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Don't Abandon Traditional Marketing Methods: Integrate and Interact

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The popularity of social media in marketing and PR continues to grow at a rapid pace, with more businesses taking this form of communication seriously every day. From restaurants to fashion, technology to travel, you can find information, special deals and customer care from your favorite brands online across Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google and more.

But wait, there’s more!

While social media is an important element to business marketing and PR, it’s not a replacement for additional, proven forms of promotion. With its low cost, easy barrier-to-entry and seemingly widespread reach, it’s tempting to think social media can replace other forms of marketing. But it’s important to remember that social media in and of itself isn’t a marketing or PR strategy: It’s but one promotional tool in the smart business marketing toolbox.

Two important things to remember in business marketing today are integration and interaction. Don’t abandon something that’s been working for you and your business just because social media is the hot new thing on the block. Integrate your online and offline campaigns, and integrate cohesive online campaigns across social networks  to get the most bang for your buck, enhancing all current efforts and maximizing reach in a way never before possible. Interaction is also important (talk with, not at) to engage audiences and make them feel an emotional connection to your company, brand or product. Prospects are much more likely to listen to you and follow what you’re doing if they feel that you care about them and that they’re important to your business.

For example, say you’ve always had an email newsletter in which you send out special offers to subscribers. Help to increase your subscriber base through “sneak peeks” into your newsletter content by sharing snippets or teasers across other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Or post a survey or poll on your Facebook and share the results in your newsletter, again  reaching and encouraging new subscribers (and rewarding existing subscribers) with content reserved especially for them.

Another example : Most companies have always had speaking opportunities or event networking (even attendance of trade shows) on their marketing/PR “to do” list. Take these opportunities a step further by again involving not only the physical, offline audience that’s at the show, but also the online audience pre- and post-event. For example, say you’re speaking on the topic of franchise ownership. Post a pre-event survey across Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and/or your blog that asks your fans and followers if they’ve ever owned a franchise and if so, what their biggest challenges were. Incorporate these answers into your presentation at the show, giving credit where you can.  (If someone knows you’re going to mention them, they’re more likely to watch/listen and tell others to do the same). Or if you’re just attending or exhibiting at a conference, ask show attendees to stop and share their experiences or tips for others. Record their insights with a hand held camera (such as a Flip), edit into a compelling and helpful video when you return and post it on your blog with additional resources post-event. Tie these resources back to your website, or Facebook fan page, and promote on Twitter ... again, back to integration.

One of the best marketing efforts has always been to have third-party, positive testimonies about your business or products. Whether it’s a customer, a reporter, an industry guru, a partner or an analyst, accolades from others hold more credibility than you standing on your own soapbox (or starring in your own ad). This traditional element to marketing is still incredibly important and can become a much  more powerful program with a social media element. For example, in the past, you might have interviewed a customer and asked them to sign off on a case study, which you’d then post to your website or in a sales kit. With social media tools, the case study can become so much more than words on a page; you can make them come to life as a much more intriguing story by including video, interactive comments from viewers, and more. “Case studies” can come in the form of an ongoing story, perhaps different chapters in an weekly video series, or the opportunity to interact with followers/prospects by asking them to join a Facebook event or Twitter chat where they can ask questions directly of the customer in the story. This gives them the opportunity to not just read your slick, well-written case study, but to engage with your case study subject and ask questions, a testament in and of itself that you truly do have happy customers that you trust to answer live questions about their experiences in working with you, or using your products.

The point is  social media in marketing can enhance your efforts and make them more interesting, interactive and memorable. But social media in and of itself doesn’t replace traditional efforts. Both are important for success today. Learn how to integrate them both for your best success yet.


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Christine Perkett founded PerkettPR – providing public relations, social media, interactive digital services and marketing communications for B2B and B2C companies - in 1998, and has been consistently recognized as an innovative PR industry leader. She has been listed one of the "100 Most Powerful Women of Twitter," was named one of the “Top 25 Authorities Moving PR Forward” in a 2009 industry ranking by Traackr, "Best Communications/IR/PR Executive" in 2008 from the American Business Awards, a “social-media guru” by Women’s Entrepreneur and twice featured in BusinessWeek’s Social Media Report. Christine is a Board Member of NYC’s Style Coalition, Dialogue, Boston’s Business Marketing Association, and the Norwell, Mass. Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice. She blogs for various outlets such as her company’s blog (http://www.PerkettPRsuasion.com), ThisMommyGig and several personal blogs, covering topics from marathon training, parenting, fashion and more. Christine is a mom of two boys and three dogs and a some-time marathoner, most recently completing the 2010 Boston Marathon (raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital). Connect with Christine on Twitter: @missusP, Facebook (christineperkett) or LinkedIn (christineperkett).

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  • by Marc Pickren Wed Mar 10, 2010 via blog

    I just wanted to say this was a great article! You are completely right, we do need to remember the old marketing techniques and not just move on to the new ones, like social media marketing. You've got to keep in mind that we wouldn't be at social media marketing had traditional marketing not of worked to begin with. By integrating social media into our marketing efforts, we've seen a successful jump in business. I'd like to share a relation article with you, please check it out, I think you might enjoy it. http://ow.ly/1gFv3 It's called Social Media Marketing vs Traditional Marketing.

  • by Christine Perkett Wed Mar 10, 2010 via blog

    Thank you Marc. I appreciate you reading, and I appreciate the additional information. I'm going to go read that article! Also, congratulations on your marketing successes - keep it up!

  • by Ramon De Leon Thu Mar 11, 2010 via blog

    In my Keynote last month at UCLA I touch on that topic that "Social Media is made up of tools you can use in addition to your core business plan" http://www.viddler.com/explore/dpzramon/videos/87

    So many businesses I have seen have tried to make it their only plan but not everyone is using Social Media.

    @Ramon_DeLeon
    Domino's Pizza Chicago

  • by Christine Perkett Thu Mar 11, 2010 via blog

    Hi Ramon,

    Thank you very much for sharing the link to your keynote. You have a lot of energy! It's a great talk and very interesting to hear what you've been doing with social media to build your brand and Domino's Pizza awareness. I'm bookmarking this one - and hope to meet you some day to talk and learn more.

    Thanks for reading, and replying.

    Kindly,
    Christine

  • by Stephanie Wheeler Thu Mar 11, 2010 via blog

    This entry has some great points. I also believe it is important to continue traditional marketing and networking strategies (especially if they are working!). Why discontinue a good thing just because of a new trend? However, I wouldn't shy away from those new ways to market your brand either. I absolutely love your idea of integration and interaction. I believe it is incredibly important to be consistent and mold all of your marketing techniques together so they work in sync and build off of one another. At MOS, we are always sure to show consistency across all forms of social networking, marketing and PR, from our website to our blog. Thanks for sharing!

    MOS Website: http://www.moscreative.com/
    MOS Blog: http://blog.moscreative.com/

  • by Elaine Fogel Thu Mar 11, 2010 via blog

    Right on, Christine! (Did I just date myself with that expression?) I totally agree with you and in fact wrote about the relevance of print in a MarketingProfs premium article in January last year. Let's keep reinforcing the need for integration of electronic and print!

  • by Emily Mayfield Thu Mar 11, 2010 via blog

    Great post, Christine. I completely agree with you. Social Media should be used to compliment existing marketing efforts and is a way to further solidfy relationships with your prospects. It should go hand-in-hand with lead nurturing for your prospects and community building for your customers. It's easy to get carried away with all the social media hype, thanks for bringing some perspective to it.

  • by Ben Fri Mar 12, 2010 via blog

    Great stuff. Even our more Social-reluctant clients seem to forget foundational brand stuff when it comes to dipping a toe or foot into the big bad world of Social Media. You gotta have that foundation, no matter how spectacular your tactics.
    Even when it comes to the stitching together the social channels, which seems to be a hot topic right now. You can hardly blame a brand for wanting to jump into Facebook because that's where the customers are. But then how do you distribute content, for at least an attempt at a unified experience?
    From this angle we've seen companies like thisMoment touting a "single channel" approach, where FB is combined w/ MySpace, YouTube, etc. plus UGC and commentary ... you get the idea. A recent AdAge article was really interesting but the commenters jumped right to "isn't this just another silo?"
    I digress. But this is something we're spending more and more time on lately.
    Thanks again for the article. Good stuff.
    -Ben

  • by Christine Perkett Fri Mar 26, 2010 via blog

    Thank you Elaine - it's the shiny new toy syndrome, right!

  • by Christine Perkett Fri Mar 26, 2010 via blog

    Thanks for reading - and commenting, Ben. I really appreciate it. Sometimes I'm afraid brands want to jump into Facebook without considering the value to their own business - gotta look beyond the "hip" factor and into the real value to your business. But that's why they hire us/you/others! Keep the conversation going; love learning about what everyone is doing and how you're overcoming challenges in educating clients, too.

    CP

  • by Christine Perkett Fri Mar 26, 2010 via blog

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Emily - and for reading! If you have other challenges or ideas for posts, let us know - doesn't have to be just social media, but marketing in general in this day and age.
    Thanks!

  • by Christine Perkett Fri Mar 26, 2010 via blog

    You're right, Stephanie - balance is the key. For some companies, social marketing will yield stronger results than traditional approaches. For others, traditional approaches and just a little of the social integration does best. It's never one-size-fits all - and good PR and marketing counselors help companies find the best match for their needs and company goals.

    Thanks for reading!

  • by Leanne Kodsmann Sat Mar 27, 2010 via blog

    What a great article! At Five Sparrows, we definitely try to get across the point that the key to marketing success is to integrate all of your marketing initiatives. You're already putting in the work - with integration, you can make the same marketing action work for you in an expanded way. Thanks for such a wonderful post!

  • by chandani Mon Mar 14, 2011 via blog

    Very well written Christine. I loved the examples you had presented. I agree with you on interaction and integration. These two are always the key to any marketing but with the social media it is even more important to let the audience know you are listening to them and doing something about it. And traditional media is still so much important part in marketing strategies, it is only evolving to the needs and demand of today's marketing.

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