Social Media Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

Social Media Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

For a long time, marketing was…well what you might expect: poster adverts, flyers, then TV advertisements and email marketing. Now Social Media is growing as a competitive new way of marketing directly with consumers. So between Traditional Marketing and Social Media, is one of them better than the other?

Types of Marketing

Is it easier for your business to use one type of marketing over the other?

Traditional: Traditional Marketing is seen to be structured and generally clear cut, with classic examples being print advertising campaigns, door to door marketing (cold calling) & telesales.

Social Media: Social Media, however, can be viewed as rather dissected, as it is split across a lot of different aspects. Things like status updates, blog articles, comments and shares are all separate statistics even though they come under the same heading.

Direction of Communication

How direct is your company’s message to your consumers?

Traditional: It’s been around longer, but Traditional Marketing has sometimes been called flawed by having undirected advertising. For example, one advert is sent out to many with few ways of specifically targeting audiences. Trying to find the right audience and place for your advert can be time consuming using traditional methods. However, it does reach a mass audience.

Social Media: Social Media is one of the key players in advancing technology, mostly by how it can be multi-directional. This essentially means both the consumers of your product, and your company can both be actively communicating with the use of comments, mentions and re-tweets.

Scheduling of Marketing

What kind of range to do you want for your scheduled marketing?

Traditional: Long ranged scheduling goes with Traditional Marketing. Most adverts and campaigns will be planned and discussed over and for long periods of time. This can make a more considered advert in the long run.

Social Media: Social Media is a lot more spontaneous and short term with its scheduling. Whilst this can sometimes be more obvious looking advertising, it does allow your company to remain up to date with rapidly changing trends.


How does your company’s communication change depending on the type of marketing you use?

Traditional: Traditional Marketing is known for considered or well-reviewed communication; essentially, it’s reviewed by a lot of people before it goes public. The forms too will usually be by phone, email or letter.

Social Media: By contrast, Social Media is quite fast and always public. Reactions and comments are instantly available to your consumers, and anyone can have access to read and comment on it. Being on a screen, it is in one form but available to many.


How available are you to your consumers?

Traditional: While the advice is known to be well considered, the marketing behind traditional advertising is usually restricted to the working hours. The advert keeps doing what it’s there to do – make an impression – but direct support will be unavailable outside the hours of 8-5.

Social Media: In theory Social Media remains available 24/7. Reactions to comments and post are fairly instantaneous; however the employees in charge of the social media side will also go home at the end of the day. However tweets and posts can be pre-scheduled to go out outside working hours.


Can you specify a target audience with your marketing?

Traditional: Traditional Marketing can develop specific audiences to aim their advertising at. However, classical poster adverts are simply available to anyone to look at and traditional flyers or emails can seem impersonal. Huge events like ‘Buy British Day’ are usually designed with a large scope in mind – and to have a global impact.

Social Media: Social Media’s niche in marketing is being able to identify target audiences with relative ease. Being in direct contact with consumers and using computer search tools can identify relative audiences by larger criteria such as age, location and even interests.


Does your company’s language change depending on your type of marketing?

Traditional: In Traditional Marketing the language is generally formal and legally ‘safe’. Because of the time it take to plan campaigns and the mass audience things like poster adverts are shown to, the language in the small print of marketing will have a lot of ready-made sentences.

Social Media: Due its appearance of spontaneous interaction with the public, Social Media marketing can have a ‘genuine’ or more of the moment feel to its language. Branding can also be included in Social Media language; for example by championing hashtagsrelated to your campaign or business.


How does your type of marketing affect costs?

Traditional: Usually more money will go into Traditional Marketing; such things such as printing and distribution can take a portion of your company’s money. However this can also be seen as an investment in good quality for your advertising.

Social Media: It’s generally agreed that Social Media is low costing depending on which area you want to take advantage of. Simple things such as creating accounts and postings are free, but adverts on social media platforms do cost. However it appears to be significantly cheaper than classic printing.

Building Data

How effectively can you build data?

Traditional: Attracting consumers can take longer with Traditional Marketing due to having the classic one advert to a mass audience. However, having built a loyal base, feedback and details can be given more willingly by consumers who know your brand.

Social Media: Due to having instant access to consumers by using Social Media, it can be quicker to throw out a call for feedback online. However, being a public platform, few consumers will have good quality information on their public profiles so traditional feedback techniques might also be needed.


It’s clear that there are both pros and cons to both Traditional and Social Media marketing. Whilst both techniques have different methods, they are essentially aiming to do the same things. Which means it comes down it each individual business to decide which marketing technique, or even both of them, can best serve their company’s interests.

Mark works in the PR & Marketing industry and enjoys reading such topics as branding and social media marketing.