Social media like Facebook and Twitter is "all about engagement", which makes it an ideal tool for outreach marketing.

Writing on Search Engine Land, Joe Hall said this particular strand of online PR involves brands finding potential customers with an interest in their products or services who may not have heard of their particular company.

Users of online marketing services who want to reach out to these consumers with social media need to define their target audience and the best way to engage them, he added.

Defining who a campaign will be aimed at "goes hand in hand" with primary and secondary keyword selection.

Primary keywords are directly connected with a particular industry – for pet stores, they could include "cat food".

Secondary phrases are associated with a sector but do not include a product description, for instance "hungry cat".

Mr Hall said engagement methods should ideally include a "click factor" – an incentive to follow a link – or a "response factor", which gives a personal touch by establishing a dialogue with the consumer.

"The next time you are looking for a new branding or buzz-building strategy, consider combining outreach marketing with social media monitoring tools," he added.

Nicola Clark of Marketing magazine recently said that sites like Facebook and Twitter give a "massive advantage" to small brands, as they can create a sense of "genuine community" with their marketing that cannot be replicated by multinationals.

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