GrandmaA lot of people think that I just play on Facebook all day. A number of these people include my family members who just don’t get what I do when I sit down at my computer in the morning. It can be frustrating to have someone unintentionally devalue my career choice with one simple statement: “All you do is write posts on the Facebook? Well, anyone can do that!” I kindly disagree, Grandma! Geez!

Chances are if you work in social media marketing, you’ve been told the exact same thing or something very similar. Explaining any kind of job to any person can be a little tricky; there’s a delicate balance of being descriptive without being over explanatory to a point where the person falls asleep. I haven’t found the happy medium. In fact, my own husband will just stare at me blankly when I relay a success or a fail story because he could care less about social media and its nuances.

My point is that it can be hard to describe what social media marketing is and why it is an essential piece of a well-rounded inbound marketing campaign. And while it isn’t as important that your family understand, it is highly important that your CEO or clients do. If you need to convince someone that your business needs to be on social media, we have that covered here, but today I want to get back to the very basics of social media marketing: What is it and why is it important?

What is Social Media Marketing?
Good question. Simply put, social media marketing is a method used to increase traffic to a website or bring attention to a business by sharing content and asking others to share that information. It is just one segment of a well-balanced inbound marketing campaign and is focused on connecting with the right people who will be interested in sharing your content with their connections.

Social media marketing is not just posting a status or certain number of statuses to Facebook that says, “’Sup” or just yells a promotional message out to followers. Rather, it’s more about asking questions of your followers and engaging wi
th them in real time. It’s also a way to share helpful content that they can actually use. The goal is to foster a following that responds well to your content and likes, shares, retweets, regrams, etc.

Is Social Media Marketing Essential?
Hell-to-the-yes! Most people are on social media these days. On Facebook alone, there are currently 1.28 billion active users and 128 million daily active users in the US. If you aren’t on Facebook, you have WAY less of a chance in reaching any of them.

In addition, social media is just the norm; it used to be a much more radical way to reach potential customers. It is highly possible that you can lose business by not being on social media. Many consumers use Facebook to check out a product before buying. I use Facebook to check out a business before I purchase a product or call them for a service. Now, I’m a little bias since I’m a marketer, but if a company doesn’t at least have a Facebook page I move on to another. Having a Facebook page is like having a listing in the phone book these days, since many businesses also use it to execute customer service requests.

Not only does social media marketing drive traffic to your site, but it gets you in front of a lot of people – people you may not have reached otherwise. Social media is a powerful tool for anyone looking to marketing a business; it’s not just a place to connect with old college dorm mates any longer, though it’s good for that also.