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. Why would a search marketer — or a site about search engines — care about social media? The two are very closely related.

Social media often feeds into the discovery of new content such as news stories, and “discovery” is a search activity. Social media can also help build links that in turn support into SEO efforts. Many people also perform searches at social media sites to find social media content.