Traditional Advertising vs. Social Media Marketing: Which do Consumers Trust More?

Do you think that social media is a phase? Well, it may very well be, but regardless of how social media progresses in the future, there is no doubt that it has changed consumer behavior. Before social media came to be, consumers were listening to messages from the company itself. Whether it is a print, television, or radio advertisement, the only person educating about the product is the business. Now with the social media revolution, companies are not the only ones raving about their product. Consumers are speaking too, and they aren’t scared to tell the truth.

How many times have you purchased something from TV because you saw a commercial and thought a product looked awesome? When you used the product, did it work as well as you perceived it would? What I’m trying to get at here is, were you a victim to the Slap Chop?

Commercials or advertisements can make something seem so unbelievable that you ask yourself, “why don’t I own this product,” just to purchase it and become disappointed. This is how social media is changing the ways consumers make their purchase decisions. Customers are looking for answers before trying products now, and they are all being found through their peers on social networks.

What kind of interest are traditional advertisements sparking these days? The interest to find out more information, and not just from the company’s perspective. Social sites including Facebook, Twitter, blogs and review sites allow consumers to see what others are saying about the company or product. Chances are if your product or service has bad reviews over and over again, consumers are going to be less likely to buy it.

Additionally, consumers are now making their own judgments on the company itself. If I don’t like my new product, how easily will I be able to return it, or how will I be reimbursed? These are all things that can be seen through social interactions. Say you visit a company’s Facebook page where there are a bunch of complaints about the product or customer service that are left unanswered. Clearly, this is a company who cannot be trusted in terms of taking care of their consumers needs. Ignoring a customer in public is worse than a terrible review, in my opinion.

So the takeaway point here is that social media has enabled consumers to be shown the truth about a product or service. No longer will people be deceived into purchasing because of a really great commercial or print ad. All the information needed is available online, and how a company conducts itself publicly says a lot more than a magazine ad. Your business is not the only one educating your audience; your consumers are as well.

If you have noticed, many traditional advertisements are starting to incorporate their social media sites into them. At the end of a commercial, do you ever notice the Facebook and Twitter symbols? It’s amazing to see how even traditional advertising is now directing consumers to social media sites. Maybe they are trying to get more fans, but the fact is, a company’s social media site is where the consumer will engage and discuss a product.