create content on a rapidly growing number of platforms, including those that are owned "hosted communities, blogs, etc.#, rented "social networks or third%party communities#, and occupied "commenting, contributing, etc.#. (oday s web has shifted from a "one%to%many" to a "many%to%many" method of engagement, and we re loving it.

)or businesses, the shift in web consumerism and accompanying rise in social media brings both opportunity and responsibility. (he sheer amount of data that customers make available through social media alone has web marketers *umping for *oy. (he real magic, however, lies in the opportunity to grow lasting and scalable relationships with your organi+ation s customer base through social media. (his is also where your online responsibility to your customers begins to take shape. ,ust as your customers behavior has shifted, so have their e$pectations for yours. Whether your business is listening and engaging or not, customers are having conversations relevant to your operations.

-ver the last several years, there has been an e$plosion of growth in popular social media platforms like )acebook, (witter, .oogle/, 0inked!n, 1ou(ube, &interest, and many others. !t s safe to say that the era of social media is *ust getting started, and the need for social media in business will only become stronger over time. (he whole world has seen the impact of the e$pansion and adoption of social media tactics, and the rising stats speak for themselves.

Social media are internet services that let you interact with others and share and create content through online communities. Social media present great marketing opportunities for businesses of all si+es. 1ou can use social media to2 promote the name of your brand and business tell customers about your goods and services find out what customers think of your business attract new customers build stronger relationships with e$isting customers.

3dvantages of using social media

Social media marketing has many advantages:

broad reach % social media can reach millions of people all around the world ability to target particular groups % many forms of social media "e.g. )acebook, )ours4uare# allow businesses to target specific groups, often in particular locations free or low%cost % many forms of social media are free for business, and paid options are usually low%cost personal % social media allow you to communicate on a personal basis with individual customers and groups fast 5 you can 4uickly distribute information to many people easy % you don t need high%level skills or computer e4uipment to participate in social media. (he average person with a standard computer should have no difficulty.


(he e$plosion of social networks and consumer%generated media over the last few years continues to have a significant impact on advertising as consumers6 reliance on word%of%mouth in the decision%making process 5 either from people they know or online consumers they don6t 5 has increased significantly. 3ccording to 'ielsen6s latest .lobal (rust in 3dvertising report, which surveyed more than 78,000 !nternet respondents in 9: countries, ;7 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising<an increase of 18 percent since 700=. -nline consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with =0 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 19 percent in four years. (he survey also showed that nearly si$%in%10 global online consumers "98># trust messages found on company websites, and half trust email messages that they signed up to receive. -n the Web, four%in%10 respondents rely on ads served alongside search engine results, ?: percent trust online video advertisements, and one%third believe the messages in online banner ads<an increase of 7= percent since 700=. Sponsored ads on social networks, a new format included in the 7011 'ielsen survey, are credible among ?: percent of global respondents. @isplay ads "video or banner# on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are trusted by one%third of global respondents, which is slightly higher than the reported consumer trust level of te$t ads on mobile phones "7;>#. While the reported consumer trust level in mobile phone advertising is still low, it increased :1 percent since 700= and 71 percent since 700;.

Aeep in mind that neither your customers e$perience nor your brand starts with (witter, )acebook, or your blog. Social media should take your e$isting brand and solidify it, galvani+e it, and bolster it. 1our efforts in social media should be an e$tension of everything else you do in all departments of your company. Bapturing your company s voice and sharing it with the world through social media will open up uni4ue opportunities in all other channels of inbound marketing, including SC-, branding, public relations, sales, and more. social relationships Delationships (o get the most out of social media, make the relationships you build with it your end goal. (hat might sound a bit utopian for anyone who is grounded in more traditional and tangible business measurement and metrics, but take a step back from the bottom%line, D-!%seeking aspect to look at the big picture for a minute. (he relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other aspects of your business can and will flourish. Delationships flourish when you cultivate them, and no other area offers you the opportunity to do this as well as social media. Social channels have broken down the walls between individuals at an unprecedented rate. !n 7011, )acebook released data showing that its users were, on average, ?.=E degrees of separation away from one another, making them nearly as connected to each other as

Aevin Facon is to the rest of Gollywood. !n the years since that study, the network has only continued to grow. (hat s pretty ama+ing, and social media can take credit for making it happen. Some of the most successful SC-s and public relations professionals earn their notoriety, at least in part, from the relationships they are able to build. (hey re also good at what they do, of course, but great relationships bolster their already solid effort. (he relationships you build with your customers lead to advocacy and loyalty, traits that can support your brand during both the good and the bad times, representing an investment that will remain strong on nearly any platform and under nearly any circumstances. social feedback )eedback !nformation can be shared through social media at an ama+ingly fast pace, and users are increasingly turning to social channels to share information in real%time. (his information often takes the form of opinions, so if you re listening for the right cues from your audience, social media can become an invaluable source of insights and feedback. !ncorporating social listening into product development work can act as an early warning system, save on customer service costs, provide valuable development feedback, and even help identify ideal beta testers without much e$pense. social feedback !ntegration Social media is not something you can simply "tack on" to the rest of your marketing, branding, &D, and advertising effortsH it needs to be a fully integrated part of the mi$. !n doing so, you can create a cohesive and scalable e$perience for your customers. (hink of it as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. 3lso, it s not as hard as it sounds. Fe sure to integrate social media into your marketing efforts as early as possible to help amplify and solidify your work rather than waiting until the end of a planning cycle to e$plore social options. !f a social presence is clear from the start, your branding will benefit from additional customer touchpoints, &D will see a lift in impressions and reach, and customer service can proactively listen and activate where necessary. 3s you can see, a social presence can have far%reaching impact for your organi+ation when it is e$ecuted in an authentic and thoughtful manner. Fy making social engagement a core part of your operations rather than an afterthought, you have a better shot at fully leveraging its power.

&erhaps the greatest value of social media marketing is your ability to foster and engage with a community of other people. (hat engagement is at the heart of social media, and without it, you re left with a megaphone and no one to hear you. 1ou have the opportunity to interact with customers from all over the world<including those who are right down the street<on a huge scale. !f a current or prospective customer has something to say to you or about you, you now have the ability to respond immediately. !n addition to responsive communication, brands and businesses can begin to build relationships with their customers beyond those that happen during normal transactions. (hese relationships are what keep customers coming back, increasing both loyalty and retention. !f those customers become advocates and increase your word%of%mouth presence, you ll start seeing ama+ing returns. Fy providing a great place of engagement for your community and helping build valuable, authentic resources for your brand s niche, you re also building up authority for your brand within your industry. 1ou ll find your customers increasingly trusting what you say and coming to you for resources that can help them solve their own challenges. Geck, you may even find yourself lending a hand to a competitor in the space. 3ll brands start in a similar unknown place, and the more you give, the more authority you ll get back.

&ace'ook When )acebook started in 700E, it was a bare%bones social network focused on connecting college students. 'ine years and more than 1 billion active users later, )acebook has become the most widely%used social network to date and has shaped online interaction as we know it. )rom connecting distant friends and family members, to bridging the gap between brands and their communities, )acebook has taken the way we interact online to a whole new level. 3s more and more people and brands *ump onto )acebook, the noise level for individual users

increases. While )acebook s 'ews )eed algorithm helps the noise level by showing users what it deems the most relevant content, in order to really stand out from the crowd, brands must be remarkable, interesting, and add value. Cverything you post on )acebook is content. 3s we now know from the 'ews )eed algorithm, how users interact with that content is important. Bonsider every piece of content you post an opportunity for increased and specific engagement, and don t be afraid to have a little fun. (ake a look at these e$amples from @elta and .C. While completely on%brand, you can see they re a bit une$pected and show they re not afraid to show their human side. 3lso, images are incredibly effective on )acebook<posts with photos get, on average, ?;> more engagement. While the page environment )acebook gives brands is mostly set, you want to make sure you re directing your users where you want them to go. !f ! am a user looking for support or help, will ! know where to goI ,ust as you do when designing landing pages for your website, consider the goals of your )acebook page. What do you want users to do when they land on your pageI What information do they need to be able to access easilyI Make sure these elements are front and center. 1ou can easily change the order of the apps and even optimi+e the icons used to display those apps for visibility. ,etFlue is a great e$ample of a clear and obvious user flow. 3 huge part of your brand is built on trust, and the foundation of that trust is your credibility. .rammar and spelling are universally important, and all efforts for their correct uses should be made. )act%check sources and news before sharing them on your networks. Cnsure the safety of your users by not sharing links to malicious sites. Cssentially, make sure you don t give your community a reason to believe you are anything other than what you are2 awesome. (here are millions of companies using )acebook to showcase their brands and interact with their communities, but a few stand out above the crowd. (ake a look at how these leaders in the )acebook marketing space2

S4uarespace2 (his relatively young company has already built a significant following, and digging through their page gives you several reasons why. Degular updates with a great blend of content, and a team that s 4uick to respond to users comments is a winning combination in the F7F world.

&eople engage at a much higher rate on )acebook with rich media content, images, links, video, etc., and Furberry gets that. Dight away, you feel immersed into their world. (he captivating images pop and beg you to keep scrolling. (heir apps add a great deal of value rather than simply offering up additional marketing content.

(he CS&' )ace the )an Bhat is a regular series of interactive content the sports network hosts on )acebook via an app. (his live%streamed content does a great *ob of integrating more traditional content for a socially engaged audience. (his fan engagement is nothing new for them, but taking

it to )acebook reaches a whole new demographic.

(witter (witter has become a tool for everything from facilitating the collapse of governments to showing off your newborn. (hrough (witter, athletes have added sideline commentary and Gollywood has dialed up the drama. Bonsumers use the service to share and find content. )or many, (witter has replaced their DSS subscriptions and traditional news media. @ue to its mostly public nature, (witter s most powerful use is connecting people. (he platform allows complete strangers to come together over common interests and ideas and to participate in conversations that range from the relatively mundane to the incredibly important.

Taco "ell

(he fast%food chain is 4uickly gaining a reputation for their spicy snark "no pun intended#. Bonsistently funny, engaging, and sometimes a little irreverent, (aco Fell is completely on%brand, and it works 4uite well for them. )rom a content development perspective, give them a follow and take a look at how they reach out and engage with their audience.

Charity: %ater
3 wildly popular non%profit movement, Bharity2 Water largely gained traction on (witter. !n three years, they raised over J19 million dollars to bring clean water to people around the world. Bharity2 Water relies heavily on engaging content to get their message out. (his includes video, impactful images, and consistent branding on (witter backgrounds and profile images. Fy artfully telling their story and building connections between the audience and its mission, they created true momentum and support.

%hole &oods Market

Whole )oods, an organic grocery store chain, uses (witter to really reach out and engage their consumers around relevant content and interests. 'ot *ust about their in%store e$periences, but also about their e$perience with food in general. (ake a look at their weekly (witter chat, using the tag KW)Mdish, where the topic varies weekly, but centers on healthy foods and cooking. (his is a great e$ample of e$panding your thinking about content and engagement hori+ontally, not *ust vertically.

.oogle hasn t released much in the way of stats and information about how people are using the network aside from raw usage data. ./ is anecdotally believed to be largely male and tech%driven, which much of the available data seems to support. Carly adopters are still the largest and most active groups on ./. Much of how users actually engage on the network is the same as on (witter and )acebook. Gowever, because circles force categori+ation of people, .oogle/ is far more easily customi+able and allows a greater level of fle$ibility and dialed privacy. (his would, in theory, allow users to en*oy the network with more people in more relevant ways. )or e$ample, you could share content specific to your professional network with people in that circle, while sharing the pictures of your kids to a more private circle, all from the same platform. 3nother feature that seems to be growing in popularity with users, marketers and brands alike is the .oogle/ Gangout. Gangouts can be public or invite%only and allow users to connect with one another with voice and video without needing to download any software. .oogle has also added communities, which appear to mirror )acebook s groups, giving additional

functionality and interaction opportunity to the site.

(he increasing functionality of the network is e$citing. With the addition of Bommunities, it is easy to see potential from a conversation and engagement perspective. 3s an added bonus, .oogle made it so your community can be tied to your brand page. 3wesome. 'ow the ability to add events through interactive posts to a brand page gives even more functionality. 1ou can invite users to an event and notify them directlyH when they DSL&, it will automatically be added to their calendar. Bonsider the impact here to both your online events and even those held at brick%and%mortar locations. C$tending your offline events to your online and shareable audience could help net e$ponential reach "and ultimately attendance#M Degardless of the platform, there are some universal truths to social media marketing for businesses that will hold true on .oogle/ as well. !t s important to spend time clearly identifying the ob*ectives you are trying to meet. Gaving these goals laid out will give you a way to measure your success, making the rest of your effort far easier.

M TL ":
3 company that helps coding professionals better use their respective languages, M3(03F continuously provides its community with educational tools. (hey share content from their si$ blogs and numerous webinar series, offering an official certification program and general advocacy to grow the coding profession. 3dditionally, they reach out to audiences speaking both Cnglish and ,apanese.

(he varied content that DedFull shares on .oogle/ is a great e$ample of how to think

hori+ontally about your brand and what it means to engage with consumers. !n every post, the brand appeals to interests that e$emplify what it means to be a part of the DedFull community and a DedFull drinker. 1ou will not see posts about the product itself, its attributes, or even direct value propositions. What you will find is e$citing images of e$treme sports stars, video content about risk%taking, and even engaging music videos.

3sos does a great *ob of highlighting highly%engaging and interesting content on its page. (he best partI (hey are present and accounted for in the comments. While many comments on .oogle/ can be spammy and add little value, the brand clearly monitors the page and reads through the replies to help grow their community. (his gives the user a reason to actually reach out and converse with the brand and follow them.

(he world s largest professional social network connects colleagues with each other and businesses with current and potential employees, all while enabling community development and content sharing. 0inked!n s potential lies in its power to build authority, establish thought leadership, and cultivate a robust network. ,oin us for a peek behind the curtain to see if 0inked!n is a match for your business. 0inked!n is a fantastic platform for generating F7F leads, with nearly three times the conversion rate of )acebook or (witter. 1our mileage may vary, but this certainly signals the platform is one that comes with great opportunity. Cstablishing yourself and your brand as an authority in your area of focus will help build authority and trust among your customers, both current and prospective. 0inked!n s feature set can help brands stay up%to%date on users professional networks, in addition to establishing a business presence and sharing company news. Fe careful not to overdo self%promotion. 3dvocacy and word%of%mouth magic happen through positive engagement. When brands engage customers and build strong relationships based on respect and trust, customers will "like" the brand and perhaps even love it. 0inked!n makes it easy to be both personal and specific. 1ou know a lot about the person you re interacting with, so use that information.

0inked!n drives business value because it is based on a user s professional interests. (his makes it an obvious and natural fit for sharing brand%based updates, news, and infoH as well as driving traffic to company%focused websites.

S +:
Bompanies can also have their own .roups centered on their product, offerings and related topics. (his can be a great opportunity to host discussions, much like one would host a networking event. (he S3& .roup on 0inked!n allows the company to post targeted *obs and recruit new employees, with data and demo information about the group helping the recruiters narrow their searches.

Teach -or merica:

(he (each for 3merica team clearly recogni+es that 0inked!n is a valuable and high% potential platform for their recruiting efforts. (hey have a very well%developed page taking advantage of all of the features available. (his creates a deep e$perience that adds to the authority they re building here. (hey not only share openings they re trying to fill, but also work to start conversations through the content they share. 3dditionally, they have worked to build and showcase testimonials on their company page, adding a level of trust to their presence.

The "ridges*an $ro)*.s LinkedIn $ro)*s:

Fridgespan builds relationships with and supports non%profit organi+ations, and when it comes to community%based engagement, it has taken a bit of a non%traditional approach. Where many companies would attempt to build out and maintain their own on%domain forums, they ve chosen to curate their community on 0inked!n with nine separate, functionally different 0inked!n .roups. (hey have broken up the .roups in ways that are meaningful for the community members, thus ensuring valuable conversations.

&intrest (hrough beautiful images and easy%to%use "pinning," this website has taken the online community by storm. )ollowing its beta launch in 7010, &interest provided a way for users to simply share and create image collections for hobbies, style, businesses, and more. Whether you6re a business owner connecting with your users through images or simply trying to redecorate your home in @!1%fashion, &interest has something for *ust about everyone. !mage%based sharing is becoming increasingly important for brands and consumers alike. (he effectiveness of imagery has led sites like &interest and !nstagram to 4uickly become the new staples in daily digital life. !n a world where people don6t necessarily want to spend a lot of time reading, rich media helps users share, communicate, and consume stories 4uickly and easily in meaningful ways. (he &interest community is growing 4uickly and can be very engaged. (his is a great opportunity for your consumers to interact with you, so be sure to pay attention to your comments for opportunities to have conversations. (hey may be asking 4uestions or *ust offering words of praise or concern. Nsing a tool like &in3lerts or &interest s analytics to monitor where and how your content is shared can help you catch opportunities that don6t come directly to you.

Sony Electronics:
(here are so many things right with what Sony is doing on &interest. )rom brand new products to a collection of vintage products and all the way to highlighting sale

products, they6re utili+ing a mi$ture of content for their brand fans. Sony use their ads as interesting points of content as well, but also don6t shy away from some of the more off%topic boards. (hey6ve got the content nailed down.

Star')cks "ea)ti-)l O'/ects: (he social media%savvy brand has e$tended its
reach to &interest. -ne of their boards is only slightly related to coffee and shows how &interest doesn6t have to be *ust about your product images. .o off topic a little, but stay relevant.

Nordstrom: )rom naming their social team members on the page to regularly
posting on boards as broad%ranging as "(otally (hrowback," "'autical Libes," and "Feach Wedding !deas," this is one department store that knows how to pins. 3nd, with a following of more than E.E million people, their strategy clearly works. 'ordstrom gets bonus points for bringing their social integration full%circle, adding "(op &inned !tems" displays in its stores.