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What’s the Definition of Social Media Marketing?

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Definition of social media marketing

Social media marketing (SMM) is the process of using social networking platforms to increase your brand awareness and customer leads.

Social media marketing happens most commonly on these social networking sites:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • Reddit

Let’s take a look at several of these platforms, how they differ from one another, and how to succeed with each. But first, what should you use social media marketing for?

Why use social media marketing?

45% of the world’s population uses social media. If a social media marketing campaign isn’t part of your digital marketing strategy, you should have a good reason as to why.

Here are key reasons to adopt it.

Customer service

It used to be a lot less clear how your customers felt about your product. Now, customer service happens in real-time on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. You can resolve a customer’s issue in front of thousands of potential customers. Show them how you would take care of them if they were your customers too. In the process, good, public-facing customer service on social platforms can become a new source of word-of-mouth leads.

Sell products

Nobody likes unsolicited advertising. But if you tweet about your laundry machine never cleaning properly and Tide responds on Twitter saying you should use Tide Pods (and they give you a link for 20% off), you may appreciate their marketing efforts.

Social media users are having millions of conversations like that every day. Inserting yourself into the right conversations to sell more products is an excellent use of social media.

Brand awareness

People like doing business with companies they have a connection with. Sharing relevant content to online communities, chiming in on topical discussions, and being a part of the conversations in your market helps keep you top of mind with your target audience. So when they’re in the market for your product, they’ll remember you from your content marketing and google you to buy.

Which social media platforms to focus on

Not every social media site is worth investing in. Here’s how to figure out which social media channels are a fit for your business.


With over 2.4 billion active users, Facebook is still the largest social network in the world. It may be an Internet marketing channel worth investing in if your business sells any of the following:

B2C products

You can use demographic targeting to show ads to people most likely to purchase your product.

B2B products

If you have a product that makes someone’s life easier at work, chances are they’re still interested in it when they’re casually browsing Facebook on their smartphone.

On Facebook, people discover new content. They aren’t necessarily looking for it, but they’ll click on your content if they find it interesting. So be sure that however you market your business on Facebook, you do so in a way that grabs people’s attention.

facebook post
Facebook post

Not sure if you want to market on Facebook? At least have an active Facebook Page. An active Facebook Page is a sign of legitimacy, and potential customers will likely check yours out before doing business with you. So no matter what business you are, it’s worth at least having a presence on Facebook.


Over a billion users and counting use Instagram every month. Most businesses could benefit from employing a social media marketing strategy on Instagram. These types of companies have the highest success rates:

Mobile apps

People can instantly download your app from an Instagram add.

E-commerce companies

With only a few taps, Instagram users can purchase your product from an ad.

B2C products

Partner with relevant influencers to advertise your B2C products to their large followings.

B2B products

Most B2B companies ignore Instagram, thinking it’s not a place to sell to businesses. But people do click on business-related ads, even on Instagram.

instagram post
Instagram post

Because Instagram is a visual platform, marketing on Instagram can work particularly well if you’re selling a physical product that photographs well. But even if you aren’t, you can still create relevant content for your niche that inspires, entertains, or informs your audience. This is the kind of social media content that people like sharing and will ultimately help you grow your number of followers.


If you sell to other businesses, you should invest in marketing on LinkedIn. Creating content that others in your industry find valuable and share with others will help you become a thought leader. You’ll be seen as the company to come to when expertise is needed.

linkedin post
LinkedIn post

Because LinkedIn is a professional social network, its users primarily use the platform for business purposes. So if you sell to consumers, it’s probably not worth your time to invest heavily in LinkedIn marketing.

Pro tip: Running ads on LinkedIn can be very expensive. Each click can cost several dollars, and they generally have low conversion rates. Unless you have the marketing budget to spend $750 on acquiring a customer, it probably isn’t worth investing in this type of social media campaign.


Twitter can be a great place to insert yourself into conversations that are happening in your industry. You can join discussions on articles, answer customer complaints, retweet relevant news, and reach out to new prospects. It’s also a place that you can establish yourself as an authority in your space by sharing quality content and expertise.

tweet example
Tweet example

The best part about Twitter? You always know what’s happening at any moment in your industry. You can check the trending section, read content that others in your market are sharing, and track relevant hashtags. Being up-to-date on your industry is an edge you can use to grow your expertise and better educate your audience.


If you’re trying to sell products to women between the ages of 20 and 45, Pinterest could be a worthwhile platform. Because it’s a visual platform, fashion, design, food, arts, and crafts all lend themselves to artistic photography that converts well on Pinterest.

pin example
Pin example

On most social media platforms, you want your ads to blend in. But if you’re running ads on Pinterest, make them look like ads. Pinterest users often open several pins at once in new tabs without the intention of purchasing a product. Making your ads stand out as actual advertisements means fewer people will casually click on them and those who do are interested in what you’re marketing.

To learn more about growing your business using social media marketing, check out Demand Curve’s Growth Program.

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Neal is co-founder and CTO of Demand Curve and Bell Curve. Crypto enthusiast, climbing addict, language nerd, and compulsive traveller.

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