Social Media v Traditional Advertising

We are all used to traditional forms of advertising. Newspaper, magazine, TV, radio, billboards, fliers and sponsorships. These of course all work in different degrees and some are extremely costly. It is often the case that the effect of such advertising can not always be accurately measured. There is the well known saying that 50% of advertising costs are wasted but which 50%?

The above methods of advertising are very much what I would call ‘in your face and tell ’em’ what you are selling’ and of course some ads are designed for building the brand name.

How does Social Media work when compared to the time tested methods of advertising? In some ways it is very different. Most forms of Social Media are about building relationships, it is more like networking than advertising. The cost too is very minimal if anything if you are able to do it all yourself.


Twitter for example is very effective when people that follow your tweets get to know you or your company representative through their tweets. Tweets are simply short messages that if well written can inform people about things that your company is doing. For example if some of the staff are raising money for charity backed by your company that would be a great thing to tweet about. It gives followers information about the human face to your business and helps to build a strong brand.


A Facebook Fan Page or Group can be established that again builds relationships with your customers and others that are not yet customers. Selling is very low key and subtle. When people that follow you on Twitter or Facebook want to buy they will find links and because you have not been pushing them to buy anything will turn to you as a ‘friend’ rather than a business.


A company blog is a great way to build trust and a good following of people. It is best again not to ‘sell’ through your blog but to provide valuable and interesting information that readers will appreciate. The more that readers enjoy your blog the more likely they are to ask you to help them and therefore eventually buy your product. Social Media also creates in people the desire to recommend you to others even if they have not become your customers yet, just as happens when networking is done well.

If you think about the term ‘social media’ then when you use it place the emphasis on the word ‘social’ and you will not go far wrong. Take time to react and indeed interact with people that you come into contact with on Social Media websites. Try and be interesting and helpful to all that you can. Your business can benefit greatly if you use this format well. Time spent in learning how to get it right or using professional services will not be wasted. You will not need to ask which 50% are you wasting your money on!

Roland Millward

This article was originally published at Roland Millward‘s website.

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2 thoughts on “Social Media v Traditional Advertising

  1. I think cost is the biggest factor here. If you have a limited budget and fewer clients it means you probably have time to spare. Use the Social Media sites wisely and you soon build an interest.

  2. Agreed Roland and Phil, a great deal of emphasis will be placed on time and I feel that you get back what you put in. In my experience, marketing is never about a single initiative, it is about testing certain things and then finding the right balance of activity. I was always told that 5 or 6 activities running together (SEO, Advertising, Networking, SEM etc) will yield the best results, but patience is also something that mustn’t be overlooked!

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