How is social media marketing different from conventional marketing communications ?

While social media appears to be yet another channel for marketers to reach existing and potential consumers – social media marketing differs from conventional marketing in many ways.

For success of social media marketing campaigns it is imperative to understand the differences between the two . Through this blog-post we’ll be attempting to go through some key differences between conventional marketing and social media marketing- the understanding of which make the essential difference between successful and failed campaigns.

#1: Traditional Marketing – One Way conversations Vs Two Way conversations in Social Media Marketing 

social media is a free-open-lateral platform, which means there’s no hierarchy of information flow – as in traditional marketing – anybody can contribute – in real time-as opposed to conventional marketing where information flows from the company to consumers.

#2: Screening Vs. Signaling :

Social Media marketing is always prone to screening , while conventional marketing communication can rely on effective signaling to drive sales. In simple English – when a company conveys to it’s customers that “they are the best”  that is all that may be required for traditional marketing communication – but in case of Social media marketing , the users will screen your claims by questioning and counter questioning and investigating each claim.

#3: Control Vs. Contribution 

While conventional media campaigns are highly controlled and can be always monitored to keep them on the correct track to manage consumer perception – social media campaigns cannot be controlled per se , companies can only nudge audiences in the desired directions.

Marketers need to understand the associated risk of campaigns going in directions totally unintended directions primarily because the users are as much ( and as a collective unit- much more) in control than the company. However , the powerful effect of auto correction by fans for a good product can always be counted upon as a concept that has no theoretical proof but only works in practice.

#4: Push to Pull marketing – Budget(conventional) Vs Creativity(social):

While conventional marketing allows businesses to grab mind share by brute force – aka huge media spends and being present everywhere – driving consumers in a corner – the very opposite is true for social media platforms where bad behavior and content is punished as quickly as good engaging content is rewarded.

While conventional communication is about the product and about the brands – but social media is about the consumers – and how they can benefit from it. The most successful social media campaigns talk about topics not products – talk about indulgence not chocolate.

#5: Pre-produced/ scheduled conventional communication Vs. Real time creation in social media 

This also relates to the passive nature of IMC and the real time dynamic nature of social media communication . As such conventional communication also tends to be polished and edited to deliver maximum reach and frequency while social media communication is more informal but focusing on driving engagement.

#6: Mass communication Vs one-on-one marketing communication.

In conventional marketing , most advertising is designed for mass consumption, social media marketing however involves one-on-one The message should appear addressed to individual users on these platforms.Marketers therefore need to understand their target consumers so well, that messages appear tailored to every individual.  While you may have a broad TG, Facebook users may be entirely different from consumers on YouTube and therefore tailoring your approach to each network is paramount to success.