Traditional media has definitely taken a turn in a different direction. More and more people are using online resources instead of looking to traditional media for everything in their lives from news to entertainment. So does that mean companies should ditch traditional media altogether?

Scott Wise owner and CEO of Scotty’s Brewhouse did just that:

 “A year and a half ago, when the economy crashed, we were looking for ways to cut costs without laying employees off. At the same time social media was really taking off, so we eliminated every single piece of outside advertising, no print, no radio, no other types of traditional media, and shifted our focus to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. In the past, we would spend about $250,000 each year in football ads, newspaper, and radio during Christmas time to promote gift cards. We eliminated all of that.”

But is this what’s right for you? Social media is not about a broadcast message. It’s about listening. It’s about communicating with your customers. Scotty does that very well. He mentions in his guest blog post on the Chamber INsider that he does not utilize a secondary company or ghost blogger to do social media for him. It’s really him. After all, you and your employees know your company and brand the best. Why would your customer want to put a comment card in your comment box that a subcontractor is going to read? How would they know that the awesome employee they were praising or the defective widget they were complaining about would get the message?

 Scotty has found a way to utilize social media in several very effective ways.  In addition to using it to broadcast his message about specials and what’s going on in his store, he also uses it to communicate and listen to customers, both good and bad.  Then he takes the bad and makes the necessary changes to make them right (and does it right now!). He’s really listening. He uses it for market research and to vent. It’s really Scotty.

 With that said, I do not believe traditional media is totally dead. Combined with a well-designed social media plan, it can make a large impact on the value of your business.  If you are considering re-allocating your advertising budget, and spending less on traditional media, the phonebook could be the first item to go. Replace the phonebook costs with social media training, updated graphics and logos, and better signage on your brick-and-mortar. Put your advertising and branding where your customer’s eyes are looking, and leave no stone unturned.

 Some of the hottest forms of advertising and corporate branding are vehicle graphics and wraps. If you are going with more new media advertising and want to find a way to get the word out, why not put it on all your delivery vehicles “follow me” and your twitter handle or Facebook URL? Find a way to combine new and old.  

But don’t treat new media like traditional media…  if you do, you will fail.

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