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  • So just what the hell is social media marketing?

    “Yeah, I’ve launched an SEO campaign based on generating buzz through the blogosphere and increasing my link juice to ensure I get great SERP positioning…”

    What is social media marketing
    CC Image Credit: Flickr

    Online marketing is a strange world to the outsider, filled with jargon, buzzwords and rapidly developing language. One phrase in particular which seems to confuse many of my clients is social media marketing. I often get asked: “Do you mean, erm, Facebook? when I go on about the benefits.

    So – just what the hell is it?

    Social media marketing

    It is the use of social media websites, namely those which publish user-generated content and build online communities, to generate positive publicity and manage web-based corporate personas.

    It is about conversing with consumers rather than pitching at them.


    Well, where are customers conversing online? You may decide to go to them via existing online communities, or you may decide to entice them to you using specially-created forums, blogs and other content designed to drive debate and encourage comment and participation.

    The web is filled with these communities. From big names like Beebo, Facebook, Twitter, Del.icio.us and Digg to more niche spaces, such as NetMums, Econsultancy, even Cat Chat – whatever is best suited to whatever it is you sell.


    There are numerous options and before starting any social media marketing campaign, you’ll need to decide what fits with your corporate identity. You probably would not, for example, use Beebo if you make cleaning technology for hospitals – it is not appropriate for your business.

    You also need to decide whether or not you intend to go to your customers via existing communities, encourage them to align themselves with your brand through setting up groups within these communities, or create your own content and spaces to entice them to come to you.

    As with all social marketing tactics, a combination should be designed based on your company’s specific identity, needs and goals.


    Don’t pitch. Don’t pitch, don’t pitch, don’t pitch, don’t pitch. People using social media are socialising. You wouldn’t leap on a group in the pub and try to market at them, because that would create anger and bad feeling about your brand. So don’t do it online.

    You need to add value to their internet time; doing that will encourage them back to your site, back to your brand, back to your products or services. However, simply trying to sell at them will swiftly alienate your clients and you will end up actually damaging your reputation.


    A serious point to remember is that social media marketing is developing and, by its very nature, cannot be easily defined. A successful campaign is a carefully tailored one, there is no simple solution which works for all brands.

    Furthermore, having begun this kind of marketing effort, it is essential to remember it is a long-term strategy; it won’t create overnight returns and it will take time to build these successful conversations. Building online relationships can be enormously satisfying, both in terms of creating a strong business image and through driving sales.


    26 Responses to “So just what the hell is social media marketing?”

    1. So just what the hell is social media marketing? http://tinyurl.com/8854k5 don’t pitch, don’t pitch! #feedly

    2. So just what the hell is social media marketing?

    3. RT @ravenyoung: Just read: So just what the hell is social media marketing? http://tinyurl.com/8854k5

    4. Just read: So just what the hell is social media marketing? http://tinyurl.com/8854k5

    5. ? | “So just what the hell is social media marketing? | SEOptimise” ( http://tinyurl.com/8854k5 )

    6. So just what the hell is social media marketing? | SEOptimise http://tinyurl.com/8854k5

    7. So just what the hell is social media marketing? http://tinyurl.com/8854k5

    8. SMM News: So just what the hell is social media marketing? | SEOptimise http://tinyurl.com/8854k5

    9. Blog Stats and Updates – IV says:

      This seems to an entirely different type of marketing campaign compared to conventional straightforward advertising.

      Just why exactly did you use blogging as a tag for this post?

    10. Jeff D Wyatt says:

      Blogging is most definitely a big part of social media for a couple of reasons:

      1) Blogs are a medium for user generate content (social media), like this comment.
      2) A big portion of content that is linked to or shared via social media are blog posts, or other content found on blogs.

      I’m sure you guys can come up with more!

    11. Agent SEO says:

      Social media campaigns are not only a great way to generate buzz about your brand, but a great way to get people to talk about your brand for you.

      For example, if you create a group in Linked In, then you can attract other professionals to your group and hold kind of an open forum about whatever you’re group is about.

    12. There are some great points here: Social media marketing is indeed developing at a pace. Blogging is a huge part of the whole. As a matter of fact I’m writing a post about how blogs are increasingly being used in place of static websites for business. I’ll say it again for you though: don’t pitch!

    13. Dan Spring says:

      Excellent article – thank you. It easily explains social marketing – just want I needed! I’ll definitely be showing this to the traditional marketers I work with.

    14. Frank says:

      Our chamber of commerce has jumped into the social networking space and it has worked out really well so far. It is a big deal.

    15. SMO is a great buzz nowadayz.It really help in increasing your SERPs.Google also have affinity towards those websites which are popular in social media.

    16. Nice overview – love your graphic!

    17. Paul Kortman says:

      We have seen great success with social media for ourselves and for some of our clients. I am having a difficult time explaining to traditional marketing folks how social media fits into their larger strategy. They want to know numbers, ROI. I can give that to them for SEO and SEM. But Social Media?

      Any ideas?

      Also How do we avoid defining social media as the tools. I have seen a few companies claim to “be on social media” when they simply have “digg this” and “stumble this” links on their website. How do we define social media with out the tools? Can we, should we?

      Recommendation to blog owner: I’d like to subscribe to the comment thread here, can you add that option?

    18. Gerald Weber says:

      I think the best point here is. Don’t sell, don’t sell don’t sell. Not only will this likely not get you many friend but may also get you labeled as a spammer. Just be genuine and add value to the community and people will naturally want to know more about you.

    19. I think that the better name for these activities is Content Marketing (or Content Marketing Management) – it is wider term. Although, all of those activities are PR, not marketing :)

    20. @Paul Kortman we’ve installed a blog comment plugin which we’re currently testing out.

    21. krishna says:

      Great post on the Social Media Marketing. Personally i have come across so many companies which are interested in bringing big portals related to Social Media or Social Networks. Despite the poor economy they want to invest in this business as this is becoming a great buzz around the world.

    22. Listorbit says:

      SMM is the current trends of marketing.

    23. I enjoyed reading your post; I am running a small website on video conferencing I am a beginner in this business. I don’t know much about it but I am searching around for material that can increase my knowledge

    24. Another addition for your “don’t” section…
      Don’t use ghost accounts! You will be discovered. Transparency is key. If you smell like a sales person in disguise, prepare to have your reputation tarnished. You can contribute in the SMM world without the “pitch”. Giving out “free” advice can pay you back in spades in the long run! Just my two cents.

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