It was round about 2006 that I joined MySpace, briefly the most popular site on the planet, and first heard about YouTube, a new video sharing platform. There was an enjoyable novelty to having a website where all your mates were hanging out to add a bit more life to the general humdrum of browsing the internet.
6 years later, MySpace is barely hanging on and since 2008/09 has been replaced by Facebook and Twitter as the best places to hang out online. That’s about 4 years of internet domination by Facebook and Twitter and in that 4 years, books have been written about how to promote your business online, entire companies have been formed to take care of your social media accounts, every section of a newspaper has made reference to the impact of social media in a different field, with the business section telling you it is the future of marketing.
With all the hype and excitement over this new high tech form of communication, it is very easy to see it as all you need to suddenly rise to the upper echelons of your profession: post a few tweets about the weather, get followers, get business. Simple.
However, the question is: is that really all it takes? The answer is no. While the mechanics of sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on are fairly easy to learn, coming up with an effective online campaign using social media requires a lot of creativity, time and effort. As such, a lot of organisations get disillusioned with social media and begin to perceive it as in many ways ‘the emperor’s new clothes’.
This is because social media is not the quick fix that you were looking for when you wanted to save money in marketing costs. Building up a meaningful following on social media sites to begin with takes a lot of time and coming up with an effective campaign on them takes even more creativity and effort.
This may not suit some organisations, particularly smaller organisations that do not have the available hours or know how to make this work.
This is where traditional advertising methods continue to have a place. An ad in a local or national newspaper can be more effective:
First, the paper will already have an established following of thousands of readers.
Second, print advertising continues to have strong credibility in public perception, especially when the creative is bold and gets the message across properly.
And third, the hype over methods like social media has led to a reduction in the prices of print ads so they often cost less than you might think.
It should also be stated that print advertising can compliment a social media campaign greatly and that the two can work together very well.
At the end of the day, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing, and that refers to both social media and more traditional advertising methods. Ideally, if you want a campaign that will work for you, you need to have an understanding of what you do and you need to work with a marketer who has an understanding of what the best way to reach your desired audience should be.