[B-W4.2] Social Media & Online Marketing

social media

Can you name all of these social media blockheads?

What is Social Media?

Social media refers to community-based internet platforms that enable users to interact with other users online. Users can instantly share information with each other including ideas, personal messages, pictures, videos, files, and other content.

Social media began as a personal tool for interacting with friends and family but was later adopted by businesses for reaching out to customers. Some social media platforms focus on one or more of the following: content-sharing, collaboration, communication, and networking.

Some popular platforms include:


  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Instagram
  • Google+
  • Del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Yelp
  • Tumblr
  • Blogger
  • Bebo

What is Social Networking?

In Hollywood, they call it “schmoozing”, “hobknobbing”, and “mingling”. In the world of New Media, they call it “social networking”.

For individuals, social media can assist in expanding the number of business and social contacts by making connections through other individuals. For businesses, social media can serve as an interactive form of public relations and a direct line of communication to customers.

According to digital PR and social media strategist Sally Falkow:

“Markets have become conversations. Social media are the online platforms and locations that provide a way for people to participate in these conversations. For individuals it is a way to connect and share content with friends and like-minded people. For businesses it’s a way to tap into what people are saying about your brand, your product and/or your service, participate in the conversations, be open to new ideas and then use these insights to make better business decisions.”

social media

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of using social media for marketing purposes. Generally, the goal is to attract attention on social media platforms that brings visitors to a website and/or gets them to interact with the business in some way including:

  • sign up for a newsletter
  • watch a video
  • discover special offers/coupons
  • enter a contest
  • fill out a survey
  • play a game
  • find out information and recent news
  • interact with other like-minded customers

In addition, businesses can learn more about their customers, build trust with customers, create positive buzz around a service or product, enhance their brand/reputation, get instant feedback, solve customer service issues, and target customers directly.

The ultimate goal of social media marketing is to turn customers into fans of your product/brand and let their positive views spread via electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) through social media platforms. The downside of this is that customers who are not happy about your products or services can damage your business’s reputation. This very fact has lead to the rise of Online Reputation Management (ORM) companies that use various techniques on the web to enhance positive views of their clients and bury negative ones.

The Bottom Line

  • Social Media refers to the platform/tools of online interaction.
  • Social Networking is the act of connecting with others on social media.
  • Social Media Marketing is how businesses join the conversation, promote trust, provide answers, and build relationships.

The Assignment

The class will be divided into groups. As a team, you will be creating a social media campaign for one of the following clients (your choice):

Vandelay Industries

(latex products)


(office products)

Stark Industries


Oceanic Airlines

(air travel)


(fast food)

Cyberdyne Systems


Umbrella Corporation


(animal cloning)

Walley World

(theme parks)

Omni Consumer Products

(mixed products/services)




(family restaurant with flair)


(fast food restaurant)

Cobra Kai Dojo

(martial arts training)

Wolfram & Hart

(specialized legal services)

You must answer three questions.

  • Who is your client’s targeted demographic? (Be specific)
  • What is your client’s message?
  • How will your client’s message reach their audience?

You must present your social media marketing campaign using Word, Powerpoint, or Prezi. You must show examples of the content you will push out. Try to engage your audience and get them talking. Some of your content should have a call to action where it is appropriate. Have lots of examples of content that you would create and which social media platforms you would put it on. You must use multiple social media platforms and explain why you chose them.

You will have 5 minutes to present your marketing strategy at the end of the class.

You can download and read the Social Media Best Practices PDF for ideas.