In February of 2004, a small company in Menlo Park, California named Facebook, launched a web-based service to help people find new friends through their university classmates. By the end of 2004, about 1 million users became members of the service. In 2005, when I moved from California to Asia, I had about 30 Facebook friends, and there were fewer than 1000 active users in this ultra modern city of Hong Kong which had a population of over eight million people. By the time I moved back to the United States to join the University of Illinois in 2015, I had over 500 Facebook friends and more than 3 million people in Hong Kong had joined the online social network. Fast forward to February 2018, the once intimate network of friends and classmates now has over 2 billion active users around the world and that the company is now worth approximately $483 billion. Besides being one of the largest companies on Earth and connecting nearly one-third of the world's population, Facebook as a media platform, has the power to sway the results of elections, shape social and political opinions, and create new cultural phenomenon. It has also disrupted the entire advertising industry and reshaped the marketing media landscape. What made social media platforms, such as Facebook, so powerful in helping organizations discover, reach, engage, and ultimately influence their communication targets? What are some of the most effective social media marketing strategies? How can a company makes sense and take advantage of the various social media channels to achieve its marketing goals? In this lesson, I will discuss social media marketing strategies. Since I have covered the theoretical and conceptual aspects of social media, another Coursera course, I will mainly focus on the strategic and practical issues related to social media marketing in this class. Before we look at specific social media marketing tactics, I want to stress three key principles about social media that I observed from studying this technology for nearly 15 years. First, social media is not just one media channel. It is a virtual society in which all sorts of human activities take place. As a marketer, you should never treat social media as the same as other media channels like television or newspaper. The best way to unleash the power of social media is to think of it as a parallel universe to our physical world with its own set of rules, norms, and cultures. From this view, social media marketing is not about using social media for marketing, but about managing a variety of marketing activities on social media. Second, communication on social media is both social and personal. Traditional mass media is rich in content and broad in reach, but lacks personal context. Face-to-face communication and the telecommunications or intimate and impactful, but difficult to scale. Social media has the power of both communication systems, and social media marketing does not follow the conventional distinction between one-to-many mass advertising and one-to-one direct marketing. Instead, you should see social media marketing as personalized marketing on a massive scale in a many-to-many communication system. Third, social media marketing involves both content and relationship management. Traditionally, the functions of marketing strategy, advertising, sales, customer relations, and public relations are managed separately. Effective social media marketing requires a holistic and integrated viewpoint from which these different marketing tools should be strategically coordinated and flexibly combined to achieve a common goal. With these three principles in mind, let's now take a closer look at social media marketing. Although there are many social media platforms, each with different functions and features, there are two defining characteristics across all of them. The first is an inherent capacity to build and grow social connections, and the second, a communicative environment that enables, fosters and rewards user-generated content. Broadly speaking, social media marketing involves one or a combination of the following marketing strategies. First, there's social media advertising. Social media advertising is very much like a web page advertising and search engine advertising, except that you are buying the advertising inventory on specific social media platforms instead of from an open market or a search engine. This strategy is best used when conversions and short-term revenue growth are the key objectives. Next, there's social media based content marketing. This strategy involves an organization creating and maintaining its own informational and entertainment media, such as videos, blogs, or educational material, and then using social media to share and promote this content. This strategy combines the advantage of social media as both a platform for content creation and a social networking platform. Content marketing on social media is increasingly being used as an integral part of public relations, consumer education, and brand awareness campaigns.