Is Social Media Online Marketing?

In this blog post, we will discuss the relative value of social media in digital marketing and whether or not it is a standalone channel. We will also explore why marketers should care about social media and how it can fit into their marketing strategy.

What is Social Media?

The term “social media” covers a variety of platforms that allow for interaction between customers and companies. These platforms range from social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to messaging apps and video-sharing websites. Videos of any kind — whether it’s a product demo, a funny skit, or an instructional how-to-guide — can also be considered “content” for social media users to consume and share.

To understand the value of social media in digital marketing, it’s important to first define the term. According to HubSpot Blogs, “social media marketing, or SMM, is focused on creating and executing marketing strategies based on social platforms.” 

The three key points that define social media marketing are:

  • Focused on social platforms
  • Marketing strategies based on interaction
  • Generating leads and expanding the company’s reach

The Rise of Social Media

The use of social media for marketing purposes dates back to the early 2000s, when companies could use the platforms to simply share company information and updates.

However, it wasn’t until the mid-2010s that social media truly exploded in popularity and began to significantly impact SEO and marketing. Since many companies rely on search engines such as Google to find and connect with potential customers, brands that engage with their audiences on social media begin to see positive effects on SEO. For example, an SEO specialist at GM Authority claims that engaging with customers on social media can boost a company’s SEO by as much as 393% on average.

What’s more is that studies have shown that consumers are twice as likely to trust recommendations from brand advocates than they are from a company that advertises. According to a HubSpot Blogs study, 89% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and trust versus 48% from advertisements.

Also, customers are twice as likely to have a positive experience when they interact with brands through social media rather than just seeing advertisements. Because of this, SMMs can potentially gain an audience that might not have otherwise known about the brand.

Why Should Marketers Care About Social Media?

Although SEO and marketing are separate areas of expertise, they are all connected. Marketers who understand the valuable role that social media plays in digital marketing may see its impact in their SEO strategy and decide to incorporate it into their marketing plan.

In addition to boosting SEO, social media helps to create awareness about a brand or product through content creation and sharing. Therefore, marketers should care about social media because it can help to create buzz about a brand or product and encourage consumers to learn more about it.

Since content is one of the most valuable assets on the web, it’s essential for marketers to create and distribute quality content to maximize its effect. With the right content strategy, a brand or product can gain popularity on social media regardless of its size. And while it may seem like a lot of work to gain that popularity, the content will be worth it in the end.

Does Social Media Fit Solely in Online Marketing?

Although social media can play an important role in digital marketing, it is not solely reliant on the internet to exist. Companies can use the platforms in a variety of ways, ranging from offline events such as billboards and TV commercials to emails and web banners. 

For example, a brand may decide to create one piece of content for their website visitors and another for their community of followers on social media. They can then use different platforms to promote the content and grow their audience.

So, does this mean that social media is a standalone channel and can be used in place of traditional marketing? Not at all. Marketers should still care about print media such as magazines and billboards, radio commercials, and event marketing — all of which can be found in the same place as social media content.

Instead, marketers should use social media in combination with other marketing methods to get the best results. For example, an SEO specialist at GM Authority recommends including an email marketing campaign with a social media strategy to drive traffic to a product or service.

So, does this mean that every brand should have a social media presence? Definitely not. According to HubSpot Blogs, “SMM is a relatively new field, and it’s still dominated by large companies with large marketing budgets, creating a disconnect between the value and benefits of social media to marketers and businesses overall.” 

However, the good news is that the more brands and businesses learn about the benefits of social media, the more likely it will become a part of their strategy. With the right content and a bit of social media magic, marketers can truly find their audience and grow their business with digital marketing using social platforms.