We got a bit of coverage in the traditional press today in the Irish Times and it got me thinking about the role of traditional media and how social media fits into the marketing mix in general. I am, of course, one of the biggest advocates of social media marketing, or else I wouldn't be working in the space. But I find it is also important to be realistic about what it can achieve.
I see more and more people using nothing but social media to promote their products, and then becoming disillusioned when it doesn't work. Social media is brilliant but it is not a one stop shop that will fix your business overnight at little or no cost. Many people seem to think it is and that is where the problems start. It takes time, a proper strategy and real investment.
The 15% Rule
With that in mind, and this is not a scientific number by any means, I think social media should currently make up about 15 per cent of an overall marketing strategy for a company. Now that number will inevitably vary depending on the company and the sector, but I think it is a good barometer to use.
Too many brands add social media on at the end of a campaign with the mentality of "lets throw up a Facebook page or Twitter account," and think there is some sort of magic bullet that will make their marketing go "viral". The key word is "integration" and aligning your social media marketing with your other activities, but the problem is that nobody is really sure who owns the discipline yet.
It really does vary from company to company with social media being controlled by either marketing, PR department, customer service or as a standalone discipline in the more progressive companies.
The first thing I tell a new client that works with us is that the work we do should only ever be 15 per cent of the overall marketing mix, and that it is important that we work side by side other agencies to achieve better results. If done well, social media can amplify traditional PR, make advertising more effective and improve customer service, but I'd be lying if I said it was easy to bring all of that together for a large company.
Why Use Traditional Media?
We use traditional media to bring in new business leads as well as help the branding of the company, and it gives us reach within an audience that we couldn't normally reach purely online. We can blog and tweet all day long, but despite having a large audience of our own here, there are certain people we can never reach through those mediums. The simple fact is that some decision makers in large organizations start their day with a copy of the newspaper and not by firing up Twitter or reading blogs.
There is no doubt that the media landscape is moving towards a digital future at a fast rate, but that doesn't mean it is there yet. Traditional media plays a huge role in most people's daily lives, and ignoring it completely to focus on social media is not the smartest thing to be doing. The smart companies are mixing old and new media to target a wide range of consumers and using social media to enhance their other channels.