How is Social Media Marketing Different from Traditional Advertising?

social media marketing

There are many ways to reach your customers. Paid advertising, public relations efforts, direct contact through email and newsletters, social media marketing – the list goes on and on. It’s pretty easy to differentiate between most of these when determining when, why, and how to use each method.


But we have noticed a troubling trend when scrolling through our social media feeds.


Is Traditional Advertising the Same as Social Media Marketing?


Many businesses have adopted a traditional advertising mindset when designing their social media marketing strategy. The mindset and goals of this type of strategy definitely have their place, but that shouldn’t be the only focus of your social media strategy. Let’s look at how these two strategies are different.


First, let’s take a look at some of the primary differences between the two.


The Differences Between Traditional Advertising and Social Media Marketing


social media marketing


Social media marketing’s goal is certainly to raise sales or drive more traffic, but that’s not the only goal. Social media marketing is about bringing value to your audience through sharing information. You have a unique opportunity to connect with your audience through social media marketing by meeting them where they are and actually helping them solve a problem they are facing before you ask anything of them.


A great social media strategy is one that focuses on demonstrating who you are as a brand, what your brand values are, and the value you bring to the community. Through social media, you have the chance to distinguish yourself as a thought leader and create a loyal audience who values the insights and information you share.


The quickest way to ruin this is to always use your social media accounts to ask them for something. A great rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts should be information-giving, value-added posts; 20% of your posts should be focused on directly promoting your business and increasing sales.


This is almost completely the opposite of a paid advertising strategy which focuses almost completely on asking your audience for something.


By now you may be asking yourself, “But what about those promoted posts we’re always seeing on Facebook and Instagram?” Those are a great demonstration of where these two strategies overlap and it’s called “social advertising.”


social media marketing


As you think about how to incorporate social advertising into your paid advertising strategy, it’s important to ensure you have a strong, standalone social media marketing strategy. Promoted posts are much more impactful when you have a strong profile for users to click through to.


So let’s recap!


Social media marketing is:
– Providing value to your audience.
– Sharing your brand’s values, culture, and impact.
– Entertaining and informing your audience.
– Reinforcing your brand.


Social media marketing is not:
– Only and always seeking to drive sales, but balancing it with thought-leadership and value content.
– Only about promoting your business.
– Only paid ads, but using this to work with your overall social media strategy.


Now it’s time to take a look at your business’s social channels. A great place to start is asking yourself this question: Would you want to follow your accounts?


Need some advice on where to start with your social media marketing strategy? Schedule a completely free virtual strategy session with us.

Content is really the lifeblood of a lot of our campaigns and they make things super easy, organized and streamlined, in a way that takes a lot of pressure off of us.
Chris Strange
Principal at Helios Digital Agency

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