There is a lot of back and forth between marketing experts on which method of marketing you should throw your hat in with; that is, which method will increase sales…

There is a lot of back and forth between marketing experts on which method of marketing you should throw your hat in with; that is, which method will increase sales and revenues for a firm? Social media — specifically Twitter and Instagram for their succinct and/or visual methods — are certainly getting a boost in chatter within the marketing community but will they produce the types of results that justify the manpower or budget used to maintain them? Being able to engage a customer “real time” and in a personal way can be a huge advantage to a business, but only if you understand how to do so. Passive marketing, in turn, is very traditional and while it lacks the dynamic traits of social engagement there is still room for it at the table. Here are the arguments to be made for each:

Social Engagement

Social Media has certainly blown up in recent years. Just a few years ago there was Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope were just ideas in someone’s head. Within a very short period of time, these social avenues have blown up and are rapidly replacing Facebook as the method of communication among millennials (a huge consumer target population). Figuring out which one will “win the field” is very difficult for many marketing experts because that generation of consumers is unlike any before. What experts do know is that there are social media “herds” that can and must be followed in order to create campaigns that will be meaningful to their target consumers.

Forty And Over

Those who are older tend to find social media tools like Facebook or WordPress Blogger more appealing. Blogging allows far more options when communicating with others and allows companies a greater access to communication methods than something like Twitter. On Facebook you can friend, accept friendships, and create campaigns that are appealing to a specific target and share them. This has great appeal to older generations as they increasingly use Facebook to research information that’s important to them. This is where social media sites, with the heavy emphasis on networks of family and friends, come into their own, as older adults increasingly turn to their friends and family on popular social networking sites like Facebook to answer their questions. Getting advice from peers has become a valuable aspect of the network, one aspect which draws and hooks older adults to Facebook.

Facebook is not, however, the tool de rigueur for the young generation anymore. That herd has moved onwards. To them, Facebook has become a social network that’s often too complex, too risky, and, above all, too frequented by parents and the old to give the young the type of social media freedom or release they very much want. But since the young still make up the largest proportion of social media users, marketers are particularly keen to follow this group and study their online behaviors and social media interactions so that they may eventually be able to pitch their products and services to this young age group.

Millennials And Younger

This group is very hard to communicate with unless you are extremely tech savvy and understand their playground. They are socially liberal but fiscally conservative, meaning campaigns that will move or motivate them to buy or put trust in a brand has to be extremely smart and savvy, something harder to do in 140 characters or less. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr is where this particular consumer market hangs out. Why? These social media platforms are easier to elicit more reactions in the form of hashtags, likes, followers, and comments and, in a certain sense, to the younger generations at least, feel more spontaneous, a little scandalous and, importantly, at times, “secret” than the biggest social network of them all: Facebook.

When it comes to pitching at the millennials and younger, whatever marketing campaign you seek to launch in these social realms must take into consideration their limitations. Certainly, visuals work which is why so many companies are looking to Instagram right now, but putting together an Instagram campaign is no easy task and requires “activity” on a daily basis which can be expensive. Still, the effort is worth it as the popularity of Instagram among millenials has been massive and undeniable. They have been overwhelmingly ditching Facebook in favor of Instagram to the point where now any company that wants to make inroads with this younger generation must have a huge presence on it.

Passive Marketing

Passive marketing is marketing that reaches the customer through smart positioning. A good example of passive marketing is when a customer uses an online search engine to pinpoint a business or the yellow pages to find the contact details of the same. The marketing was done before the customer’s need arose, and no special strategy was required to connect the buyer with the business. Anticipatory and thoughtful, passive marketing takes work and proper planning, but its main means and methods, such as having quality blog articles on a website, and being listed in industry directories does help make the business get business and results.

When done correctly passive marketing is probably your best value for the dollar. When someone actively is searching for your product or service they are a “qualified” lead. They have proven that they want to buy your product or service by virtue of actively seeking companies like yours. If you have the right “content marketing” you can hold their attention and sell your brand. Passive marketing still brings in results, especially if companies ensure that the website is responsive and capable of being viewed in a mobile or tablet experience.

Passive marketing will be cheaper than social engagement (if the firm doing the engagement does it correctly), and if care is taken to do proper research and branding it can still be high value in terms of marketing expense.

What Now?

Now that we’ve established the pros and cons of each, a case can be made that every successful business requires both types of marketing to be successful on the web. Any new business must have a strong passive marketing approach to establish their brand. In order to grow the business, social and active engagement is required. Once you have customers you can use them to market your company through social media. The Internet user is savvy to paid followers and reviews, so you must be organic and authentic when marketing through social media. A proper combination of both will yield results quickly.

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