are your heels dug in?

After 30 plus years in the marketing world and seeing many evolutions in the industry, I am often shocked at how slow traditional media is to embrace new media. Traditional media seems to dig their heels in the dirt and hide from change instead of embracing the exciting opportunities of new media. Take a look around and you will notice that newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations are the creators of some of the most visually unappealing and least user-friendly websites! Fear of losing the foothold on dominance they have history with keeps them from embracing new technologies and opening new horizons. The days of thinking of the Internet as robbing their content and publishing it free are long gone, come to terms with it, move on and figure out how to capitalize on the many exciting channels of today.

Traditional media advertising is based on the concept of casting a wide net, hoping that you catch a few customers. You can spend buckets of money creating the campaign, buying the space to get it out to the public, never knowing whether anyone will see it, let alone act on it. We all face a daily barrage of advertising overload; some studies say that the average person is hit with about 2,000 advertising impressions each day. We have become adept at ignoring most of these, while many of us take matters into our own hands by filtering out advertising by using online software and applications that allow us to block unwanted content. Marketing is a bit more challenging today with so much at play.

Ask any marketer or business owner what they find is the most effective means of getting new business and you will hear “word of mouth!” We often take the word of a trusted friend rather than relying on an advertisement to find our needs met. How do you choose between everyone who claims to be the best? After all, their ads say they are.

New media or social, to be more specific, brings with it the power of community: trusted friends and contacts from whom you would take advice. This is the marketing power we have at our fingertips if we have a well executed social media plan.

So rather than casting that wide net, you work to help consumers find you via inbound marketing. An effective social media plan will allow you to be found if your product or service is of interests to your community.

Points to consider:

  • There is nothing wrong with paying for marketing and web services, but many of the tools are available to you online, free. It may cost you in time, as well as paying someone in-house or a contract service, but the return on investment is worth it.
  • The most effective form of marketing is word-of-mouth. Social media puts word-of-mouth in the digital sphere and magnifies it.
  • While there are no guarantees, a properly implemented and maintained social media campaign brings results. You can effectively reach people who care about your business or product, and interact with them on a personal level.
  • Through social media you have the ability to get near real-time feedback from customers and potential customers. Social media gives great insight for market research, customer service, R&D, and more.
  • Web updates, print collateral, and more traditional forms of marketing require resources and often a lot of lead-time. With social media you can react quickly and get your message to the right people with little or no lead-time.
  • Companies spend a lot of money on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to get even the smallest edge over the competition. Social Media offers a boost in your SEO/SEM, particularly as Google and other search engines are now indexing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Customers are no longer faceless IP addresses, you connect and interact with people. This allows your business or organization to create the personal experience of a small, local storefront business.
  • User generated content (whereby users become creators and participants, not merely consumers, of online content) is now a large part of the Internet experience. The concept of social media and networking is changing the face of how consumers use the Internet, and therefore, how businesses and organizations create an online presence.
  • You can build your own online community, encouraging your consumers to not only connect with you, but with each other. The strength, and collective voice, of this community can be phenomenal.

New media allows us to build a community based on relationships and we tend to trust those in our communities. So take those heels out of the sand and take advantage of the exciting opportunities that new media holds and let you customers go to those they trust!

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