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Is Social Media Replacing Traditional Advertising?

Don't let your business get left behind in the Dark Ages


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We hear it all the time: The internet has overhauled everything. The fear is the rise of digital media is eradicating face-to-face, interpersonal relationships and turning us into social-media-obsessed robots. Being a social media maven myself, this conversation continuously pops up in the office, particularly in terms of advertising.

“Social media is the new advertising.”

"Digital marketing has eclipsed traditional methods.”

“The entire world is online now”

These are statements made daily, doused in confidence. 

Is it true? Has social media overrun traditional methods of advertising? It's a hotly debated topic, and for good reason. With social media consumption accounting for roughly one in every three minutes spent online, you have to wonder: Has society lost its appetite for physical, printed content? Are marketers shying away from magazines, billboards and radio ads?

I reached out to digital engagement expert and top social media geek, Matt Kaskavitch, to feed my curiosity.

“The real value is the cost of social media … The greatest expense is time and people, and you can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in media value for a fraction of that when it’s done right,” Kaskavitch says. When you layer more traditional tactics with social media, you can build even stronger brand awareness and advocacy for your company for a significantly cheaper chunk of change than methods used in the past.

“You have to do it in 2019, otherwise you are being left behind,” he states. The Huffington Post backs this stance too, stating “traditional media has been undergoing a sea of change for quite some time now.” The way that business was conducted 15, 10, even just five years ago is “gone for good,” according to this source, and smart marketing must not simply “throw the baby out with the bathwater because they no longer believe in the tub.”

Based on my own experience in marketing realm, I think a mix of traditional and digital/social advertising and promotion is a sound business decision. I still observe, however, many companies that shy away from leveraging social media for advertising purposes, which poses a major question in my mind. Why would organizations not adopt this tactic?

According to InTouch-Marketing, it’s multifaceted. Some of the leading reasons include the belief that social media marketing is too much work, only young people engage in it, that it opens businesses to criticism and, probably more prominent and relevant than all, people just don’t understand how to use it. While these remarks are valid, it doesn’t lessen the danger of avoiding social media as a marketing tool.

According to Fortune, “Not incorporating Twitter, Facebook and other social channels into your strategy is roughly the equivalent of insisting the web was just a fad a decade or so ago: Backward-looking, blinkered and above all a serious business liability.”

Kaskavitch echoes this claim as well, stating, “Not including social media advertising as part of your marketing plan is a huge missed opportunity.” With almost nine in 10 companies using social media for marketing purposes in the United States, it’s a wonder why any organization would opt out of social media marketing, unless they genuinely don’t know how to use it.

Kaskavitch is hosting a social media boot camp series to help businesses overcome any hesitation or uncertainty in regard to social media marketing. This series boasts workshops on developing a social media content strategy and mastering key channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Learn more here.


Sarah K. Erickson is a public relations coordinator at the University of Colorado South Denver.

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