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Social Media - not the be all and end-all

A lot of companies seem to be forgetting that Social Media should be considered as part of an integrated marketing strategy, and relying solely on these sites to reach their audience.

For example, a recent promotion by a confectionary firm. Inside the wrapper was a promotional code that could only be used on Facebook, with no other link to the manufacturers own website. As I'm not on Facebook, the firm in question just missed out on a potential 'hit' by driving me to its website.

I can understand what's happened. A couple years back, marketing staff were chastised for missing out on the social media revolution, and they've rightly reacted to that by forming a strategy for the sites. Trouble is, the pendulum seems to have swung too far in favor of Facebook, Twitter et al, to the detriment of more traditional marketing channels (phone, e-mail, web, even good ol fashioed mail shots).

There's another aspect to consider here. Not everyone is online. Some choose not to be online, while others simply can't get a reliable broadband service in their area (in 2012!). So, if you abandon all traditional marketing, that's a chunk of people who will never get your message, whether by e-mail or social media.

What we need here is some balance. Some recognition that not everyone is tech savvy or owns a smartphone, and that some people are genuinely not bothered by that. Switching to an 'all online' world has clear benefits, but lets not forget the drawbacks (just ask customers of Ulster Bank, RBS and NatWest who recently hit problems after a software upgrade went wrong).