Social marketing works through traffic generation. Web 2.0 is a powerful strategy to promote your business online because it pours in great amounts of traffic and gives your website the much needed attention to succeed.Community marketing is one of the cheapest ways to drive sales and make your online business profitable. Social media channels can lead a huge number of visitors to your website, many of whom may come back several times and eventually make a purchase.Who uses social marketing?Social marketing is not for everyone. Only 43% of adults aged 55 and above use social media, compared to 78% of adults aged 18 to 34 and 71% of adults ages 35-44.Online reviews and blogs greatly influence 76% of adults aged 35-44 and 69% of adults aged 18-34. Only 37% of adults aged 55 and above rely on social elements for their purchasing decisions.If you are planning to use social media to promote your business, you will probably have a higher success rate with the 18 to 44 age bracket, which is not only the most tech-savvy but the most influential too in terms of purchasing power.This is not to say that you should ignore grandma and grandpa either. According to one research, adults aged 55 to 65 are the fastest growing group on Facebook, a very popular social networking site.Why use social media marketing?With the boom of social networking, more and more businesses are using social media as a marketing tool.Blogs and forums are an inexpensive way to reach out to customers. Launching a product online is definitely cheaper than buying a 10-second prime time spot on TV. Blogs and forums also give your customers a voice by allowing them to post their comments and opinion on a product or service.Maintaining an active online presence not only enables a company to better promote its public image. You can easily preempt and respond to negative public opinion by using the viral power of twitter, Facebook and youtube.The drawbacks of social marketingThe viral potential of these sites can also work to your disadvantage. A negative news or video about your product can spread like wildfire and it can be difficult to do damage control once your good name has been tarnished.This style marketing can also be time-consuming. You will have to constantly update your audience with relevant content as well as respond to customer queries in a timely fashion.Keep a close watch over updates to these sites and search engines as well. These websites change their rules often and you need to be adaptive to safeguard the interests of your business.