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Occasionally, I am asked how my social media advertising efforts are going. My response is that I don't participate in social media advertising. This answer is often met with confused stares and indignant assurances that all I do is talk about advertising on social media. In truth, I've rarely written about the topic. I've written a number of posts about marketing via social media, but that's a much different animal. Yes, there is a difference between advertising and marketing.

Marketing is the process; advertising is a promotional element within that process. Put another way, marketing is the recipe, and advertising is an optional ingredient in that recipe. Advertising is a narrowly defined (and usually paid) message aimed at a targeted audience for a finite period of time. In many cases, the advertisement tries to engender immediate appeal. Some even call for action or highlight a limited-time offer. In order to be effective, that narrowly defined message must be seen over and over again. It may take 7-10 exposures to an ad before a consumer will act.

On social media sites, when I refer to marketing, I'm mostly talking about your ability to interact with and engage your readers. You can advertise on a number of the social media sites, but it is not free. A lot of the sites allow you to place a small ad targeted at your specific demographic. The amount you spend on such an ad usually depends on how many people click on it.

Personally, I don't advertise on social media sites. For my situation, marketing (engaging) on social media just makes more sense. However, some authors find it to be an effective sales tool, so you may want to consider whether advertising is a good fit for your readers and your budget. If you decide to advertise on social media, you shouldn't neglect your marketing; I think you'll find that active engagement with your followers pays off best in the long run.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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