When Clients Think Social Media is the Only Marketing They Need

Demonstrating the Value of Traditional Marketing and PR in a Social Media Driven Society

Guest post by Gina Smith

Social Media has revolutionized the way we do business, communicate and socialize.  Although this media trend has taken hold of society, there is still a somewhat large segment of the population not regularly using Social Media.  Social Media is also becoming so saturated with “friend” interactions that sometimes companies find it challenging to convey marketing messages to consumers.  Despite this, many businesses have jumped on the Social Media bandwagon.  Many small businesses feel Social Media is a “free” service which negates the need for other forms of marketing.  As marketing and public relations professionals, we know Social Media is an important part of the marketing mix.  But, how do we convince our clients that using Social Media as their only form of marketing can be detrimental to their business?  

First, emphasize that Social Media is an excellent complement to but not a replacement for traditional marketing strategies.  Using only Social Media isolates a large part of the marketplace and consumers who search for products and/or services using a variety of means.  Explaining the importance of other forms of marketing, as it applies, can help your clients better understand the need for a healthy marketing mix. 

Websites

We’ve all probably heard this at some point, “I have a free Facebook page, why do I need a website?”  Remember the good old days of opening the telephone book to find a product or service?  Now, an overwhelming majority of consumers turn to the internet, much like they turned to telephone books decades ago.  Having a website is like having an old telephone book ad.  The more eye catching and easier to find, the more leads it will generate.  Don’t be afraid to sit down with your clients and actually show them the importance of having a good ranking website.  Ask them what keywords they would use if they were trying find their own product or service and run a search.  When they notice websites from their competition popping up on the first page of results, and their Facebook page link is several pages back (if they are lucky) they may change their mind. Also, remind them that having a website actually helps generate traffic to Social Media sites when you include social links allowing people to connect directly from a website. 

Traditional Public Relations

When it comes to building credibility, you cannot beat a positive article in a magazine, newspaper or Business Journal.  And, to demonstrate the value of how Social Media complements this strategy, show your clients examples of  businesses who have ”shared” a positive article across their Social Media sites.  Social Media allows traditional coverage to be more widespread. Used in conjunction with one another, traditional public relations and Social Media are very powerful together. 

Advertising

We are saturated with more “messages” today than ever in our history.  With hundreds of television networks, more and more billboards popping up, and new online ads and publications, it now takes more impressions for a consumer to actually know you exist.  If Social Media is a company’s only form of marketing, their reach is very limited.  Be sure to explain the value of various advertising avenues which would benefit your client, and how they work hand in hand with Social Media to help maximize exposure of their product and/or service. 

As marketing and public relations professionals, we realize the importance of incorporating Social Media as part of a client’s overall marketing mix. Being an active part of your client’s Social Media strategies is also very important, especially when it comes to integrating Social Media with traditional forms of advertising and public relations.  Although it can be time consuming, programs such as HootSuite have made it much easier for practitioners to manage Social Media for multiple clients. Some consultants find it beneficial to work with a company like Global Response to help maximize their clients Social Media opportunities.    

Putting all your eggs in one basket is detrimental, so helping clients understand how to make the most of Social Media is also an important part of our jobs.  Taking time to explain can be one of the most valuable assets you have as a practitioner!

About the author

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

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