Why Social Media Marketing is a whole different ball game

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Note: This is the first article in the 7 part series on social media contributed by Xerago.

Does the memory of watching old television advertisements like Bajaj Auto (remember ‘Hamara Bajaj’?) make you feel nostalgic as if they belonged to a completely different era? If you do, it’s no surprise considering the 360-degree flip that marketing has undergone. The days when marketers depended on television, radio and print for advertising are long gone. Now target audiences are wooed with sophistication and an ‘oomph factor’ that is possibly reminiscent of a smooth-talking French gentleman. How? Using the increasingly popular practice of social media marketing.

In order to really appreciate the nuances of social media marketing, it is necessary to understand it in the context of what is now considered traditional marketing.

  • The flipped funnel: To begin with, there is a complete reversal when it comes to the finding-converting-keeping philosophy. While finding is of utmost importance in traditional marketing, ‘keeping’ or retaining customers is the focus in social media marketing.
  • Outbound vs Inbound: Since traditional marketing seeks out its customers, it is also known as outbound marketing. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is one among the many components of inbound marketing, which works by luring prospects.
  • In case of conventional methods, the motive of the marketer is abundantly clear – he aims to get your attention and is willing to get in your face in order to edge out competition and rank high on recall. Though this strategy was quite successful at one point, a revolutionary shift in the mindset of target audiences began to take place gradually. Prospective customers now abhor intrusive advertising on websites as well as annoying cold calling/unsolicited promotional e-mails. They opt not to watch televisions advertisements and almost never read their ‘snail mails’. This shift has necessitated, and led to, the rise of a form of marketing that places the customer, rather than the message, at the center of the entire exercise. That new avatar of marketing is inbound marketing (and all its components including social media marketing).
  • Purpose of the message: With every message that is delivered through social media, marketers strive to provide value and seek to educate and/or entertain, facilitating two-way interactions. This is in stark contrast to traditional methods wherein the marketer isn’t too concerned about providing value, educating or entertaining; he merely focuses on getting his message across. It isn’t any surprise, then, that social media marketing is much more efficient at community building.
  • Costs: Traditional marketing is also inherently more expensive than social media marketing where setting up accounts and getting the process started is fairly straightforward and economical.
  • Results & measurability: As far as results are concerned, conventional marketing produces tangible results in a short period which are difficult to measure whereas marketing through social media produces easily measurable results over a longer timeframe albeit with better conversion rates than its predecessor. However, if you’re looking for lasting impact and recall, you’re probably better off taking the plunge into traditional media.

Despite its shortcomings, one can safely say that social media marketing is becoming an undeniably important addition to any organization’s marketing strategy. The pertinent question now is does your business require the implementation of social media marketing?

The second article in the series will be on why your business should go social?