Column: Media Moguls Offering Too Many Choices?

By George Farris
CEO, Farris Marketing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are modern media moguls – social media moguls. Zuckerberg is more of a true social media mogul, whereas Musk is probably more of a tech, space, solar energy, tunnel-drilling, electric car and social media mogul.

Musk owns one social media platform, Twitter. Zuckerberg’s Meta organization controls Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and the new Twitter-like Threads. According to Social Shepherd, Twitter has about 450 million active users.

Although Zuckerberg has a universe of more people on his platforms, Musk seems to have more influence and can make a much bigger splash.

Part of that is personality, which Musk has in abundance. Zuckerberg, on the other hand, must have skipped that class at billionaire school – unless pouting could be considered a personality trait. Musk is known for his outrageous off-the-cuff Tweets. Zuckerberg tends to have his PR pros craft his messages. The press loves to report on both.


As marketers, there are two ways we can look at it. When there are just a few media platforms, our choices are limited and we have little control over the cost of paid media.

Forty years ago, social media didn’t exist. TV was the most popular form of media for both entertainment and information. There were only three major networks in the United States.

The most-watched episode on TV was the finale of “M*A*S*H.” It aired in 1983 on CBS and drew 106 million viewers, roughly 60% of American households.

That’s not 106 million viewers who streamed it over a period of days or weeks. That was 106 million people watching it AT THE SAME TIME.

The cost of advertising on that episode was $450,000 for a 30-second spot or $1.4 million in today’s dollars. There are not many businesses that could afford that type of advertising buy.

Today we have lots of media choices. Besides national and global news organizations and TV networks, lists more than 200 streaming services.

Add to that, the top social media platforms in the United States. Dreamgrown ranks them by active users:

1. Facebook – 2.74 billion.

2. YouTube – 2.29 billion.

3. WhatsApp – 2.0 billion.

4. Facebook Messenger – 1.3 billion.

5. Instagram – 1.221 billion.

6. WeChat – 1.213 billion.

7. TikTok – 689 million.

8. Pinterest – 442 million.

9. Reddit – 430 million.


How can you determine which media to use for your marketing? Cost is only one factor. The most important facts to know are the facts that describe your best customers and prospects.

You MUST determine what your customers want most. What pain they have that needs to be relieved. Which pain your competitors aren’t relieving – or relieving well enough. Do you have a solution that works better or costs less? Who are prospects with that pain in your market? Research the social and paid media to determine which can deliver those prospects to you most cost-effectively.


Yesterday it was the TV networks. Today it’s social media. Popular media is going to keep changing. Let Musk and Zuckerberg entertain you. But place your marketing in the media that supply the right prospects and the right price.

George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing. Email [email protected].