Social Media Marketing vs. Press Releases: Which Goes Where?

Posted on: November 18th, 2009

One of the biggest challenges for new marketers is deciding where to allow two-way conversation with customers and where to focus on a more direct marketing message. Thanks to new tools like Twitter and RSS, marketing has become more and more about conversation, and less about direct messaging. We at Appleton Creative, are huge advocates of having a dialogue with your target market. This guide is designed to help you navigate through a marketing world that’s packed with two-way messages, decide where to best focus your marketing efforts, and assist you in managing your marketing campaign effectively.

Twitter is a very effective public relations tool. You have immediate access to your target market, a highly valuable following of potential customers, brand evangelists and enthusiasts. Thousands of marketers have tried direct marketing on Twitter and seen their efforts fail, either due to a lack of trust or a lack of interest. As a result, you should focus your Twitter efforts on public relations. Build your following there, direct them towards more profitable sections of your empire, and let them build word-of-mouth feedback for you.

The exception is for product launches and special occasions. This is where social media will come in handy for press releases. Have you got a new informational product launching in a week? Why not alert your Twitter followers first? The upside to announcing on Twitter is that in addition to the scale of an email campaign, you get the incredible viral capabilities of a social network. Harvest followers on Twitter, communicate with them directly, and only market on special occasions, product launches or exclusive offers.

See that divide? The two-way conversation should be reserved for building your brand and producing conversation, and the one-way messages are optimum for launching products, direct marketing and awareness building. Appleton Creative urges you to use your online influence to build interest in your products, get your followers discussing them, and use your direct influence to make product launches ultra-profitable.

Another incredibly effective tool for direct promotion is a company blog, or even individual product blogs. Combined with an RSS feed and a dedicated audience, your blog can be used as an effective secondary income source. Direct your Twitter followers towards your blog for important announcements and information, use their presence to boost your advertising rates, and at the same time syndicate product information, customer testimonials and opt-in opportunities. The key to linking your blog and Twitter account is to make the transition completely seamless. Minimize the divide and make sure that you offer consistent value on both platforms.

As always, these marketing forms take time and effort to truly succeed. While the old myth of “build it and they will come” seems to be strong in social media communities, the reality is that there’s still work to do. However, once you’ve built that following, it begins to grow itself. Hit the tipping point, constantly provide value to your followers, and watch as your product launches go off without a hitch. Market aggressively and watch as your followers run. Social media, whether for PR or direct marketing, requires a steady hand, patience and strategy. With active dedication and effort you’ll be able to build a massive marketing asset, a strong PR presence, and a promotional avenue that’s second to none.

To learn more about what you have read, please feel free to reach out to the Appleton Creative Team.

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