You’re probably wondering why the title? I doubt we’re the first to use the phrase, but probably the first to use it in this context. Here’s what we’re thinking - if social media were a supermarket, it’s fair to say there’d be a new product on every shelf, up and down every aisle. And of course there’d be choice. A lot of choice. From your Facebooks to your Twitters, Pinterests to your Instagrams, the social media ‘supermarket’ shelves are brimming with choice and ‘it’ has every taste catered for.
As we often hear though, all that choice can lead to feelings that if you don’t keep up, you’ll get left behind. Or to take the supermarket association a step further, you walk out of the shop without buying anything. Equally, it can be easy with all that choice to forget the traditional media – otherwise known as ‘the thing you went into the supermarket for in the first place, but forgot’.
We’ll refrain from this becoming either a social media or a traditional marketing bashing, but rather we’d like you to take away the relative merits of both and for you to see (as we do) how one isn’t necessarily “better” for your business than another. We’d suggest that actually the way to maximise your exposure and reach is to find a balance that integrates both traditional and social media.
Traditional methods of marketing commonly involve promotion through print, trade press, direct mail, radio, and TV. Social media marketing on the other hand is an online marketing method that focuses on gaining traffic or awareness through social media networks.
For the purposes of this post, let’s liken social media marketing to Aldi or Lidl – the ‘new’ kids on the block with all the best bargains for the budget-conscious.
With social media, businesses can receive a great deal of exposure. In fact, according to Social Media Examiner 2015 Industry Report, 92% of respondents said that social media marketing was important to their business. It’s much easier to increase brand exposure on social networks because of its accessibility and integrated marketing potential.
Conversion ratios tend to be higher on social media because users can track and monitor social activity on each network. The primary benefit of this is that brands can detect what works well and what they need to improve in regards to their social media strategy and execution.
Social has the benefit of empowering businesses to build an online community through tagging, hashtag, and search features. On social media, you can easily identify relevant partnerships, social influencers, and competitors. What’s more, you can join these communities much faster.
Now, let’s turn to traditional marketing, which we’ll liken to Tesco or Waitrose – it caters to a specific targeted market and it might cost a little more, but it’s worth every penny.
Social conversation certainly has its advantages, but nothing can really compare to face-to-face experiences. Us human-types still long for that personal connection where we can read expressions and mannerisms, especially when it comes to business (or in this case, spending money!) People buy from people, so word of mouth is still highly effective, particularly for small businesses.
If you have the marketing budget and know your customers, traditional methods of marketing such as advertising, TV, radio, trade shows, and newspapers can bolster your activity and efforts. Traditional media works best when you understand your customer and marketing strategy, and you’re realistic about your marketing spend.
Content marketing is a powerful way for your business to reach your customers. According to a survey of more than 1,300 firms by digital publishing and training group Econsultancy, 91% of respondents are using content to market their products and services. And 54% cite increased engagement as the principle value of content.
So does one marketing tactic automatically preclude you from using the other? Not at all. In fact, many successful companies continue to make use of both traditional and social media marketing.
Consider the types of marketing channels your company has access to, the budget you have devoted to various marketing campaigns, the audience you need to target, and which type of marketing they are more likely to be receptive to. Then take advantage of the best of both worlds!
Supermarketing. Every little bit of marketing helps.