Social Media vs. Traditional Advertising

How to make the most of inbound marketing

If you’ve been following this blog, or if you have put any time into strategizing your online marketing campaign, you understand the importance of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is a way of making customers come to your site usually via Social Media, PR’s, articles, blogs, online ads, PCP campaigns, and others.

For now let’s focus on Social Media, perhaps the least understood yet the most cost effective and potentially the most lucrative branch of online marketing.

Over 20 million people use Twitter. It is estimated over 175 million people log onto Facebook every single day and there are over 600 million active users.

Other social mediums like Myspace and YouTube have more followers viewing their pages than the cleverest billboard on the busiest highway in the world.

In fact the only advertising scenario that can draw as much attention as these sites potentially is a Super Bowl ad, and those cost around $3 million a minute.

So obviously Social Media has a lot of potential, especially since is it is basically free minus people costs to set everything up and post regularly

But Social Media is not a billboard or Super Bowl ad. Traditional advertising differs for a couple of reasons:

1. People have no choice. If they are watching TV, they are going to see commercials.

It is acceptable because for the rest of the time they are being entertained.

That is they are getting something out of the deal, and as a trade the customer is allowing advertisers the 30 second opportunity to try to sell them their product.

Same with a Newspaper or Magazine ad. For billboards or POS ads, people are a certain place, and have no choice but to see the ad. The advertiser has a second or so to get their attention, but they have a definite audience.

When you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or YouTube page, your customer does have a choice. And let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment and admit 99.99% of people online don’t want to see your ad – or your Social Site acting as an ad of sorts in this instance.

How to overcome this: Well, you can’t post a billboard on the internet, least not at this point, so treating it like a billboard or POS ad is out of the question.

And besides, you’re not looking for branding only at this point (what an ad usually is), you’re looking for people to actually take action now, “branding” is kind of the Silver Metal of the Social Media marketing Olympics.

What does work is interacting with people in a way they want to be “interacted” with.

Sell your product, but give them a reason to follow you outside of your core benefits.

Your benefits aren’t enough if you’re looking for new customers. Benefits are only for people who already knew they wanted your product. If you only want those people, you don’t need Social Media.

2. “Changing the channel” is simpler online. Sure you can switch the channel at home sitting on your couch.

You can ignore a sign, skip an ad in a Paper, turn off the radio, etc. However it is not as easy, and when you’re dealing with large numbers of people, simply from an anthropological perspective the easier it is to ignore you the more likely more people are going to ignore you.

How to overcome this: As mentioned you need to give people something outside of your core benefits if you want to begin a real following (as opposed to the manufactured type many companies fall for paying for that don’t work and in some cases are counter productive).

However, to ensure people don’t “change the channel” you need to keep giving them something.

This applies to B2C and B2B both. If you sell to businesses, keep them up to date on news within your industry, even if it has little to do with you, tell them where your company is going sure, but also tell them where the industry is going.

And do it in a more casual tone than a white letter, do it like you’re talking to someone at a convention and are really just waiting to grab a beer after – well maybe not that casual, but you get the idea. If you’re talking directly to consumers you may want to hire a professional to be your spokesperson.

Yes, I’m sure there are many ways your product will benefit them, but as mentioned, they don’t care.

You have to break through that. If we’re using the “just waiting until the convention is over to grab a beer” analogy from above, this time it’s more like you’re ad a barbeque already, not drunk, but having a good time.

Hope that makes sense. The main points are:

1. Don’t forget the “social” in Social Media.
2. Sell, but give them something outside of your product.
3. Keep doing it. Social Media is not a constant, and if you do not stay on top of it your followers will disappear tomorrow.

————————————————————————————————————————— Author’s Bio: Jeffrey Gross is an Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Enthusiast who lives on Long Island, NY. Jeff’s Search Engine Optimization Company (nPromote) helps Long Island business owners (and business owners across the country) get their businesses to the top of the search engines. In his spare time Jeff teaches Search Engine Optimization to small business owners and enjoys lecturing at local colleges and other venues as well.



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