Traditional Promotional Strategies Vs. Social Media

Traditional promotional strategies include any avenue where a business reaches people in the real world. This can be print, radio, television, or networking. Social media promotion covers any online presence in the social media world. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and more. There are pros and cons to each, and a business should consider which best suits their needs when deciding where to allot the most time and money.

Traditional Promotional Strategies


Time tested:

One of the reasons businesses keep using traditional promotion is that the results have been proven over time. Print, television, and radio advertising all have hard data to back up their effectiveness.

 More Control:

Traditional promotion allows a business to control exactly when, where and how their advertising is experienced by the consumer. This means that a business can decide exactly the message they want to send and to whom they want to send that message. By gathering consumer data, a business knows who to target and can use strategies such as direct mailing to reach out to their ideal demographic.

 Big Impact:

Traditional promotional strategies still have the best impact on consumers. People like to be able to see and touch an item, or to have the ability to look through literature at their own pace. This is where fliers, pamphlets and physical giveaways are highly effective. Some of the most effective giveaways are items such as pens, which a consumer can hold and reuse. These work as a physical reminder of the company whenever a consumer uses them.

 Strong believability:

Newspaper ads are still considered the most trustworthy advertising by consumers. Traditional promotional strategies score higher across the board when it comes to consumer belief and trust than on-line marketing. A benefit to this trust in traditional promotion is that a business can use it to boost their website, blog, or social media presence by reminding consumers to go on-line at the end of a traditional ad.



Traditional promotional strategies tend to be much more expensive than social media, with television and radio ads top the list of expensive advertising.


More and more people are using streaming services rather than traditional television or radio, and they go online for their news as well. These people are much less likely to be exposed to traditional marketing.

Social Media Promotional Strategies



Most social media promotion is either very inexpensive or free. Even when the cost of paying employees to manage social media accounts is factored in, it can still be cheaper than some traditional promotional strategies.


Social media marketing tends to have very exact demographic tracking. This means that businesses can see exactly who is responding to their ads and posts, and gear their advertising accordingly. This tends to be much more accurate than information gathered via traditional promotions.

 Brand loyalty:

Because social media is all about building relationships, consumers tend to feel like a business they encounter online is a friend, rather than a company trying to sell them something. Social media also gives companies a platform to develop a strong brand, provided there is continuity among all the posters. This combination can create intense brand loyalty.


Social media is a great platform for a business to give away some of their physical promotional materials. This helps integrate both social media promotion and traditional promotion.


 Time intensive:

To be properly effective, social media promotion can take up a lot of time. Because of this, it can be helpful to hire a team to focus on social media promotion, but this can cut into a promotional budget.

 Delayed ROI:

Social media is focused on relationship building rather than an immediate instruction to buy a product. This means that it can take a while for actual sales to increase through social media promotion.

There is not necessarily a clear winner between the two strategies. Likely, it will depend on the individual business and whether they can afford a higher cost that will bring back a faster return, or if they need to focus on building a brand that will eventually lead to deeply loyal customers. For most companies finding a balance between the two is the ideal promotional strategy.

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About Alex Pejak

Alex Pejak is an economist currently working on a few projects in Australia. She is interested in topics related to market research and career development.

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