The key to be successful in social media marketing is understanding the differences between social media and conventional marketing. Using the same methodology to run social media campaigns as traditional marketing campaigns may lead to a huge waste of resources.
Conventional media includes TV, newspapers, banners, signs, billboards, magazines, etc. Social Media, however consists of Blogs, forums, networking and content websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and so on. Social Media is all about THEM (the consumers) whereas traditional marketing is all about US (the Brand). As I recently learned in a course I took on Social Media Marketing, Marketing is where the brand presents information that the consumers are expected to process or use, as planned by us (the brand). Social media marketing is where we provide the content that consumers will work with, as planned by them.
Traditional media delivers a single message through one-way communication to the largest audience possible. The message goes out while the advertiser waits and “hopes it sticks”. Social media delivers several messages through two-way communication to an audience that is interested in the brand, and the aim here is to draw response from the user.
While traditional marketing may have more professionally created content in the form of ad campaigns and slogans, one that is created through Social media is more authentic. Since it is user generated to a large extent through encouragement from the brand, it is able to create a much larger range of engagement and a sense of community among users. It is an ongoing effort without a fixed start and end date like a conventional marketing campaign.
As traditional communities are being increasingly replaced by social networks, it is now about joining the conversation, rather than disrupting it. Companies need to “Be Social” and not “Do Social”. Mass customization is the mantra, and social is a great channel to leverage on this, rather than the conventional method of mass marketing. Marketers today need to tailor their strategies to the individual and to each platform differently, as each has their own rules, customs and ways of customer interaction. Just creating a single campaign and blasting the same message across different social media websites may cause the message to lose its authenticity.
As Social Media continues to increase its presence, it is imperative for today’s marketers to make the right decisions to include a balance of both strategies. The relevance and appropriateness of using social media needs to be properly studied before just deciding to take the plunge. Once the correct marketing mix is decided, then a strategy needs to be formulated to integrate both media together. One could promote their Social Media presence via traditional media, as an example. It is also important to keep your message fresh to keep people interested in this new day and age of snowballing information.
In the end, it is important to remember that companies should use Social media marketing to ensure they have a better shot at Marketing. As it has been said:
“Social media is the ingredient, not the entrée.”