What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is recognized as the most common approach to marketing. It is also called digital marketing, where an industry or a brand promotes its products and services. There are different social media marketing tactics, such as blogging, customer review network, and video platform.

Digital marketing and social media marketing

In digital marketing, the marketers focuses on content marketing so that the customer is aware of the information about the products and services. Whereas, social media marketing is a medium where various email marketing and marketing campaign advertising occur. All these initiatives are taken better to understand customers and target audiences about a product.

The most important and eye-catching platforms that marketers use to advertise their company’s brand are YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These platforms help to convey the proper information to the target audience. Nowadays, providing brand awareness is very important for stability in a competitive market and gaining productivity.

An image showing various platforms through which businesses can be promoted
An image showing various platforms through which businesses can be
CC BY 2.0 | Image Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org/ |
Automotive Social

Importance of social media marketing

Social media marketing enables organizations to promote their products through various social media platforms. It is a way to interact with customers and attract them to organizational products. There are several advantages to social media marketing, including:

1. Proper utilization of social media can allow companies to market their brands even in remote areas.

2. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have intelligent tools for segmentation in which the market can be targeted as per age, gender, geography, and so on.

3. Social media marketing can be practiced on a large audience with a smaller budget.

4. Social media marketing helps organizations to build direct relationships with their target customers.

5. Social media helps in keeping track of competitors' activities.

6. It helps to understand customers' buying patterns and interests. There are a few tools that can be used by social media experts to precisely understand the market expectations and needs by suitably monitoring the potential customers with the help of those tools.

7. It helps to stay abreast with the industry patterns. Some organizations post industry-related updates on a day-to-day basis.

8. Social media marketing promotes brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. A company using social media and addressing their customer’s complaints using social media platforms enjoys the benefit of good brand loyalty and maintains good customer retention.

9. Social media marketing promotes prompt customer care service.

Challenges of social media marketing

Social media marketing should be sound and effective, especially in E-Commerce, in terms of Business-to-business (B2B) marketing to reach the targeted customers.

Using social media for marketing is easy, but utilizing it correctly is the biggest challenge because the company has to understand the marketing concept. Understanding this concept enables an organization to precisely evaluate the market needs and cater to the relevant needs of the potential customers through social media marketing.

Disadvantages of social media marketing

There are many disadvantages to social media marketing, including:

1. Social media can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Individuals tend to spend more time on social media than usual due to addictive and engaging content available on social media platforms.

2. It can be challenging to measure the results of an individual’s social media marketing campaigns.

3. An individual may need to hire someone to manage their social media accounts, which can be expensive.

4. An individual may encounter negative comments and customer feedback on social media platforms.

5. Social media marketing requires regular updates and engagement, which can be challenging to maintain over time.

6. The algorithms of social media platforms are constantly changing, making it difficult to keep up with the latest trends and best practices.

7. Social media can be addicting, leading to excessive use and a waste of time.

8. Social media can cause you to compare yourself to others, leading to feelings of jealousy or inadequacy.

9. An individual may encounter cyberbullies or trolls on social media platforms, which can damage mental health. Some cybercriminals use social media platforms to extort money from innocent people by intimidating the social media users about potential dangers or befooling them online.

10. Social media can be a major distraction from work or other important tasks. There are several instances where people often find themselves distracted because of their habit of using social media. For instance, an employee may avoid important office work and start chatting with friends through social media platforms, or a student facing distractions during the phase of exam preparation, and so on.

Types of social media marketing

Social media marketing is a useful tool for organizations and is becoming popular in different industries. It can be bifurcated into various ways such as:

Social media networking

Networking is done through social media platforms by targeting the audience and uploading photos, videos, stories, reels, status, and so on. The examples of social media networking may include typical social media platforms like:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram


Social media marketing is done through blogging on various sites about the product or service, which can grab reader’s attention through platforms like:

  • Facebook
  • Quora
  • WordPress
  • Tumblr

Customer review network

Customer review network sites display customers' feedback about a product or service. Marketing can be done by promoting positive reviews of a product or service, convincing the audience, and positively impacting them. It can be done through platforms like:

  • Amazon
  • Google my business
  • Open Table

Influencer marketing

Businesses can collaborate with influencers on video platforms to promote their products and services. It can be done through platforms like:

  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • YouTube

Common mistakes

Students generally make mistakes in understanding social media marketing and online marketing. They consider both topics as similar concepts. However, the concepts are technically different. Social media marketing means a digital marketing technique through which organizations use different social media platforms to achieve their marketing objectives. On the other hand, online marketing involves advertising a brand, company, products, and services through various web-based channels. Therefore, it is necessary for them to understand important aspects of these two concepts that differentiate them from each other.

Context and applications

This topic is significant in marketing and is important for other courses of study like Bachelors in Business Management, Bachelors in Business Administration, and Masters in Business Administration.

While studying social media marketing, it is important to read the following topics to understand the concept better:

  • Social media
  • Social media platforms
  • Digital marketing
  • E-commerce

Practice problems

1. Which of these is a video hosting social media platform?

  1. WhatsApp
  2. LinkedIn
  3. YouTube
  4. Facebook

Answer: c

Explanation: Primarily, YouTube is the most common and famous video hosting platform on social media.

2. Social media marketing is a part of ________________.

  1. Digital marketing
  2. Online marketing
  3. Marketing campaigns
  4. Distribution

Answer: a

Explanation: Social media marketing comes specifically under digital marketing. However, digital marketing comes under the broader term online marketing that focuses on a vast range of online marketing channels.

3. Social media marketing mostly focuses on which of the following area?

  1. Social media platforms
  2. Individual shop
  3. Word of mouth advertising
  4. Wholesaler

Answer: a

Explanation: Social media marketing focuses on social media platforms.

4. Which among the following is identified as a platform for social media marketing?

  1. Walmart
  2. Target (TGT)
  3. Instagram
  4. Amazon

Answer: c

Explanation: Instagram is a popular social media marketing platform. Although, Amazon, Walmart, and Target also have their websites that enables users to order products online, still they are not regarded as a social media platform as it only promotes itself and not other businesses.

5. Which of the following is not an advantage of social media marketing to a business?

  1. Direct relation with customers
  2. Access to vast audience base
  3. Transparency of customer reviews
  4. access to various social media platforms

Answer: c

Explanation: Transparency of customer review provides access to positive as well as negative feedbacks to the customers. This can affect the customer base of a brand which has negative customer feedbacks.

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