Why Social Media Marketing Trumps Traditional Advertising

Times are a changin'.

Social media has solidified itself as a staple in people's lives. It's where we can connect with friends, stay up-to-date with the news and discover new trends.

The best part about social media: It's free!

Business, of course, has caught on to the many benefits social media has to offer -- especially now that you can market and advertise products on it's various platforms.

And while there's still plenty of positives when it comes to traditional advertising, social media marketing is more affordable and -- even better -- much more targeted.

While most companies traditionally measure their profits from advertising with ROI (return on investment), social media marketing doesn't quite offer the same instantaneous data -- but it does deliver.

Unfortunately, using social media to market goods and services with a post, a tweet or a photo won't show much immediate success, which makes it harder to measure the impact of a social media marketing in terms of ROI.

Yet, it's the consistent sharing of information that will build trust with your audience and generate greater numbers of new and returning customers -- something that most brands would consider far more important than a simple statistic.

When looking at data of traditional methods of marketing versus social media tactics -- specifically, how much it would cost to reach 1,000 people per platform (CPM) or the cost per interaction (CPI) -- Chron found that social media marketing takes the number one spot as the most affordable and effecient tactic, while traditional forms of advertising like billboards (no. 2), magazines (no. 3) and direct mail (no. 4) fall short.

"The CPM for billboard advertising is low, ranging from $3 to $5 nationwide, but offers little opportunity for tracking and measuring effectiveness," reports Chron. "It is also difficult to estimate with any certitude the number of motorists that pass and read billboard advertisements."

Chron also estimates that a strong social media strategy ends up costing marketers about $1-$4 per CPM, making it significantly more affordable than billboard advertising.

"Marketers often track both the CPM and the CPI, or cost per interaction, for social media, and they use both metrics to judge the costs and effectiveness of their marketing efforts."

And when it comes to choosing the right social media site for your business, Facebook is the most all-encompassing platform.

According to the Pew Research Center, "71% of adult internet users are on Facebook, meaning that 58% of the general adult population are active on the platform." And when it comes to generating paid advertising on the site, you can get extremely specific with your Facebook campaigns.

For example, when creating a Facebook ad you can choose a specific audience to target -- from location, age, income and interests -- and Facebook will tell you the potential reach of your promotion.

"The amount of data Facebook has accrued over time from user profiles, their behaviors, and 3rd party data is impressive, and they leverage those data stores to enable advertisers to narrow down their message to very specific audiences and market segments," says Social Media Today.

Thus, when comparing social media marketing versus traditional advertising, social media continues to be the most cost-effective, wide-reaching and targeted platform for marketing goods and services.

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