I saw a commercial the other day that got me thinking about the differences between traditional and social media marketing tools and practices. Knowing and understanding these differences can be a huge help in identifying which media platforms are right for your business. There are numerous factors in successful marketing optimization: hitting the right demographic, up-to-date facts and data, targeting a specific market, knowing your business’s history and what media campaigns have been successful in the past, to name a few. And although these factors are common to both marketing techniques, social media platforms provide the distinct advantage of allowing you to interact with your audience in order to see what is happening right now.

The commercial started off by asking the following question: If you were standing on the corner of a congested intersection and needed to cross the street, would you be confident and willing to take a snapshot of that intersection, wait five minutes, then cross traffic with your eyes closed? I certainly wouldn’t. The point is that the most successful approach to crossing the intersection would be to assess the congestion and traffic flow immediately prior to crossing, as well as while you are in the process of crossing the street, right?

In the present

Now apply this model to a social media versus traditional marketing platform. Most traditional marketing approaches use historical facts, demographic data and previous traffic numbers in order to create their marketing strategy. While this strategy can be successful, it’s not the same as assessing the facts, demographic data and current traffic numbers in the present. Social media gives us the tools and information we need to connect with one another faster, easier and more efficiently than ever before.

Unlike traditional marketing, the impact of social media campaigns can be modified, updated and interacted with on a constant basis. Instead of crossing the congested intersection with your eyes closed, solely basing your decision on previous information, you can decide when, where and how you wish to cross the street with current knowledge of the situation.

Use these social media advantages to track your marketing campaigns to see what works. Utilize your connections through social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to create media intersections where you can promote your business and rock your traffic.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and president of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website at www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.