Social Media Marketing – Why It’s Not Enough

By on July 21, 2010

MarketingThere’s little doubt social media marketing can be a valuable resource for both internet-based and brick and mortar businesses.  But it’s just as important to know what it can’t do for you as to know its benefits.  While you’ll see a lot of articles on this site and others touting the benefits of social media, the best strategy is to incorporate a mix of online marketing and traditional marketing techniques.  Rather than replacing all methods of traditional marketing, the two can work hand-in-hand to optimize your overall marketing strategy.  In case you’re not sure why you would want to use anything other social media marketing, here are 5 reasons to consider:

1. Not everyone uses social media – or even the Internet. Every time we post a story on this site or our site about Twitter or Facebook or any other social network, we invariably get comments from people saying they don’t use that network, they don’t like that network, or that they’ve been meaning to but haven’t started yet.  This is proof that not everyone is using social media.  Furthermore, there are still plenty of people who don’t have internet access at all, or just use it to check email.  If you’re a blogger, those people clearly aren’t your target audience, but if you have a more traditional product or service business model, you’ll alienate a lot of potential customers if you assume everyone is online and on the same networks you are.

2. Wider reach. When you spread your marketing between online and “legacy marketing” strategies, like print, radio, and TV, you reach a wider audience.  Again, assuming everyone is looking at the same medium is folly.  Billions of dollars are still being spent on non-internet campaigns, because they still work, as long as they’re approached right and well-targeted.

3. Consistency. People don’t typically schedule when they’re going to be on Twitter or the specific time each day when they’ll check their Facebook page.  On the other hand, people listen to the radio during drive time, and a great number of people read the paper or magazines and watch TV at specific times each day.  When you need to get your message in front of your audience at least seven times on average before they act on your marketing, traditional marketing helps make sure that happens.

4. People don’t like it when you sell on social media. As we pointed out in a recent post, and several comments confirmed, those who try to sell on social media too much turn off their audience.  On the other hand, we all expect to see ads in print publications, hear ads on the radio, and see commercials on TV.  No one expects these media to be ad-free, so they’re a great opportunity to be as salesy as you want without putting people off.

5. Traditional is tried and true. Twitter and Facebook are both wildly popular right now.  With hundreds of millions of people on social media, we can’t even imagine them going anywhere.  On the other hand, that’s what people thought about MySpace just a few years ago, and while it’s still around, few serious businesses are devising MySpace strategies today.  The point is: Social media is forever changing, and what we think is here to stay today is “so yesterday” tomorrow.  Traditional marketing has been around for decades, and it shows no signs of disappearing in the near future.  While newspapers have suffered great losses in recent years, magazine subscriptions are actually way up, and broadcast advertising is still fairly strong.  It’s also very measurable, so you know how many people you’re reaching with your message.

Again, we love social media marketing and the potential it brings.  In fact, there is no business that cannot benefit in some way from marketing through social media.  It’s just that social media isn’t the only basket you want to have your eggs in.  An approach that includes the best of all the marketing channels gives you a wider reach and the best results.

What kind of marketing are you using for your business?  What has worked, and what hasn’t? Share with the community in the comments!

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.