Social Media Works: 10 Ways Social Media K.O Traditional Media

I was asked why Social Media is now better than traditional media, I answered with some questions:

1) “Tell me about the last product you have bought after watching an ad on the traditional media“. Most time are spent on online media than on traditional media, and “Media” has so been brought down to a personal level. Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, almost all social networks are now “media on a personal level”. They are your media.

2) “Have you told your friends about that purchase?”. If you had, it’s probably a photo shared via instagram or Facebook.

3) “Do you wait till the next gathering to share that with your friends?”. This sounds so…stone-age!

Social Media won. If you are still interested to find out more, the follow paragraphs may contain some Ahas that will help you with your business, or at least give you a wonderful read 🙂

This is how traditional media works: someone turns on the TV (or radio- whatever floats that person’s boat), tunes in to his or her favorite show, and after a while, an advertisement for some unwanted product pops up out of nowhere. Or it could be a random guy walking down the street, just minding his own business, and then suddenly having some stranger shove a handful of leaflets or flyers right under his nose. Typical “Interruption Marketing”.

It’s annoying, isn’t it? But the sad part is that for the last century or so, most people have been completely flooded with these to the point they are completely numbed by it. Right, we learned to accept and ignore.

Why Social Media Rocks

An office lady logs on to Facebook after work. After skimming through her news feed for a minute, she sees that a co-worker of hers has liked a page that looks quite interesting. She checks it out. And it IS interesting. She explores the page some more, clicks through the pictures, reads other people’s comments, and writes comments of her own. It’s all so cool and engaging that she decides that all of her Facebook friends MUST see it too. So she shares it on.

Then her friends also share it with their own friends, who then share it on to their friends … so that the process goes on indefinitely. Who knows how much extra free exposure the page’s owner has gained!

Almost 99% of our traffic comes from online exposure. 3.8% of them comes from social networks, particularly Facebook, Twitter and G+ (taking in mind that we are still working on to improve this). And our recent expansion into social marketing has resulted in 4.43% of our sales being “Assisted Social Conversions”. It’s not significant to call it the holy grail, but to answer a friend’s question last night, this observation puts me into driving my whole business the “Social” way.  (Update: by the time you read this, we have a new figure that is higher than this.)

Not because of the absolute figure, but the overall impact on Marketing that Social has on our business. There has never been an easier way to increase our sales in almost an instant, second to continuous split-testing.

The Triangles of Social Media vs Traditional Media

Think of traditional media as an inverted triangle, with a wide base on top, and a narrow, pointy end at the bottom. The opening is the part where the marketer, using available resources, throws out his or her net and fishes around for potential customers. Over time, these prospects would dwindle out, leaving a few loyal customers at the bottom (the funnel’s pointed end). The drop-outs are either not your target market, or has become your competitors’ customers.

Social media, on the other hand, is the usual triangle with pointy end on top and a base at the bottom. Social media makes use of people who are already there. With just a little push, these loyal base have the potential to drive an even greater number of people to a business. And this number can rise exponentially. From one to reaching the world, that’s social media.

It all boils down to how these two models attract people. Traditional media involves pinning your hopes through placing advertisements in platforms like television, radio, or print, hoping that someone might take notice. Social media works differently. Instead of working to make people come to you, social media is making people (loyal users and consumers) work to bring in EVEN MORE people to your fold. It’s word of mouth on a much grander scale.

10 Reasons Why You Should Use Social Media

1. Social Media is a Whole Lot Cheaper

Ad placement fees on traditional platforms (such as television, magazines and newspapers) are skyrocketing (well, they are hitting a bottleneck now as more businesses are switching their budget to social media). A business owner needs to have the required expertise and a lot of money just to get an advertisement out in the open. A social media campaign, in most cases, costs significantly less than traditional media. Our last campaign reached 46K eyes spending only $3.64 and the goal was reached, within 2 weeks. On traditional advertising, it’d cost more than $500 and take probably 2 months, which may not achieve the goal, don’t talk about reaching 46K people!.

2. Social Media is Measuarable

We use Google Analytics and our proprietary Social Metrics Pro. We use Google Analytics to tell us our traffic performances, conversion rates, split-testing, demographics, and some socially related data. It also tells us our top landing pages, bounce rates, and most importantly, ROI generated by our social campaigns. We use our Social Metrics Pro to track and monitor how many times we have appeared or been mentioned on the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+ etc. Social Metris Pro are direct enough to measure our social campaigns. If you don’t measure, you can’t manage. The combination of Social Metrics Pro and Google Analytics allow us to measure, improve and strategize accordingly. Traditional media can never have this kind of convenience when it comes to ROI measurement.

3. Social Media Works on a Global Level

It does not mean that it won’t work on a local level. It works on a global level AND local level. Local is a subset. The Internet is the platform where social media is being played out. Unlike traditional media, where an ad’s reach is limited to the places where it has been released, social media has the capacity to go global. It can generate a wider sphere of influence than what traditional media can offer. It can also be a starting off point for an awesome international viral marketing campaign. As long as there is an Internet connection, a social media campaign can be viewed anytime, anywhere, even in the far corners of the world.

4. Social Media is Forever – Literally

What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet. And that’s also true for social media. Compare it with traditional media, whose life span only lasts for a short while. A well-crafted social media campaign can stay on the Web for a long time, and still generate traffic and fresh leads for a business. Not bad for something that people can get at almost no cost. Social media is the way to go if long term results are the goal in mind. This is also the prime reasons why I drive my business the “social” way. The traffic is literally “unstoppable”, you like it or not, except that you completely shut off your server. On traditional media, when you stop spending, sales drop.

5. Social Media is Engaging and Fun

No one really likes obtrusive commercials and ads. What sets the social media model apart from the traditional is the fact that social media provides other kinds of value than mere “buy this!” marketing alone. This could be in the form of entertainment, user engagement, information, or any other kind of value that people can appreciate. Food chain Wendy’s, for example, gained over 30,000 new followers in November 2011 alone by launching a game show of sorts on Twitter. The show’s “host”, @GirlBehindSix, generated a lot of online publicity for Wendy’s new W burger, without help from any kind of advertisement. This just shows the immense creative marketing potential that social media can generate.

6. Social Media can Increase Brand Awareness and Identity.

Social media can form personal connections between brand and consumers. On their Facebook page, famous coffee chain Starbucks posts pictures of their staff and personnel engaging in socio-civic works and other charitable advocacies. Apart from imparting to consumers a pleasing facet of Starbucks’ identity, it also shows them that there are real hearts behind the brand, thereby forming a personal connection that goes beyond what traditional media can do: a constant online presence on social media networks that helps build familiarity even with people who are not closely associated with the brand.

7. Social Media is an Instant Treasure Trove of Ideas.

What do businesses do if they need fresh ideas for an upcoming project? In traditional media, this would mean a brainstorming session by a small, cloistered, group of people behind closed doors, or hiring expensive market research firms. Now, with social media, businesses can turn to their followers for inspiration and participation. Social media is a platform for consumers to air ideas and opinions – a free (as in freedom) place to voice which traditional media cannot provide. This two-way engagement will assist businesses in knowing what their customers REALLY want.

8. Social Media is Flexible.

The word flexible covers a lot of concepts. Advertisements usually target different kinds of audiences and personas, and a separate ad usually has to be produced for each, which would take time, resources and effort. A social media campaign, on the other hand, can do this easily, consuming less time and cost. For example, a Facebook Ad campaign targeting 45 different segments can be launched within hours. Another flexible concept is time. Social media can be done on any day, and at any time possible. This is unlike traditional media, where there are units of time that are more valuable than the others (example: the prime time schedule block in television programming). Social Media has also opened up more possibilities to deliver your message. Now you can have your message in an article, a whitepaper, a status on Twitter or a photo on Facebook.  The same message can also be delivered in different medias, written, converted into infograhics, made into a video etc. Every format has their best place to spread like wild-fire. So flexible!

9. Social Media Encourages Transparency and Builds Trust

Traditional media is a one-way communication deal between brand and consumer. For consumers, they might view the brand as something distant and foreboding, an entity that does not listen and does not care about its customers. But with social media, businesses can engage people with conversation, answer questions they might have, and build a general warm atmosphere of friendliness that would enable people to put more trust in the brand.

10. Social Media is Easy to Use.

Even those without an IT or marketing background can engage in social media. Most social networking websites offer user interfaces that are simple and intuitive enough for an average Joe/Jane to master. There is no need to learn how to code, design or program anything. The best part, even if you did something wrong, it won’t cost you a bomb.

With these reasons, it’s easy to see why social media is so appealing in this day and age. There are news all over announcing brands investing their budget into social media marketing. Social Media is especially helpful to small businesses to compete with much larger foes. It’s a level playing field where everything starts off at equal points – where success is equivalent to Creativity, Value and Love.

Download Social Media Guide: How to build social signals (PDF)
By Daniel Tan

About Daniel Tan

Daniel Tan: A veteran Internet Marketer. Founder of SomoThemes, Social Metrics Pro, SEOPressor and XTabApps. Daniel's focus is to simplify marketing with technology, to help marketers reach more people in an organized and effective way.

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