Traditional media is still a valid and needed part of the small business marketing mix but only to the extent it helps create awareness of online and social media experiences with your brand. Bold statement, I know.

Small business owners need to recognize that prospects no longer move neatly from one media touch point to the next. They move around, sampling a video on YouTube, scanning a traditional print ad, reading RSS feeds in their feed reader, checking their Facebook or LinkedIn accounts or reading new entries in their favorite blogs. Just focusing on traditional, one-way “awareness” ads will make your brand seem stiff , inwardly focused and, ultimately, will not get results.

Going forward small business owners need to think in terms of three tiers – traditional, to online, to social. How prospects engage with you and your company through digital and social media channels will ultimately define your brand. Today, it’s all about providing opportunities for prospects to build communities and reciprocal relationships.

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing had a great post the other day about social media and hoiw if you’re not participating somehow you’re not really online.

Read John’s entire post here.