Sometimes trying to explain Social Media to people can be difficult so I am always trying to think of analogies to make it easier to understand. Maybe it is the time of year, but I got to thinking the other day about the fact that social media, in comparison to other forms of marketing, is similar to the Good Humor truck. A typical ice cream shop has a permanent location and they are dependent on getting the customers to their location. The ice cream shop typically spends money on advertising and promotions, and relies on a healthy dose of word of mouth in order to drive customers to their location.
Conversely, when was the last time you saw an ad for your local Good Humor truck? They know the best location and time to find their target audience. Good Humor trucks know their audience is in neighborhoods (my daughter can hear the truck’s music from a mile away), pools, parks, beaches and playgrounds. You don’t often see them cruising the business district of cities. One other point to make is that because of the “convenience” they aren’t cheap. They bring their product directly to their audience and fill their need for a refreshing ice cream treat on a hot day.
Social media marketing is much like the Good Humor truck. Using monitoring and research, you can identify where your target audience likes to spend their time and engage them their instead of waiting for them to find you. Now social media does not replace your other forms of marketing, but it does gives you the ability to reach your audience on their turf and engage them in conversations on their terms. From that you may pull them to your online or brick and mortar presence. Another food example which I have talked about before is that Pizza Hut created a Facebook application that allows users to order pizza without leaving Facebook. Pizza Hut already offers online ordering on their site, but they understand the importance of going where their audience is and not waiting for them to leave Facebook to order pizza.
To sum things up, traditional marketing must push its message to its audience which is similar to an ice cream shop, while social media marketing goes to where its audience already is, similar to the Good Humor Truck. What do you think? Have any other analogies you want to share?
Photo by SqueakyMarmot