SMM does not involve search engines but does play a key role in a website’s exposure and online marketing efforts. Working through social media is relatively cheap and holds the promise of incredibly lucrative growth if done properly, whereas dealing with search engines requires a delicate and constant adjustment of subtle factors (SEO) or costly premiums (SEM).
Having seen the power and reach of viral content, companies have flocked to the Social Web in order to utilize this “online word of mouth” for their own branding efforts. This includes having a corporate presence on:
- social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter
- streaming video services, like YouTube
- location check-ins, like Foursquare
- image sharing, like Instagram and Pinterest
Social media allows for information to spread exponentially, allowing company advertising efforts to spread very quickly and to like-minded audiences all at the efforts of the viewers themselves. Companies can also utilize social networks and social website components (like comment systems) to establish a more personal engagement with users; increasing the feeling of customer loyalty, brand awareness, and direct customer support.
Social Media Marketing should not be directly confused with social media optimization (SMO), which like SEO utilizes specific techniques, methods, and key terms to promote web traffic and awareness. Whereas SMO works through social media, Search Engine Optimization works through search engines. Successful SMO does impact a website’s search rankings, as positive social feedback in the forms of Likes, Shares etc. can be considered as marks of quality for a website, increasing its search rankings and thereby impacting its SEM.