An Epic Battle: Presence vs. Promotion

An Epic Battle: Presence vs. Promotion

The question has been plaguing Internet marketers for years. What is more important to a successful social marketing strategy: presence or promotion?

A recent study by the wonderful people at eMarketer offers an answer. The study found that 74% of social media marketers think a presence on Facebook is important. Only 57% of those marketers believe promotion on Facebook is important. Comparatively, 47% think a presence on Twitter is important and only 42% believe promotion on Twitter is important.

The study suggests that presence wins over promotion. If social media marketers from six different countries can agree, it must be right. But can the answer really be that cut and dry? No, it can’t.

Not Black and White

Like most other aspects of social marketing, the battle of presence vs. promotion is not black and white. There are hundreds of different shades of gray between and that’s where the real success happens.

Organic promotion works and there is no doubt about it! You can spend your time reaching out and connecting with your audience via social media (and you should). Slowly, your fan base will begin to build and you will ignite a community.

At the same time, it is important to note that social promotion, or social advertising, is a great way to kick fan base growth into gear. Studies have shown that most Facebook fans are acquired via social advertising. It’s not about being the brand with the highest fan count, but it is about casting your net as far as you can.

Clearly, a combination of organic effort and social advertising is the key. Who wins this battle? It’s a draw. Just as you should integrate traditional and social marketing, you should integrate social presence and promotion.

A New Perspective

A great way to think about this is in terms of PPC (pay-per-click) marketing. If you setup a killer landing page and simply wait for traffic to flood in, the process will be slow. Similarly, if you setup an awesome AdWords campaign, but have no landing page (direct linking), your growth will be stunted.

That is why PPC marketers perfect both the method of sending the traffic (AdWords, in this example) and the method of converting the traffic (a landing page). They’ve realized that while they both would work separately, they work best together!

What do you think? Does presence trump promotion? Should they be partnered together?

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