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Social media marketing
A while back, I posted this, my first question on Quora: How do you define social media marketing? All kinds of professionals—from online marketers, to entrepreneurs, to a weight loss expert chimed in with their answers. I thought you might find the answers interesting, so I’ll share them with you now.
Also, I’ll ring a bell when I believe the answer hits on a keeper and buzz when I disagree.
Ben Ard, Director of Social Media @Leadgenix
Social Media marketing is word of mouth marketing online.  It is opening up the one-way communication channel of traditional advertising into a full conversation where the consumers play a vital role.
Ding! Conversation is definitely a key.
Dmitri Sarle, In-House Entrepreneur at
SMM is an “Engagement culture of a company used to reach out to consumers (using any modern media) in a meaningful, relevant and non-intrusive way to both communicate and gather relevant information to the brand.” Only then will you get the word-of-mouth and all the benefits of SMM.
Ding! I like the “gather” idea. Experts often call this “social listening.”

Brit Thompson, Social Marketing Manager

Social media marketing is building a community of brand advocates through engagement, outreach, and knowledge sharing, at scale.
Ding! Building community—love it.
Bryn Adler, Marketing Program Manager
One of the differentiators of social media marketing is a pull marketing, instead of push marketing. It’s not only about harnessing the power of these sites to enhance marketing for products, services, and content that you would normally funnel through traditional media, but using customer interaction, stories, word of mouth, reviews, etc. to become a trusted source and expert in your industry. In doing so, you can strengthen brand reputation and boost customer loyalty.
Ding! Becoming a trusted source is a smart objective.

Jenna Hannon, BNOTIONS Marketing Director

I would personally define social media marketing, as an inbound marketing tactic of content creation and community building through 3rd party recognition, word-of mouth, and social interaction online.
Ding! It’s content creation, or it can be. I propose it’s content sharing more so than creation, but yeah, it’s content too. Case in point: this article.

Ian Hilti Hilton, Weight Loss Expert

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.
Bzzz! Question not answered. 
Chris Kilbourn, entrepreneur
Social media marketing should only be about creating relationships. When you focus on this (not on conversions), you generate trust (with the individuals you create these relationships with), word of mouth, and social proof.
Ding! Social proof is a nice addition to the list of answers (even if it’s not real clear what that means.)
Jeremy Roberts, Social Marketing Strategist
Through the use of social media channels, create awareness and engagement for your company and elevate the voice of promoters in order to build meaningful relationships that enable the lead-to-sales process.
Bzzz! Huh? 
Tina Kyei, Digital & Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is using the various platforms on social media to engage and build relationships with people. Work is involved.
Social media marketing is not about various platforms but dealing with people and offering them solutions, they would spread your message or your service. This then becomes word of mouth marketing but online.
Ding! Offering people solutions is probably a better definition for “content marketing,” but it is a viable objective.

Will Fraser, Co-Founder

Social media marketing: any activity you perform online that can be made social. Sure, social media marketing is primarily demand generation through social media channels as Jeremey Roberts said. However, this means that if a friend socializes anything and it effects demand generation it is social media marketing.
Bzzz! It could generate demand, but it’s not demand generation. If you’re focused on this, SMM will backfire on you.
Sai Karthik Reddy, Aspiring Entrepreneur
Social media marketing is like a community driven strategy of marketing increasing user engagement. Thus, in long run the brand would be a word of mouth.
Bzzz! This person could be onto something, but didn’t make much sense.
Charlemagne Solanor, Content Writer, SEO Specialist
The goal is to connect consumers and brands in conversations in near real-time. Social Media Marketing is also a way for companies to gather information about their markets.
Ding! SMM may be the best research tool marketing has ever seen.

Michael J Flanigan

Social media marketing is conversing with potential customers and building relationships. People want to do business with people.
When you’re building any relationship it takes time and that’s the core of it. Having conversations and helping people solve their problems.
Ding! “Building relationships” is my favorite answer (in terms of SMM’s objective anyway.)

Nigel Ohrum, Social Media Manager

Social media marketing is engaging people via online social networks for the purpose of leveraging influence—be it marketing, raising awareness, or promoting a cause.

Ding! Props for “influence.”

Benny Luo, Social Media Marketer
Social media marketing is a the use of various online mediums [correction: media] to drive targeted traffic to a specific source, with intention to increase brand equity and/or monetary value for a brand/product.
You make the call. This definition sounds like “online marketing” to me. Maybe social media marketing is online marketing. Maybe not. Maybe it is what you make of it. I’d love to get your take on this.
Thanks to all that contributed (including those whose answers I didn’t include) and thank you for reading (and commenting).