Social Media Marketing

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the practice of using social media channels or platforms to exchange ideas and form relationships with your audience, build and promote your brand, and ultimately increase sales. 

You can also use social media marketing to improve your brand image by listening and responding to what your audience (or the public) says about your products and services.

The most popular social media platforms businesses use today include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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How Social Media Marketing Works

Social media has changed how business owners and marketing professionals build and promote their brands. Just as you would need a manual to operate a new tool, it’s crucial to know the building blocks of social media to understand the users behind these platforms and how you can make the platforms work for your business.

Here are social media’s seven building blocks.


Identity is a vital building block representing how much information users are willing to share about themselves with others on a social media platform. For most platforms, users usually reveal details like their name, gender, location, profession, interests, etc. 

Businesses can use this information gathered from social media to create customer personas and make better-informed business decisions.


The conversations building block represents the extent and type of discussions users have on social media. These discussions could be to find other users with similar interests, share ideas, spread news, or something else.

As someone who wants to win at social media marketing, it’s essential to learn how to tap into these dialogues that users are already having. 

For instance, do your users use a specific hashtag? What do they love to talk about? What are their dislikes?

The answer to these questions will help you identify what’s relevant to your audience and create content that resonates with them.      


Sharing represents how users exchange digital content like memes, links, videos, photos, etc., with other users or specific individuals on a social media platform. Social sharing often happens organically when people come across content that resonates with them.

That people love to share content on social media emphasizes the importance of creating shareable content.

Here are some tips to help you create shareable content.

  • Talk about trending topics your audience cares about or that relate to your business
  • Draw a bit of inspiration from pop culture and memes when creating your content
  • Use power words and copy that evoke an emotional response from your audience 
  • Focus on content formats (like images, videos, and text) your target users share the most
  • Post content when your audience is most active and likely to share them           


You can add a bit of creativity to these tips to find the one that best suits your audience and business.


The hyper-connectivity most social media platforms offer makes it possible for users to share a status update or their location and “presence.” This way, you can quickly tell which geographic area a significant portion of your audience is from. Businesses can then use this information when creating geo-targeted social media ads or when planning to host a local event.

Platforms like Google and Facebook have capitalized on this social media building block by allowing users to leave reviews about the areas and physical locations they visit.


Relationships are one of the most fundamental parts of social media. The relationship building block represents how well users connect or interact with one another. So it’s no wonder that social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook use the terms “Connection” and “Friend” when two users connect.

While businesses might not be able to form deep interpersonal relationships with their audience on social media, it’s crucial to still find ways to sound like a real person and not a faceless corporation. One way to do this is by having a relatable brand voice and personalizing customer experiences.


Most people on social media usually care a lot about their reputation. They also use different “trust signals” to measure other users’ reputations.

For instance, many consider a user with a lot of followers more reputable or trustworthy than someone with less. Another signal is the verification sign social media platforms offer to public figures or “high-profile” accounts.

To succeed with social media, users need to see that your account is reputable. While many of these “trust signals” might be out of your control, you can still establish yourself as a subject matter expert by creating content that answers your audience’s questions and addresses their pain points.


The final social media block is groups. Users form groups or communities to keep accounts with similar interests in one place.

For instance, Facebook allows you to create lists and groups based on interests. Twitter also enables you to create lists specific to you or to share with the public.

When it comes to succeeding with groups and communities, you can choose one or both of these two options.

The first option is to tap into existing groups or communities around interests similar to your business. The second option is to create these groups or communities yourself. Once you’ve created a group, you can keep them engaged by sharing threads on relevant topics, conducting polls and quizzes, and encouraging audience participation.      

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

While some consider social media marketing to be a waste of time, the success that brands — including small businesses — have enjoyed through it tells a different story.

Here are some of the most significant benefits you can enjoy from using social media marketing for your business.

Mostly Free or Inexpensive

As a small business with limited resources, social media offers an excellent opportunity to organically reach millions of people and promote your products and services at relatively low costs. For instance, you can sign up to all social media platforms for free. The only cost you might incur is if you choose to hire a social media manager or run ads.

Supports Customer Service

Considering the amount of time people spend on social media, it’s not surprising that they share the experiences — whether good or bad — they have with businesses on these platforms too.

As such, it’s crucial to be on the social media platforms your customers use. That way, you’ll be able to respond to these complaints quickly and provide the needed assistance. 

Observe Walmart’s response to a customer’s concerns on Facebook.

Email response example

And on the occasion where someone shares what they love about your business, you can use social media to thank the person and encourage them to continue doing business with you.

No matter what people say about your business, you can use the feedback to optimize your product or service.      

Increases Brand Loyalty

Aside from using it to support customer service, there are also other ways you can use social media to increase brand loyalty. For instance, you can launch social media campaigns centered around user-generated content (UGC) collected from your customers. 

Apple is an example of a brand that uses UGC well. Their Instagram account is filled with pictures taken with iPhones and tagged with the #shotoniphone hashtag.

social media response example

These posts demonstrate the quality of photos the iPhone can produce, act as social proof to other customers, and resonate with their target audience — thus building loyalty.

Another way social media can help increase brand loyalty is by using it to promote your rewards program. You can create tweets or posts that show how your reward program works and how your audience can get the most out of it.

Improves Brand Awareness & Authority

People buy from businesses they know. Consistently creating content on social media helps you show up and stay at the top of your customer’s minds as they see your posts pop up on their feed or timeline. 

In addition, social media allows you to further increase your brand awareness when you create content or campaigns around popular holidays or social causes you support. For example, Patagonia’s #LoveOurPlanet campaign helped spread the word about the brand’s core values and reel in over $10 million.

social media example

When you use social media to share data-backed insights, opinions from experts, and other helpful content that educates your audience, it helps people consider you as an expert and, in turn, enables you to grow in authority.

Complements Other Marketing Channels

Social media works well with other digital marketing channels like content marketing, PPC ads, and email marketing.

Here are some examples of how social media complements other marketing channels.

  • Tweets can show up on search engine results pages
  • You can also use social media to create ads that link to your website 
  • Sharing links on social media can drive traffic to your website
  • Affiliate marketers can use influencers to promote their products and services 


How Social Media & Email Marketing Work Together

Although social media marketing works, it’s still essential to note that you don’t have much control over the platforms. Algorithms change, accounts get suspended, and in some cases, platforms lose general appeal — anyone remember MySpace?

To shield yourself from over-reliance on social media and to own your audience, you’ll need to let social media and email marketing work together.

Here are a few ways you can combine the two channels.

  1. Use your email list to grow your social media following by including social sharing buttons in your email newsletters and inviting new subscribers to follow you through your welcome emails.
  2. Make it easy for your social media followers to subscribe to your email list. You can even offer an incentive like a free download or discount to motivate them.
  3. Use subscriber information gathered from your email list to inform social and retarget ads decisions.

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