Differences between Traditional and Social Media Marketing

Traditional and Social Media marketing are two completely different processes that need to be understood separately. As the graphic below shows, the funnel for social media marketing is the opposite to traditional marketing , with the former looking to find new customers through word of mouth and through the recommendation of retained and loyal ones.

Traditional marketing has focussed on prioritising limited resources and time to find and convert new prospects (the top of the funnel). Keeping those hard-earned customers (the bottom of the funnel) has often been an afterthought. Historically, the best one could do after turning a prospect into a customer was to provide a great customer experience and just hope they come back to buy more—and bring their friends with them.

Social Media Marketing is about recognizing that your existing customers are your best assets. Technology now enables us to influence consumer behaviour both before and after the sale. With low-cost and easy-to-use tools like social media and email, you no longer have to hope that customers come back and bring their friends with them. Now you can reach out to your existing customers to remind them to come back, and make word-of-mouth as easy as clicking the share, like, or tweet buttons.

Compared to traditional marketing, social media marketing is a smart and often more affordable way to quickly find and interact with customers and fans of your brand and/or products online. Traditional marketing activities that still work, like advertising in a newspaper, sending direct mail and attending networking events, are still essential. However, for most, social media marketing is now a critical component of an effective marketing strategy. In fact, social media marketing works best when combined with other marketing activities, especially email marketing.

Below image captures the major differences between Social Media Marketing and Traditional  Marketing

Unlike largely static media such as print and radio, the mechanisms by which digital messages are delivered and the context within which individual members of the market receive these messages is constantly in-flux. Social media and digital communications depend on rapid innovation, changing platforms, and evolving social mentalities that sink or swim in real-time. They require a strategic flexibility to succeed, and often necessitate experimentation in order to understand how to best reach particular audiences through online engagement.

The stilted tone of past marketing and PR campaigns has gone by the wayside in the age of social media. The world has become more transparent and people want to know more about the brands that they support. In the past, organizations could often divulge only what they wished, but now organizations must answer straightforward questions posed on public platforms in real-time. In today’s world, organizations communicate directly with the public and they need to be likeable and relatable.

Moreover, social media is real-time and 24/7. The real-time nature of digital platforms have made organizations accessible at all hours and in all situations. Also, organizations are expected to respond to inquiries on social media platforms in real time. Unlike traditional media that runs as per a schedule and a plan, social media requires active management and necessitates the implementation of real-time PR strategies, all day.

Below infographic captures 10 differences between Conventional Marketing and Digital Marketing. (There is a difference between digital marketing and social media  marketing. Social media marketing is actually a small part of digital marketing.)


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