Marketing has numerous definitions.

Investopedia defines marketing as, “activities undertaken by a company to promote buying or selling of a product or service.” 

Micheal Brenner from Marketing Insider Group defines marketing as, “the process of understanding your customers and building and maintaining relationships with them.” 

HubSpot, one of the leading content marketing platforms, defines marketing as, “the process of getting people interested in your company’s product or service. This happens through market research, analysis and understanding your ideal customer’s interests.” 

The list of definitions could go on but I’ll stop here because I want to share my perspective on defining marketing. I am an MBA graduate who has been a social media practitioner for the past six years, and I have discovered that there it is commonly thought that social media is the new face of marketing; it has somehow shown up to replace what has been dubbed traditional marketing. 

Don’t believe this lie. Understanding what marketing truly is will help you realise that social media is only a portion of everything that marketing entails. Let’s dive into some key truths that you need to know before engaging in a debate about whether social media has replaced traditional marketing.

(Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash)

What is Marketing? 

The concept of marketing is built on the foundation of the four Ps: product, place, promotion and price. You have to understand your product, sell it at the right price, know where to find your target audience and use various channels to reach this audience. Social media is only one of these channels. 

What is the Role of Social Media in Marketing?

The role of social media in marketing depends on the nature of your business. Social media only hits on one p – promotion. Promotions could take on multiple forms such as building awareness, advertising, branding and so on. 

Within the promotion context, social media can also be used to achieve some of the marketing objectives Brenner and HubSpot mentioned. It can be used to support your market research efforts, better understand the interests of your target audience, build and maintain relationships with your customers, and increase interest in your brand. So, it isn’t only about selling non-stop. Instead, it’s about creating a platform which supports your overarching marketing plan. 

How Should You Use Social Media for Your Business?

Social media supports the promotion element of the four Ps of marketing. Here are some tips that you can use to capitalize on this promotion element and reach more customers:

  1. Show the human-side of your brand with picture and video posts. 
  2. Engage with your followers and address customer complaints.
  3. See what’s trending and decide how to incorporate those topics or ideas into your marketing strategy.
  4. Show what your brand stands for and how your team works to achieve results.
  5. Reach a global audience through hashtags and paid promotions. 

Social Media Hasn’t Replaced Traditional Marketing 

Social media has become a large part of our lives. However, it can’t replace traditional marketing because it is only a portion of the marketing process.  Traditional marketing and social media marketing should, therefore, work in tandem to help your business achieve strong marketing results. 

Want to learn more?

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Hilary De Freitas is a wife, mother, engineer and marketer. She is dedicated to helping mothers build a successful online business from their passions, so that they don't have to choose between career and family. Hilary has been involved in network marketing, affiliate marketing and digital marketing consulting for the past 10 years. Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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