Corporate Eye

Branding in Social Media vs. Traditional Media

Integrating a social media plan into your branding strategy has moved from being an option to becoming a necessity for survival in today’s fast moving marketplace.  Not too long ago, the thought of adding a viral component to a marketing campaign was a nice add on but hardly a requirement for success.  Today, the companies that are going to survive and thrive are the companies that understand the importance of social media and experiment with it to find the best ways to leverage its reach and power in order to drive returns.

With that shift in strategic direction in mind, consider the ways that social media differs from traditional media described below.


Social media is produced through self-publishing and user-generated content vs. the professional media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines used in traditional media.


Social media leverages pull marketing while traditional media relies on push marketing strategies.


Social media requires a far smaller monetary investment than traditional media usually does.


Social media typically reaches and influences a highly targeted or niche market vs. traditional media which often reaches a broader audience.


Social media messages come directly from individual consumers while traditional media messages most often come from the company behind them.


Social media is highly interactive generating ongoing conversations between multiple individuals while traditional media provides one-sided messages in a passive format.

Based on the differences listed above, it should come as no surprise that well-executed social media marketing campaigns can be highly influential.  On the other hand, a negative buzz that spreads throughout the social web can be very harmful to a brand.  The lesson to learn is that social media is here to stay.  While the recipe for success in leveraging the social web to build brands has yet to be determined and quantified, the point is it can’t be ignored.  It’s essential to incorporate social media into your marketing plan and branding strategy.

What social media marketing techniques have worked well for your brand or company?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

I predict the next 3 sites to be aquired are – (professional networking) (popular tech blog) (job matching technology)

Notice that two use social media components. If you want to start a site, it must have a social component.

Richard, I think you’re right on the money in terms of the need to include a social component to websites – whether its a blog, forum, or networking tool. I also like your predictions for sites that will be acquired. So far Facebook has balked at all acquisition attempts. Could LinkedIn be the next prize? Let’s wait and see….

I was so keen to learn about social media & branding together, because lately I had an argument with one of my friend on this subject. Your blog post concluded a lot of my doubts. Thanks for writing this, it helped a lot.

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