Traditional Advertising & Social Media – Friends or Foes?

social media, traditional advertisingTraditional advertising and social media marketing are two totally separate forms of advertising and marketing, correct? That is what social media “experts” (you know, the self proclaimed folks) want us to believe however I am not so convinced.  Traditional advertising is one-way communication where marketing collateral, print or broadcast media are created and pushed out to the masses with the hope your target is receiving it whereas in social media marketing it is two-way communication where you go where they are and interact. This is indisputable to say the least however in social media marketing we have been taught to tread lightly and listen first before we speak. Get to know people first before you sell them but at what point is it ok to blatently and directly sell people?

Let’s explore social media marketing a fit further, namely blogs. Isn’t a blog an indirect sales pitch? Bloggers write and write about things they learn, their opinion, tips, ways, how to’s, etc with the ultimate goal of readers seeing them as a leader in their industry to increase their personal or company brand with subscribers, tweets, shares, etc. Certainly there are some bloggers that blog for “fun” and are not necessarily looking for anything outside of the opportunity and time to share their thoughts and ideas. But the vast majority of bloggers are writing to expose themselves or their company to the online world. That arguably is advertising (minus paying to for the placement) as the article is being placed and promoted on the various platforms for readers to find, notice and read. This seems all too similar to creating a print ad and placing it in the various publications for buyers to find, notice and react. Now, blogs do not directly sell by saying “Website Development & SEO X dollars!” in a big fat starburst as an ad would but by writing about what they know they are showing the expertise with hopes of readers understanding that they can do the work they are blogging about. Right? Blogs we know are only one part of social media marketing but this is not where the similarities end.

Traditional advertising invites and welcomes people to their brick and mortar or online store to buy what was advertised but to also spend some time there to see what else they have to offer. Social Media Marketing is about creating profiles on the various platforms to also invite and welcome people to learn about who you are and what you have to offer. Again, similar to traditional advertising as once they come in it is an opportunity to have them check out all that you have to offer. Hold on …  there is a difference. In social media there is an opportunity to interact where in traditional advertising there necessarily is not. I mean if they enter the store then they are interacting in a different manner. Specifically with brick and mortar they may or may not have a conversation with the store employees and online they are interacting with the entering of their credit card info. Now if we look at social media, if they follow you, become a fan there is intent to interact and if they comment on your blog then they have taken a step to interact.  The next step is up to you.

This article does ignore the actual creative process of traditional advertising for which I do understand and it is very important but for brevity and finding it best said, I go to Jason Falls.

Agree? Disagree? What do you think – are social media marketing and traditional advertising more friends than foes?

photo credit: Don Hankins