Application and Integration of Social Media with Traditional Marketing

Social media marketing is an extension of traditional marketing methods, principles, and theory. Successful marketing, regardless if it is Social or not, revolves around AIDA, a traditional marketing concept! You have to get your customer’s Attention, build their Interest in your product, and convince them they want your offer by building Desire. Finally, the consumer will take Action and make a purchase. Social media is a tool to accomplish all of this. In some ways, it can be a better, more efficient way, but again it is still just a tool in your marketing tool belt.
Social media gives business a chance to expand traditional methods and involve customers in the marketing process. In many cases, they end up being the ones doing the marketing for you! For example, a company Facebook page is a great way to post updates about products or services, as well as inviting customers to post pictures and comments about the products/services. The real time nature of Facebook makes it an ideal “one day only” promotional tool, and an effective way to integrate traditional with social.

With traditional marketing, we aim to sell products to result in a profit or ROI. With social, we hope to create and maintain relationships, which makes it harder to measure with metrics. And we all know the issues surrounding ROI and social media! Everyone wants a calculated ROI, proof that Social is ‘working”. Traditional campaigns are easier to measure success than a social strategy. I prefer not to think of social media strategies as “campaigns”, as that implies there is a definite start and stop date. There is not. Social intends to create connections and maintain long-term relationships. This is a huge difference.

Social is also a great way to help clarify the messages you send through traditional marketing. With social media, you can create a dialogue with your customers to ensure the right messages are relayed. The key is relevancy, and interaction with your customers via social media allows us to achieve this. We are able to have conversations with our customers that uncover what they want, need, and expect from us.

Traditional marketing and social marketing must be integrated and nurtured in order to realize the full potential of a very powerful combo. Without fully integrating the two, businesses can take on great risks related to over-dependence on one or over-use of another. Businesses must define their strategy, roles, and expectations of social media before integration and implementation.

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photo credit: Matt Hamm via photo pin cc

Social Media Marketing Trends

Johan Larsson / Foter.com / CC BY

Because the business environment is always evolving, evaluating currents trends in business and marketing (in and out of the social media environment) is a great way to help identify opportunities as well as threats. These continual changes in the social media environment impact brands and businesses, therefore they should be identified and analyzed frequently. Many times trend identification can lead to a great opportunity to fill a void and can also be a source of great strategic advantage. When discussing current social media trends in my social media MBA courses, there are three that I believe to be pertinent to any social media learner, beginner or otherwise. These trends are, in my opinion, ones that will contribute greatly to the success of a social media endeavor by creating and nurturing a relationship with customers and potential customers.

In no particular order:

1. Content Marketing

A buzzword heard frequently in social media MBA studies is “content curation”. For example, you may provide your Twitter followers or Facebook fans with links to interesting articles (written by others) relating to your brand or genre that they would deem interesting. Many have begun to replace this with term “content marketing”, a form of generating your own content by way of a marketing staff having editorial skills. Thus the importance of including social media in business education. These ‘new’ marketers know how to properly blog, create video and slide presentations, as well as curate additional materials. Those currently in the marketing profession, or my students preparing for a career in marketing, should pay close attention to this skill set brands are now seeking and utilizing.

Content can be curated as it has been done in the past, but brands need to add their perspective and expertise to the material in order for it to be significant to their target. That being said, the blogger or content marketer should be one who can identify with the target audience and provide them with both relevant and valuable content. Often, outsourcing may be required. Outsourcing or crowdsourcing (see #2 below) may be viable options if a brand does not have adequate marketing staff or budget to include content marketing tactics in their social media strategy.

By utilizing content marketing, brands are able to improve SEO, connect and engage with leads, and build long-lasting, organic, and sustainable relationships thought the original and relevant content produced.

2. Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing can help generate ideas, create content, and often comes from people in a given “brand community”. The major difference between crowdsourcing and outsourcing is that outsourced work is delegated to a defined set of people, such as employees. Crowdsourcing is on or offline, collaborative in nature, and many times is unpaid.

A brand that embraces crowdsourcing that we discuss in nearly all of my social media courses is Starbucks. The “My Starbucks Idea” campaign is used to obtain comments and ideas on anything Starbucks related for the brand while also providing information to consumers. This two-way dialogue creates an engaging environment for Starbucks that ultimately leads to the customer WANTING to help while it also strengthens the relationship between the brand and its evangelist customers!

Crowdsourcing can also provide valuable services. Consider iStockphoto, a source of photos supplied by amateur photographers, students, homemakers etc. In addition, nonprofits are using crowdsourcing to pool resources and save money. However, crowdsourcing is not for everyone. Businesses should evaluate what objectives can and should be met through crowdsourcing, not all activities are crowdsourcing friendly. As with all business decisions, not every option fits every business. Remember strategies are brand/business specific, goals and missions should be evaluated fully before embracing any specific strategy or tactic.

3. Location Based and Mobile Marketing

Mobile has become an exceptional way for marketers and businesses to connect with local consumers. Consider the ever-increasing purchases of smartphones and tablets; consumers are actually using mobile devices more than computers! Consumers are now demanding instant access and on demand information, brands must deliver.

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