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 Sally Hendrick at Go-Sally-Go Consulting, LLC to share a few social media marketing tips.

How and why did you get started in social media?

After telling stories from statistics for 25 years, I started looking for ways to get out of corporate and into my own entrepreneurial venture. I had hired a life coach and noticed that she used Facebook and other social media to run her business, but she had no systems in place. To help her out, I started investigating how coaches could use automated email sequences and payment systems to take some of the administrative burden off their plates. Stumbling upon a goldmine of data within Facebook piqued my curiosity to dig into statistics that drive marketing and advertising.....and then Social Media Traffic School was born.

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

Facebook is being used by businesses, but it is not being utilized to the full extent. Facebook has over 1,500 data points on every American user and 500 data points on the rest of the world's users. That's like having someone's purchasing and interest DNA at your fingertips to do market research and pinpoint potential clients for advertising to the nth degree. What businesses don't realize is that using Facebook to market products and services is not about scrolling the Facebook news feed. It's about using just about any app on a smartphone. If you have a smartphone, you're being targeted for ads whether you ever open the Facebook app or not. Knowing that over 200 million Americans have Facebook accounts is enough to reach people wherever they hang out on their smartphones.

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

Too many posts and not enough leveraged marketing! Posting on social media isn't about volume anymore. It's about targeted reach and engagement. When it comes to Facebook, the algorithm takes time to filter through your fans, followers, and friends to find the ones that will resonate with your posts. Keywords matter! Facebook takes the keywords from your posts, as well as the images, video transcripts, and links, and uses them decide who will be served your posts in their news feeds. Once people start responding with likes, comments, and shares, Facebook takes that as a good sign, then they profile who will be getting your notifications next. If you post too quickly before an attractive post has time to reach the people Facebook serves it to, you'll knock the prior post out of favor and throw off its trajectory. There's a lot more to it, of course, but the main message here is to choose your posts wisely, and learn the best way to reach your target Market.

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

If you want help from an influencer, then find out what they need, want, or are looking for. Influencers are asked constantly for their advice, a mention, a favor, or a backlink, but what's in it for them? If you provide a service that the influencers' clients need, then make a point to be helpful visibly to that influencers' potential clients. Be willing to go the extra mile, personalize your communication, and make it about them, not you. Showing up at their events, becoming a client of theirs, and standing out also helps.