Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites. Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or "updates" with others. Facebook, in contrast is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities.

Social media marketing has been on the minds of marketers since the rise of Facebook and Twitter more than a decade ago. In 2018, it is very important for every brand to invest time and resources in social media marketing.

With 30% of millennials saying they engage with a brand on social at least once a month, your strategy cannot be only about existence. Brands must be fully invested in their social media marketing strategies and focus on engagement. Otherwise, you will lose out on real customers, which means serious effects on your bottom line.

Leveraging the power of content and social media marketing can help elevate your audience and customer base in a dramatic way. But getting started without any previous experience or insight could be challenging. It is vital that you understand social media marketing fundamentals.

The goals of social media marketing cannot be just to gain likes, fans, and retweets. These things are not ends, but means to an end. Social media marketing is far more than an online popularity contest, and the better business owners understand that, the better they can use it for their companies.

We asked social media expert Jason Myers at The Content Factory to share a few social media marketing tips.

How and why did you get started in social media?

I began out of a necessity to promote my band, Icarus Witch, back in the early days of MySpace. By the time many businesses were realizing the value of marketing on social, many of us musicians had already become savvy at the channels. Later I realized social media management can be an amazing remote-work job, making it an ideal way to earn extra money while touring with the band. So rather than taking vacation days from a day job or coming home to find a new job like many bandmates, I was able to maximize those down time hours on the road and keep the bills paid back in Pittsburgh while rocking stages in Hollywood or Seattle.

Which social platform do you think is the most under-rated and under-used by businesses?

At the current time, I'd say Google For Business is still widely underused. The whole Google Plus experiment has really confused and turned away your average social media user to their platforms. But the fact remains, the G+ and related suites are still owned by the most powerful search engine in the known universe. Google For Business specifically has offered certain businesses to upgrade their profile on search and really draw customers in, simply by filling out the proper profile and posting occasional content. After Google My Business, I'd say many businesses are still sleeping on YouTube which has not been thought of in the traditional social media sense as, say Facebook or Twitter, but is quietly replacing TV as the go-to source of entertainment, especially for the younger demographic.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make in social media?

One big mistake is when company's set up a social channel and abandon it when it doesn't provide the results they want for the time they're willing to commit. We see this on Twitter a lot where a brand may have a profile but hasn't tweeted since 2015. That looks way worse than not having a profile at all. Another mistake we've seen in recent years is when the owner or person running a company's social account may express negative or divisive views on topics or events. It's never a good look when your favorite pizza parlor is bitching about NFL anthem protests.

What are some ways that a brand can connect and interact with social media influencers?

Twitter (and to a lesser degree LinkedIn or Google Plus) work well for this. A brand should find articles that would be of interest to their followers and share them, taking the extra step to find the handle of the author/influencer and add a complimentary shoutout to the journalist with a short, sincere note on what they enjoyed about the article. You'll find most writers have easily searched Twitter handles and love to get sincere praise on social. True story, just last month the CEO of Fairtrade International tweeted a non-business post about how he was enjoying some Debbie Gibson music. Debbie picked up the mention, wrote back, and our team joined in on the fun. Now there's a legit friendship brewing between a non-profit organization and a celebrity, all because of organic engagement on Twitter.