Marketing & Promo

Social media vs. tangible Items: 7 important marketing insights

July 18, 2023
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7 Important insights when comparing social media versus tangible items for marketing

Social media and tangible items are both significant aspects of modern life, yet they serve different purposes and have distinct impacts on individuals and society. Understanding their differences and impacts is essential for navigating the digital age. To help you determine which is best for your marketing campaign, we have listed 7 important insights to focus on as you compare social media and tangible items:

1 Nature of Existence

1. Nature of existence

Social Media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are primarily designed for communication, networking, and creating virtual communities. They enable users to connect, share information, engage in discussions, and express themselves online.

Social media is intangible.  Social Media platforms are digital entities that exist solely in the virtual realm.  They must be access through internet-connected devices like smartphones, computers or tablets and primarily relies on text, images, videos, and audio to convey information and communication.

Tangible Items

Tangible items are objects that can be seen, touched, and held in a physical sense.  They range from everyday items like clothing and furniture to luxury goods, vehicles, and sentimental keepsakes. Tangible items provide a sensory experience, allowing individuals to interact physically and emotionally with the objects they own or encounter.

2 Permanence and Transience

2. Permanence and transience

Social Media

Social media is ephemeral, which means is it short-lived. Posts can be deleted or archived, and they may not be accessible after a certain period of time.

Content is often transient in nature, with posts, updates, and messages having a limited lifespan. Furthermore, posts, tweets, or stories can quickly get buried in the ever-flowing stream of information, making them short-lived unless they go viral or gain significant attention

Tangible Items

Unlike social media, tangible items have the potential for longevity and endurance. Tangible items have a much longer lifecycle and a physical object can be kept for years, or even decades, becoming tangible memories or keepsakes.

3 Emotional Connection

3. Emotional connection

Social Media

Social media platforms enable easy and instant communication across distances, fostering global connections and breaking down barriers. It can create a desire for acquiring new products and experiences based on the constant exposure to the lifestyles of others. It is designed so that people can connect with each other on a global scale.

This means that social media facilitates the sharing information, project collaborations and the building of virtual relationships. However, it can also lead to superficial relationships and reduced face-to-face interactions.

Tangible Items

Tangible items can be used by individuals, but they are not inherently social. Tangible items, however, often carry sentimental value and emotional connections. Physical gifts, handwritten letters, and personal mementos can evoke strong emotions and memories associated with the giver or a particular moment in time.

Physical objects can be preserved for years, passed down through generations, and retain their value or significance over time. They have the ability to evoke memories and nostalgia, creating lasting connections and emotional bonds.

Tangible items can facilitate social interaction when they are shared or gifted in person. They can act as conversation starters or strengthen bonds between individuals.

4 Communication and Connectivity

4. Communication and connectivity

Social Media

One of the significant advantages of social media is its ability to facilitate rapid and widespread communication. It allows people to connect with others irrespective of geographical boundaries, fostering social connections, and enabling the exchange of ideas, information, and emotions.

Tangible Items

While tangible items may not directly promote communication or connectivity, they can serve as catalysts for social interactions. For example, items like souvenirs, art, or fashion pieces can spark conversations, convey personal preferences, and serve as a means of self-expression and identity.

5 Consumerism and Materialism

5. Consumerism and materialism

Social Media

Social media platforms have become influential marketing tools, promoting consumerism and materialistic tendencies. They can create a desire for acquiring new products and experiences based on the constant exposure to the lifestyles of others.

Tangible Items

The possession of tangible items can contribute to materialism and consumerism. People often seek fulfillment through material possessions. It is important, however, to consider that this can lead to overconsumption and environmental concerns.

6 Environmantal Impact

6. Environmental impact

Social Media

While social media is digital, it is not without environmental consequences. Data centers and the energy required to power the internet contribute to carbon emissions and environmental impact. The widespread use of social media platforms contributes to significant energy consumption in data centers, as well as electronic waste from discarded devices.

Tangible Items

The production and consumption of tangible items necessitate the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing processes, packaging, and transportation, all of which can have substantial environmental impacts. However, conscious consumption practices, recycling, and sustainable production methods can mitigate these effects.

7 Data Driven

7. Data-driven

Social Media

Social media is data-driven. When you use social media, you are generating data about your activities, your interests, and your relationships. This data can be used by businesses to target you with advertising, and it can also be used by researchers to study human behavior.

Tangible Items

Tangible items do not typically generate data in the same way that social media does. Synergem offers Technologies such as NFC and Web Keys that can be combined with Quick Connect® Analytics to gather measurable data on tangible products.

Key takeaways

  • Social media can be a powerful tool for connecting with people and building relationships. However, it is important to be aware of the ephemeral nature of social media posts and the potential for data collection.
  • Tangible items can provide a sense of permanence and stability that social media cannot. However, they can also be more difficult to connect with and share with others.
  • The best way to use social media and tangible items is to find a balance that works for you. Use social media to connect with people and share information, and use tangible items to express yourself and create memories.

In conclusion, social media and tangible items have unique characteristics and influences on our lives. Social media has revolutionized communication, information sharing, and marketing but may lack the emotional depth of tangible items. Tangible items provide physical connections and lasting memories but can also contribute to consumerism and environmental challenges. As social media continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these two worlds continue to interact with each other. For successful marketers, it is essential to strike a balance between the digital and physical worlds.

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