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 Robb Hecht at Baruch College to share a few social media marketing tips.

How and why did you get started in social media?

I got started in social media while working for R/GA on the Pepsi Refresh and Dear M President account when Obama was elected President back in 2008.

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

Some might say Reddit, but it's likely Snapchat. Certainly Snapchat has taken a lift off with millennials, but just like Facebook in the day, the older population will adopt it. It has struggled with usability, but its new World Lens products and capabilities provide creative interactive media - is beyond compare.

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

I have always seen (myself included) marketing teams just rushing to the platform first, as in we need a Facebook campaign or we need to be on YouTube; but the mistake they make is that they don't put a user journey focused content strategy first - which they should. While 2017 was all about content strategy and story telling, 2018 will veer us back toward content distribution and we marketers may once again be seduced by platform first thinking trying to strategize on how we can disseminate our content before we even strategize about what that content should be.

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

Brands can approach social media influencers who may have built an audience that is relevant to their product or service and let them know how valuable their audiences are. The best bets are for brands to approach influencers now with the product pushing potential, but rather on how to educate their audiences about the brand product and serve as a product evaluator to that audience by integrating some entertaining or educational content into their content strategy. Influencers and their audiences on the platforms are the new currencies for brand marketing - brands should work with several but each should be managed individually and respectfully.