Social media marketing uses social media platforms, as a brand, to communicate and engage with people—regardless of the goal of that engagement.
Because of its rapid rise and prevalence in our modern culture, social media marketing has become a global phenomenon and a ubiquitous part of a marketer’s tool kit. There are 2.31 billion people in the world who are active social media users and 1.97 billion who are active mobile social media users, according to We Are Social. Social media is no longer something that needs an introduction—most marketers and their audiences know about it.
But, it is important to understand that social media marketing is more than the traditional platforms that many marketers are familiar with—Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. There are so many more activities and platforms that marketers can and should explore to reach their target audiences, engage them with relevant messages, and build lasting relationships.
Social media marketing can be done organically—posts are displayed to your audiences based on algorithms or augmented by paid advertising— posts are boosted by a platform’s ad capabilities, making it more likely to be seen by your target audience.
While our definition of social media marketing encapsulates the activities that modern marketers do on social media platforms to reach and engage their audiences, you may encounter different definitions and terms. As a term, social marketing is often defined as marketing that builds awareness around social issues and causes with the goal of bringing about social change.
While social marketing may use social media marketing, it is not the same. Social media marketing today is considered a marketing channel and activity (or set of activities) that marketers use to connect with fans, customers, prospects, and partners.