Does all this talk about social media have you confused? Wonder how different this all is from traditional marketing? If so – this post can help straighten things out a bit for you as it helps connect familiar “real world” (or “old world”) terms with Social Media options.

Some background first.

Way back in the nineties, when we first started in online marketing, the first web sites were basically electronic brochures. For many small businesses they still are and while capabilities have grown considerably – that may be just fine for your organization. But now,  Social Media allows you to present yourself and interact with customers in an even more powerful and personal way.

A key thing to remember is all these new channels do not change the basic principles of marketing, communications and sales commonly referred to as traditional marketing or old school marketing. They just give you more effective and broader way to reach and engage your customers and prospects.

With that said, if you’re new to social media it can seem complicated and a bit overwhelming.

Here’s a way to help make a little sense of what’s what. A recent Social Media Daily column by Bryan Boettger Chief Creative Officer of The Buddy Group made some good comparisons to social media to the real world. We’ll  share them and expand on them too which will help give a little clarification to the who-is- who and what-is-what of social media.

To get started, we love this quote from Bryan – it is SO true:

“By far the biggest mistake marketers make is thinking social media is an insular activity that is strikingly different from the “real world.”

We agree Bryan – it really is not different than the “real world” – just a lot more powerful and effective when done right. Let’s dive into some of Bryan’s individual site comparisons with our thoughts too:

Pinterest Is Like Window Displays In Your Store

This is a great comparison. It’s easy to visualize what type of window or shelf displays would look good for your business. Just carry that same concept over to Pinterest and you’ve figured out how to approach using this channel to promote your business. Pinterest is the place to draw customers in – much like window display for a store.

Twitter Is A Proactive-Capable Call Center

Another terrific analogy. Just like the telephone call center, Twitter is a service that people can direct inbound communications to you. Of course this is more like an old “party-line” because with Twitter everyone can listen in on the call. By being proactive and responsive on Twitter you will represent your business well.

Facebook Is, if nothing else, The World’s Largest Focus Group

Facebook is much more than a Focus Group, of course, but this is one great way to use it. Facebook is really a combination of the others too – your store front like Pinterst and a communication center like Twitter. It can also be seen as email marketing on steroids and a hub of social media and marketing activity for you as well.

Now – how about a few more social channels and additional comparisons from us to help you sort things out? Here we go:

LinkedIn – Your professional network

For many it is your resume. For your business it is an important listing in a powerful business directory. Think a professional yellow pages for both finding your business AND for you to use to recruit employees too.

Youtube – Your TV commercial

This one’s easy.  It’s your TV commercial.

The one you can produce shoot and air all on your own. Or it can even be your own TV Station (or channel) where you can broadcast everything from infomercials to original entertainment. A great place to highlight your services, products and industry knowledge and expertise.

Google Plus and Yelp – the new Yellow Pages but so much more for You.

Think of these both as Yellow Page Ads with Super Powers.

Imagine the Yellow Book that is dynamic,  interactive and allows others to see into your business and conversations with customers.  If you are serving consumers you must be active on both sites. Even if you are just selling to businesses, you need to be on Google Plus and you very well may want to have a Yelp presence too.

So as you can see it is easy to compare today’s latest social media sites to yesterday’s traditional marketing &  advertising options.

Will they replace your offline advertising? Possibly but  probably not, at least not all of it. Are they essential to be involved with?

Well, since 90%+ of your customers and prospects are already using them we think that makes a pretty compelling argument for a resounding…


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