The online environment is full of marketing opportunities for small and medium sized businesses, allowing them, through social media, to connect with existing customers as well as to reach wider audiences than ever before. It’s not surprising then that many young entrepreneurs, marketers, and small business owners are tempted to focus entirely on online marketing, whose low costs and far reach, and the ease with which it can be tracked, adjusted, and measured, all seem to recommend it above all other traditional methods of advertising.
Blending Tradition with Technology
If we look at the brands that excel at advertising, not only big names like Coca-Cola, Nike, or Apple, but also the smaller brands around us that have managed to harness the power of social media to build and deepen engagement, establish trust, and ultimately win customers, their promotional efforts are all grounded in solid real-life brand-building. Traditional marketing and online marketing don’t have to clash. On the contrary, they can complement one another, the first by making the brand more tangible, and the second by establishing a connection with consumers, driving engagement, reaching a lot of people quickly, and generating buzz when it’s most needed.
A Strong Foundation
While sometimes online marketing alone has the power to make people like and follow an individual or organization, when that organization happens to be a business, whether it’s selling physical or virtual goods or services, a solid real-life foundation anchored in traditional marketing and brand-building remain indispensable for creating a business identity and winning the trust of customers. Let’s be honest: we are more likely to listen to and buy the products of a brand we know has a physical location, and whose ads or billboards we’ve seen already than a brand that operates entirely online and hides behind a logo and a website.
Doing It Right
As a business, you should try to use the most effective traditional marketing channels available locally, whether it’s print, radio, television, or good old billboards and fliers, while at the same time developing a long-term social media strategy that is consistent with your traditional marketing efforts and that balances them by creating engagement and connecting with people on a personal level. Just don’t bring the old-fashioned concepts of direct selling from traditional marketing into social marketing; it won’t work.
Instead, use social media marketing as a complementary strategy that harnesses the power of technology to tell the story of your brand and promote your values. To do this, you’ll need a reliable social media marketer if you don’t have one already, one who has both the knowledge and the experience to integrate social media marketing with your other marketing efforts.