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Social Media: Advertising vs. Marketing

When people ask me why their Facebook Pages or Twitter accounts are failing, most of the time it is because these channels are not being used correctly.

A few weeks ago,I was mentioned in a Twitter post by a local food manufacturer. They were tweeting their followers—one at a time—and asking them to go to the website to shop for food online. When I looked at the company’s recent tweets, they had done this about 30 times before they tagged me in the post. This company was using Twitter as an advertising channel to push ad-like messages to followers. I’ve seen it before, and I’ve seen it since.

Tactics like this just are not meant for social media channels.

Why Advertising on Social Media Channels Seems Logical

In traditional advertising, brands turn to advertising agencies to create a unified message and communicate it through ads, direct mail, radio and television spots. These efforts and media placements are carefully written and constructed by strategists, copywriters and creative directors, and they are placed in front of a target audience at specific times and places. The awareness driven by these efforts are dependable, but it comes at a cost.

Advertising on social media channels seems to be a logical step for those who come from a more traditional advertising and marketing background. Branded messaging is crafted and scheduled to post to Facebook Pages and branded Twitter accounts at specific times. The automation is turned on, and the account is ignored for weeks at a time. And best of all, it’s free.

These methods not only have no effect or return for brands, it can even have a negative effect. Annoying behavior from corporate accounts are essentially today’s telemarketing calls. Nobody wants to get them, and they annoy families at dinner time.

Think Social

For many traditional marketers, real-time communications in social media requires a change in they way they think about marketing. The fact that you have to listen more than you talk, help people before they help you and provide real value—not just marketing messages—is a huge change.

If you still think and behave traditionally on social media, there are many ways to start “thinking social.” Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Create new connections and strengthen existing ones. Networking has changed a lot over the past few years. People like to do business with those they know, like and trust. Social networks are a great place to get that done.
  2. Be there when your customers are having problems. Answering questions on social media channels and being responsive when a customer has an issue can help increase loyalty.
  3. Provide valuable information and content to your target audience. Becoming a thought leader in your industry helps with brand recognition and trust.

How do you intend to change the way you are marketing on social media? What are some other ways people can “think social?”

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