Difference between social media marketing and conventional marketing communications

Conventional marketing is made up of mediums such as television, radio, newspapers, billboards, and more.  These can each be thought of as one-way communication medium, as a broad range of consumers receive information from them but are never able to communicate back.  This is strength and weakness rolled into one, since so many consumers are exposed to the marketing message, but there is no real connection made between the consumer and company.

Social marketing, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal.  It is made up of different avenues within the internet, like FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and many more.  These mediums can be thought of as more two-way communication media, which makes up the true uniqueness of social marketing.  When a message is placed in front of the consumer, the consumer is then able to respond back to it – being social in a sense.  The business and the consumer are then able to take part in a conversation, learning and growing with one another.  This relationship creates trust and entices the consumer to become loyal to the company.

Social media is all about community and harnessing its power. Social networks increasingly replace more traditional communities and this is what draws billions of people into social networks and convinces them to spend significant time engaging in the social network.

It’s not disrupting the conversation but joining the conversation.  Become an integral part of the community. People engage more when they’re a part of something. The community can effectively contribute content such as a cool video or suggestions for a brand name. Anyone can join and we share interesting tips we find, ask questions or get support.

Traditional media is designed for mass consumption. Social media is meant for one on one marketing. Message appears to be addressed to individual users. Marketers need to understand their target market on each network so messages appear tailored to the individual. While you may have a broad target market, the ones on Facebook may be entirely different from the ones on YouTube and adapting your approach in each network. This is not possible in case of traditional marketing.

A social media campaign needs to be worked every day. Monitoring what your customers are saying and doing and then responding accordingly takes time. A traditional media plan is time-consuming mostly on the front end and back end of the campaign. Once a traditional media plan is put into place, it is a mostly hands-off affair.

The biggest contrast between the two media is cost. This is because of the nature of the medium. Traditional medium is a content creator whereas social media marketing is a content aggregator.

But yes there are few similarities too. Each of them creates a customer base. Learning how your audience base, current or potential, uses different media and meeting them at each point will make sure they are receiving the message loud and clear.

The effectiveness of both the communication is measurable. Like any good media plan, results need to be measured to see how effectively you communicated your message. Within a traditional media campaign you might use foot traffic, sales data and surveys to gather results. The same measurements with a social media campaign can also be done. Plus, you can measure results in real-time with a social media campaign based on comments, hash tags and uploaded photos to see if your customers are compelled to take action or already have.

It’s true that the contemporary focus is totally on social media marketing but, the basics of traditional marketing can never be overlooked.


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