Social Media: One of Many Marketing Mediums

Last year around this time, I gave a presentation on Social Media Marketing to an Advertising Principles class at Washington University in St. Louis.


Source: google images

As I was building the presentation, filled with nifty charts and statistics, it hit me. These kids were raised on social media. They might know a hell of a lot more than I do about Facebook and G+ and hashtags, etc. etc. But what they didn’t yet understand was how social media applied to marketing. That got me thinking about all social has made possible for marketers and brands.

Social Media is a Marketing Medium. It is not the holy grail. It is not the end all. It is yet another way to reach consumers in a targeted, engaged way. 

I asked this class of very intelligent, mostly left-brained young adults to name some other marketing mediums. Hands shot up: TV, radio, web banner ads, billboards, POS, even on the shelf at retail. We added others: menu boards, websites, direct mail… the list goes on and on. The point is that social media is one of many. Granted, it’s probably the most cost effective, and it’s definitely the most accessible. Got a computer and an internet connection? You’re good to go.

Unlike advertising, you don’t need actual dollars to give it a whirl. Yes, there is time involved, and yes, time is money, but I’m talking about real cash here. In advertising, experiential marketing, PR… you need a budget. Social Media is “free” – anyone can create a page or a profile and tout their wares. Here’s the drawback… because it’s free, because there are millions of people tweeting and posting there is a great deal of noise. More noise than any other marketing medium. So, In order to truly stand out in social media, ya gotta be good. Really good. And that, my friends, costs money. Even in social.

Case in point: that famous Superbowl Oreo tweet. that didn’t just happen by chance. Oreo was paying a staff of about a dozen agency employees (copywriters, designers, etc.) to watch the Super Bowl and jump on any significant, newsworthy event. It absolutely worked, but it was a carefully orchestrated, well-planned, perfectly-executed strategy. And those do not come cheap.

Look around at a few of those other marketing mediums (print ads, TV, etc.) – trust me, you’ll see more bad than good. But the good ones really stand out. The good ones have a successful formula of great copy, a strong call to action and enticing design. It stands to reason that just because you pay to put your message somewhere does not mean it’s going to work. And the same goes for social media. Just because you create a twitter account, or a blog, does not mean your customers will be coming in droves.

But, if you’ve got these going for you…

1. You know your target audience

2. You’ve got a compelling call to action

3. Your design and copy are well crafted

… chances are you’ll be successful within any marketing medium you choose – social included.

Navigating and managing your brand’s social media presence can be overwhelming. Cohesive branding across all channels is terribly important. And the right words – well, they mean everything. I’d love to help you out with any or all of these three. Would you like to chat? Let’s connect and create something fantastic!

This article was originally written 4/29/13 for SJI @ the mic.

About Beth M. Wood

Beth M. Wood is a marketing and writing professional. She's been working in the marketing industry since the early 90s, and feeding her shopping habit with copywriting gigs since 2004. On August 1, 2013, she made the jump to full-time freelance writer, marketer, and social media manager. Beth is highly adept at creating and managing integrated marketing programs that get brands noticed. She's also well known for creating and maintaing a strong brand voice across all channels. She is a word geek, a grammar snob and a boot camp junkie. Which means she believes in giving 100% to every project she takes on - large or small. She earned her BA in writing from Webster University and serves as Senior Content Strategist at Scorch.
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