It’s an interesting thing when concepts get defined according to the intentions and goals of a few influential voices. Take social media optimization and marketing (SMO/SMM) for example. What started as a set of tactics unique to their channels (blogs, images, audio, video) became a more closely defined set of tactics ala Rohit’s Rules for Social Media Optimization.
To me, social media is characterized by communities that allow users to do many or all of the following:
- Create profiles/accounts
- Grow a network of friends
- Submit content or collaborate
- Vote on content
- Tag content
- Comment on content
That’s the “social”. The “media” has to do with the platform as well as the content: blog, social network, wiki, news, bookmark, forum, discussion thread and text, image, audio, video for example.
In the search marketing space, it seems that social media marketing has been increasingly defined narrowly as what I’ve called “Digg Bait“. In other words, using social news sites such as Digg, Netscape, Reddit and services like StumbleUpon to generate traffic.
I suppose these channels are simply overshadowing the other types of media in the world of social media marketing because marketers have been successful using them. However, companies out there looking to understand what social media marketing is, would do well to consider the big picture and not focus on one channel.