by Michael Idinopulos
on October 10, 2013

Social Marketers Need to Think Beyond the Broadcast

It’s fascinating how Marketing still uses social as a broadcast medium. Once I noticed this phenomenon I started seeing examples everywhere.

The latest reminder came up in a recent AdAge article on Anheuser-Busch InBev’s use of social media. Anheuser-Busch InBev is doing really fantastic and innovative things with social marketing. You’re not going to find a corporate marketer who “gets” social any more deeply than their VP of Digital Marketing, Lucas Herscovici. So I was surprised by this quote from Herscovici:

“In today’s world with Facebook you need [paid] media in order to reach consumers at scale. We have 17 million fans across our brands, but we know when we post something in our pages we are not reaching all of our fans, we are only reaching a certain percentage of our fans because Facebook has algorithms that control that. So if you really want to reach a bigger audience, you need to put money behind it.”

Herscovici’s quote implies that there are two ways of communicating with the market: you can either buy media or put something in your company pages (whose reach is throttled by Facebook).

That’s broadcast thinking. Herscovici seems to be saying that since Facebook throttles broadcasting from your company page, you need paid advertising to broadcast to a bigger audience.

Isn’t the whole point of social marketing to get away from broadcast and to use the power of people and their relationships to tell the message?

I agree with Herscovici that paid media is still a critical piece of consumer marketing. But I’d advise him to think beyond the broadcast. If Anheuser-Busch InBev’s corporate pages aren’t reaching the audience, think about how to leverage your employees, partners, customers, and other third parties to get the message out on your behalf.

You may not need as much paid advertising as you think.

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