How is Social Media Marketing Different from Conventional Marketing Communication?

Type of Marketing

Traditional marketing is a one way, static broadcasting technique of marketing. It is a uniform, structured and clear and uses traditional media such as television, newspapers, radio, magazines, etc.

Social media marketing on the other hand is dissected, spread out and unclear. It uses the present day social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google+, etc. to reach out to its audience.

Direction of Communication

Traditional marketing is unidirectional. The message is broadcasted by the businesses and consumers are passive listeners, i.e. consumers are required to process or use the information as planned by the businesses.

Social media marketing is multidirectional. Both the businesses and consumers talk and listen. In social media consumers work upon the information provided as planned by them.


Traditional marketing campaigns are usually planned over a longer duration of time and are supposed to be relevant for a longer duration of time.

Social media campaigns are not planned over a long duration and can be spontaneous comments and requests also.

Communication with consumer

In traditional media the communication with consumer is well considered and reviewed. The communication occurs between the company and the consumer and the point of discussion is kept secret.

In social media that communication is consumer is both fast and public. Reactions to comments and any other media are immediate and public at large is free to join in the conversation.


The traditional media is often available only during office working hours (e.g. responses to emails, letters etc.). There is no direct support during non-working hours.

In social media there is a constant effort on part companies to respond to comments. Especially when responding to negative feedback or comments.


Traditional marketing is specific and is optimized for certain target audiences and markets.

Social media is a general form of marketing and is available to anyone and everyone. It is optimized for the public.


Businesses that have been following the traditional marketing path have a wealth of experience and thus a secured legal position in terms of advertising and marketing within legal boundaries.

Social media marketing is alternating and innovative. It takes shape around the changing social media technologies and innovative marketing concepts. The legal position of such media remains unassured and changing and therefore vulnerable.

Use of Language

Traditional form of marketing uses formal and legally safe language in its marketing. Marketing material and media are vetted and audited before being published.

Social media marketing is genuine and direct. There is no vetting or back and forth review of the content. It is direct and spontaneous.

People Involved

The people involved in traditional form of marketing are the marketing department, public relations departments, external agencies and sales departments.

In social media marketing every department and every employee is involved in the process. Most importantly consumers are involved as the media is public.

The differences in the traditional and social media marketing platforms make it pertinent that businesses carve out a balance of the two. Heavy reliance on any one is not advisable. Also, traditional and social media are not an alternative to each other, they are complementary.