The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Traditional Marketing vs Social Media Marketing

Advantages of  Social Media Marketing vs Traditional Marketing
Comparison of Old VS New


There are few differences in methods between Traditional Marketing and Social Media Marketing. What I hope to do here is point some of the main differences with regards to operating a small business, and one of the biggest differences, as I see it, is market approach.

Scatter Gun Approach vs Precision Targeting

First of all, traditional marketing is designed to have a shotgun effect, i.e. mass marketing directed at large groups. The marketer may be targeting specific groups or segments but in a general sense, hence scatter gun approach. Furthermore, Social Media Marketing’s focus is directed at an individual and is tailored to that individual, hence precision targeting. Therefore, this requires that marketers know their target market and demographics on each platform or network.  Not all consumers are Facebook users, nor do all consumers use Twitter or Instagram, and there are different interests that show up on each different network.

Traditional marketing is advertising a product or service, getting the brand name out without a thought to the individual consumer. On the contrary, Social media marketing is reaching out and pulling in consumers, making them feel like the marketer is talking to just them (Hausman, 2012).

Streets: Two Way vs One Way

Furthermore, another major difference is that Social Media Marketing is an open system whereby the consumer can engage with the marketer and voice their ideas and opinions. It is more about the consumer, hence it is a two way street, while traditional marketing is a one way street, and more about the marketer or the brand (Hausman, 2012).

Education or Puffery

On the one hand, Social Media Marketing creates real content to inform and educate the consumer. Traditional content, on the other hand, is made up by professional advertisers. These advertisers purposely make the product or service seem to be greatest thing since apple pie, whether it is true or not, known as puffery. And social media marketing has more marketing channels than the traditional forms do. For this reasont, the metrics that social media marketing would use are primarily engagement  and reach, while traditional marketing uses more reach and frequency.

Reach or Reach

This brings up the issue of reach, and while traditional advertising uses mass media production combined with some word of mouth advertising, social media marketing reaches more folks through the use of different networks. Social media continually draws in billions of consumers to networks convincing them to join the networks. Hence, a small business, or any business for that matter, needs to join up. What this all adds up to, is active involvement by the consumer with social media marketing on the one hand, and inactive or passive involvement with regards to the recipient of traditional marketing on the other hand (Hausman, 2013).

The upshot of this is, the consumers now feel that they have some control over marketing and they do in fact have it (Hird, 2009). “Whether the Web site is Twitter, online community, or a blog, there is a special element that helps people to be more enthusiastic in telling other people about it.” (Stephan, n.d.).


The issue for small businesses relies in the cost differences and the bottom line ROI (and of course ROI is a result of gross sales – expenses). The chart below shows the differences in the different marketing channels.
In a recent cross channel media costs comparison, the CPM of various media channels were measured and the results were interesting.

Traditional vs Social Media Marketing

In conclusion, even with these few differences between traditional and social media marketing it is easy to see why a small business would be doing itself a favor by shifting to social media. This is not to say that it is not possible to blend some traditional in with the social strategy, but the main effort of budgeting should be most of all for social media marketing (Lyfe Marketing, n.d.).


Hausman, Angela. 2012, 07 05. 16 Differences Between Social Media and Traditional Media.
Retrieved from,
Hird, Jake. 2009, 04 03. Consumers Control Social Media, and brands need to wise up. Retrieved from,
Stephan, Andrew, n.d. Why Social Media ROI Tops Traditional. Retrieved from
Lyfe Marketing, n.d. Traditional Media versus Social Media. Retrieved from














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Category: ROI, Small Biz, Social Media Marketing 201

6 Responses

  1. Garrett Marshall says:

    Hey Mel,

    This is a great post and it is so relevant in today’s society. Traditional methods are still effective but marketers moving towards more digital channels to reach consumers. Do you think traditional channels and traditional marketing will still be around in a couple of years?

    • Mel Zimmerman says:

      Garret, there are enough of we “older” folks who are resistant to change si, yes I believe the old traditional methods are going to hang in there for a while longer. besides that, The scatter gun approach is not a valid method anymore in my mind for sure, but using traditional methods as back-up to social media is a good ides don’t you think. Direct mail and email are still being employed and for those marketers who use them wisely, there is still a lot of benefits to come from then. My opinon for sure, but…..?

  2. John Stringer says:

    I agree with Garrett in his comments above; the old ways still have some purpose, but digital is here to stay. The best blend is to use what works, while keeping the current trends in mind so that strategies stay relevant.

  3. Jenna Hardy says:

    Excellent article, Mel. One of the main benefits of social media marketing is that it allows businesses to have ongoing conversations with customers and strengthen their relationship with them. As John mentioned, the key is figuring out which marketing channels will help you achieve your business objectives.

  4. We take a look at the differences of Social Media Marketing vs Traditional Marketing and its organic interaction with your brand s consumers.

  5. Nilam sangle says:

    hii mel sir,
    Thanks for such informative blog. Really you have given nice description on traditional vs social media marketing. now days social media marketing mostly use in any business. In traditional marketing a lot of time, energy, and money also get wasted. and ROI also in now days got more than traditional marketing. isn’t it?

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