The conversations about, sharing of and use of digital media are the backbone to social media.

Social media’s driving force is conversation by anyone, with anyone. It’s about making a connection with known offline acquaintances and newly introduced online acquaintances.

A Definition of Social Media:

For the sake of this post, Social Media refers to the digitally-based combination of social communities involved in real-time conversations, sharing and technology.

Using social media for promotion is best delivered as marketing without marketing. In other words, blatant promotion and persuasive (whether well-executed or not) marketing and advertising can see your social media ‘campaign’ fail miserably.

Some Common Examples of Social Media platforms:

• MySpace
• Facebook
• Twitter
• Youtube
• Blogging

A single example of why social media platforms could be a windfall of traffic and brand awareness:

Facebook alone has over 400 million active profiles. That’s a lot of people you could potentially get involved with in regards to conversation and discussing your brand, products and messages; speaking, too, of only a cross-section of the total profiles.

On conversation for marketing purposes:

An initial promotional campaign using social media should first start with listening. Find where your audience is taking up ‘residence’ on social platforms and ‘listen’ by reading and absorbing the signals they send. These are in the form of the language they use, the things they say, the needs and wants they discuss. Read between the lines.

When becoming more adept at using each profile, begin forging relationships based on common interests and topics. Join conversations, start conversations, get involved in conversations. The more of a personality and ‘real person’ factor you have, the open people will be to listen and interact with you and ultimately your brand.

An Offline Comparison Example:

Let’s look at a hypothetical offline situation. Take for example a backyard summer party. One person who you do not know walks around with a branded product t-shirt and you see him/her numerous times. Conversely, a friend of yours sparks up a conversation with you about the same particular brand and product. The two of you discuss the pros and cons while your friend works (naturally of course) a few testimonials for that product into the conversation.

Now, the question: Would you be more apt to buy the product based on seeing the product on someone’s t-shirt or would you consider buying based on the conversation? Probably a no-brainer.

The same holds true for a website owner using social media. Don’t talk all about you and what you have to offer. Don’t plop link after link. That is just interruption marketing and the public is smart, they won’t easily fall for that. Signal them by way of active conversation and trust and you’ll see those signals take you a lot further than the interruptive noise.