What are social media? A question many new network marketers and business owners are asking as their online marketing strategies become more complex and detailed. Social media is a rapidly expanding tool for businesses to use to attract new customers and drive increased sales. Social media websites and applications such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn allow people to communicate with each other, build professional relationships, and share information about their lives. Today, it's possible to get involved in almost any discussion on the Internet that you'd like, and connect with people around the world. Social media is basically the use of various social networks and sites to advertise a product or service. While the terms digital and e-marketing are more dominant in academic circles, social marketing is quickly becoming more prominent for both advertisers and researchers. SMM refers to internet marketing and SMO to marketing online using social networks. SMM is simply a more efficient way of reaching your audience. In addition to reaching your audience more efficiently, SMM allows you to do so more cheaply. Using social media to reach your audience is a great way to attract new, prospective customers. However, if your audience doesn't necessarily share your interests, or are not the type of audience you would normally target, you may not see results from your SMM efforts. So how do you know what your audience wants to hear and see? You must track and measure your social media marketing campaigns to determine what types of messages to bring the most success, as well as which ones to turn people away. One important metric you should track is engagement, or the number of times that an audience or friend says "I'm interested" or "I'm following you on Twitter." An engaging social media strategy can mean the difference between a casual fan and a loyal subscriber. Engagement can be measured in a variety of ways including posts to your fan page, mentions in your profile to other followers, comments in your blog and status updates to your website. It can also be measured by the amount of time someone spends viewing your pages, the number of comments you receive, and other metrics that you set up for your specific marketing goals. There are different approaches you can take when it comes to managing and monitoring your social media marketing campaign. You can use one of the free tools available called HootSuite or Buffer. HootSuite will give you a list of the top social channels that you should focus on, as well as tools to analyze the data provided by HootSuite. This tool is great for tracking what types of posts are working for you, and it allows you to see what types of posts are turning people away. On the other hand, Buffer gives you a number of analytics reports to track the engagement of your different profiles. Buffer uses a unique "tweetness" metric to determine engagement rates and other important factors. You can view these stats right from within your Buffer account and gain insight into how many people are actually responding to your tweets and engaging with your content.