Social media is increasingly being used to promote products and services online. While the traditional terms such as digital advertising and e-marketing are slowly fading out of academia, social media marketing has become more prominent for researchers and practitioners. The popularity of the internet and social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter have created new avenues for businesses and marketers to advertise themselves. There are many different tools that can be used to promote a business on these sites such as social network widgets, apps and games that help users interact with the content of the website and share stories or content.
While it may seem that the tools are primarily geared towards young children, there are many professional business experts who believe that a strategy of social media marketing can benefit just about anyone. For example, one popular app that allows users to create their own profiles is used by doctors to ensure that patients receive timely updates on their condition. This provides patients and doctors with the capability to stay up to date on any significant changes that take place with the patient. Another tool, available to doctors through Hootsuite, allows them to track their social media traffic by focusing on key keywords. With this method, they are able to focus their efforts on the most trafficked social platforms and use the information to develop an effective strategy to reach these users.
Another example of the power of social media comes in the form of a study conducted by the Center for Internet and Business Research at the University of Maryland. The study compared the results of a different social media marketing campaign which involved promoting a local Maryland restaurant with one using social media to promote a national chain. The result was that a Maryland restaurant was four times more likely to generate a call back to their website than the national chain. The Maryland restaurant used a different social media platform to target a local audience while the national chain made use of a variety of platforms to broaden their reach.