Social Media Vs Traditional Media

Social media marketing is almost taking over the traditional marketing landscape due to its cost effective nature and interactivity. Unlike traditional marketing, social media campaigns can be sculpted and toned to accommodate a specific target market with almost continuous updates as the market’s tastes and interests change and evolve. Since social media is still in its infancy stages, some consumers have a difficult time discerning between traditional versus social even though the two vehicles are light years apart. Here are a few steps you can take to determine the difference between social media versus traditional marketing.

Determine if you can interact with the media or advertising.

Social media is interactive, whereas traditional marketing is passive. Can you respond or “talk back” to the ad? Watching television, listening to the radio or reading a newspaper, for example are all forms of traditional marketing. The reader/viewer/listener is passively reading the paper, watching TV or listening to the radio and is confronted with an ad. The only way around the advertising is to turn the channel or page. Whether you want the ad or not, you get it. However, with social media you are prompted to interact with the marketing whether it’s clicking on the ad or commenting on the post or Tweet.

Is there a call to action that can be addressed immediately? For example, with social media, while checking your Facebook page you may see advertisements running along the side of your page. These ads are designed especially for your taste based on your interaction with Facebook. If you are a Cleveland Browns fan, you may see opportunities to order football bobble heads or sportswear. So while you may not be in the market for a new Cleveland Browns bobble head you are more likely to click on the ad based on your interests. With a traditional campaign there is no “immediate gratification” and the reader/viewer/listener must wait to take action, such as drive to or call the store to obtain the product.

Decide if the ad promotes relationship building.

Traditional media will often present the product or offer, but the “interaction” ends there. When it comes to social media, the company and consumer truly interact and react off each other.

Can you prompt discussion and networking through the ad? In today’s social media society, it’s all about networking and relationship building. Consumers can actively choose to follow or “like” certain businesses and may be prompted to act based on incentives or the receipt of ongoing news and information. Traditional media is simply product presentation–no networking or relationships can be built with the company or among consumers.

One On One Marketing

While most advertising (traditional media) is designed for mass consumption, social media involves one on one marketing.  That means the message should appear addressed to individual users.  Hence, 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 is key to your success.

 Social media is more influential than other forms of “traditional” communication when it comes to spreading your message.

To explain, reviews from trusted resources (including channels such as social media and word of mouth testimonials) have a value 12.85 times greater than paid media (broadcast, radio, and other types of traditional advertising). Therefore, there’s no amount of paid advertising that can realistically overcome a deficiency of earned media. Thanks to the real-time, public nature of the web, marketing and PR have been supercharged and we are now able to maximize this other half of the messaging model. Though this model has always existed, word of mouth tended to resist scale and relied largely on one-to-one or one-to-many interactions.  The dawning of the digital age has introduced unprecedented scaling capabilities to many of our communications.

Indeed, marketing is still marketing. But times have changed (and are rapidly changing). The importance of social media in an organization’s business strategy is undeniable. We have a new platform that didn’t exist in the past – and it has changed a whole heck of a lot about how organizations “do” Communications…  perhaps because it has so drastically changed how the market views Communications.


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