A lot of people are confused by the term “social media marketing” and believe that it is only advertising on a social networking site, where networks monitor what users are doing and place ads next to them, hoping they will get a click. However, social media marketing is actually about different kinds of collaborations between people and finding ways that individual fans of a particular brand product or even a company can endorse it themselves on various social media sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others.
Social media marketing differs from industrial media marketing in that industrial media generally uses very expensive tools requiring a great deal of financial capital to publish its information, where as social media marketing uses fairly inexpensive tools that enables anyone anywhere to publish or access information. Both social media and industrial media have the capability to reach a small audience of one or two, or large audiences of millions. However, the time lag is generally much longer between a communications from industrial media as compared to social media when responses can be instantaneous. In addition, there are currently few, if any, limitations on social media such as on pages or hours. The audiences are encouraged to be active participants, to add comments, or blog or even edit articles or stories, as they deem necessary.
Social media optimization, or SMO, uses methods that generate publicity through social media and online community websites. There are many different types of technologies and applications for social media like blogs, vlogs, wikis, emails, podcasts, instant messaging and many more. Two of the most popular reference services are Google and Wikipedia. You can share photos at Flickr, videos at YouTube, personal music at Last.fm, microblog on Jaiku and Twitter. Besides the now universally known Facebook and MySpace, you can also go social networking on Avatars United, Youmeo and Second Life (social network via virtual reality).
Experts insist that social media is here to stay. Companies are now recognizing the need to be more involved in social media marketing, because it is through these channels that they can hear most quickly and honestly what consumers need and want. Businesses are learning that they now no longer wield absolute control over the behavior and buying decisions of their consumers. By paying attention, for instance, to a pro- or anti- product blog from a consumer, marketers have access to open customer discussions they never had before and then, in turn, open their own dialogue to be able to drive the needed change quickly.
Social media marketing opens up a world of fast-flowing creative experimentation where an idea can be tested online in the morning and by afternoon there is a response. Social media techniques should be combined into the marketing mix to optimize the places where the impact can be maximized. The key element in successful social media marketing is to be swift but make sure to drive change in proactive way rather than being reactive.