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What Is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

Social media marketing (also known as digital marketing and e-marketing) is the use of social media—the platforms on which users build social networks and share information—to build a company’s brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. In addition to providing companies with a way to engage with existing customers and reach new ones, SMM has purpose-built data analytics that allows marketers to track the success of their efforts and identify even more ways to engage.

Within 18 years, from 2004 (when My Space became the first social media site to reach one million users) to 2022, the dramatic growth of interactive digital channels took social media to levels that challenge even the reach of television and radio.1 At the start of 2023, there were 4.76 billion social media users globally—over 59% of the world’s population.

Why Is Social Media Marketing (SMM) So Powerful?

The power of SMM is driven by the unparalleled capacity of social media in three core marketing areas: connection, interaction, and customer data.


Not only does social media enable businesses to connect with customers in previously impossible ways, but there is also an extraordinary range of avenues to connect with target audiences—from content platforms (like YouTube) and social sites (like Facebook) to microblogging services (like X).

How Social Media Marketing (SMM) Works

As platforms like Facebook, X, and Instagram took off, social media transformed how we connect and how businesses can influence consumer behavior—from promoting content that drives engagement to extracting geographic, demographic, and personal information that makes messaging resonate with users.

SMM Action Plan

The more targeted your SMM strategy is, the more effective it will be. Hootsuite, a leading software provider in the social media management space, recommends the following action plan to build an SMM campaign that has an execution framework as well as performance metrics:3

  • Align SMM goals to clear business objectives
  • Learn your target customer (age, location, income, job title, industry, interests)
  • Conduct a competitive analysis of your competition (successes and failures)
  • Audit your current SMM (successes and failures)
  • Create a calendar for SMM content delivery
  • Create best-in-class content
  • Track performance

Social Media Marketing Goals

You can pursue a huge variety of goals with social media marketing — it depends on your overall marketing strategy. Here are some examples of popular goals for SMM:

social media marketing
  • community engagement increase;
  • sales and lead generation;
  • customer retention;
  • website traffic growth;
  • audience growth;
  • handling negative feedback;
  • feedback search;
  • competitors and trends monitoring;
  • increasing brand awareness;
  • consumer demand research.

No matter what your goals are, you have to define them precisely — it will help create your SMM strategy and content

Social Media Marketing Tools

Ten years ago, social networks were a small field, and it was easy for marketers to manage them manually. Today promoting your brand via social media is a tough job, which demands a lot of additional tools to make everything work.

Implements for social media marketing can be used for these purposes:

  • mentions monitoring;
  • posts creation and scheduling;
  • brand-user communication;
  • performance analytics.

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