“As the global economy struggles to correct itself, and social media marketing becomes a strategic imperative, companies will have exciting opportunities to expand in new directions this year…the current shift in geotargeting, mobile marketing, and online reputation management require that small businesses modify their plans to surpass competitors.” – Susan Gunelius, Reuters.
“Still Waiting to Commit to a Strategy…You’re Going to Lose” – Adam Singer
Gunelius is correct; current trends point businesses toward a holistic digital marketing strategy but, the fact is, if your business hasn’t made a commitment to digital yet, surpassing your competitors (even with a gigantic budget) probably won’t happen. Those who’ve already implemented a smart digital marketing strategy are so far ahead of their competition it’s disturbing. Renowned digital marketing blogger and PR expert Adam Singer exemplifies the seriousness of this type of loss with a simple runner’s graphic. In it, the newcomer to digital is running uphill struggling to make it to the top while his competition has already crested the hill and is enjoying the benefits of his win. Stop looking for an easy way out – there isn’t one. Singer writes, “Figure out how the digital channels can best serve your brand. The net result should be a focused strategy that is based on your overall business objectives, economic value to the organization, and a tactical plan.” If you’re in the C-Suite, do your homework and understand digital marketing now, because it’s already too late.
Figure it out!
Here are some social media marketing fundamentals. Social media starts with content and compelling content is predominantly found on blogs and websites with blogs. Compelling content is a viable marketing tool. Gunelius on Reuters explains, “Amazing content is essential to break through the noise.” Yes, social media includes Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Delicious, Buzz etc. but before we go there it’s imperative you see the following key distinction: Your blog and your website are YOUR brand. Facebook and Twitter are not your brand – they are Facebook and Twitter’s brands. The goal is to get your friends and followers to link back to your brand. Have social media accounts but no blog? You’re losing. Fill your blog with compelling, keyword optimized content which inspires others to share what you write on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Buzz, and more. This is how you boost your brand’s visibility on search. Are you posting weekly on your blog? Is your content interesting enough to share? Do you regularly add fresh content to your website? Your answers to all should be YES.
Search engine attention and author authority
Compelling blog content combined with the creative use of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media channels is a good start. Specifically, you build communities on various social media platforms, share valuable information with your communities in an interesting way, then maybe they’ll share your information with their communities. Sounds simple, right? It isn’t. Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz writes, ” We now know that those link sharing activities on Twitter and Facebook are evaluated based on the person/entity sharing them through a score Google calls ‘Author Authority,’ and Bing calls ‘Social Authority.’” Recently both Google and Bing confessed they give more search engine attention to links tweeted and retweeted by authoritative Twitter users. Know how to leverage social and search.
Time is not on your side.
You won’t get instant gratification from a newly implemented digital marketing plan. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it, the fact remains, a good digital marketing plan needs to be up and running at least six months before you’ll see any benefits. At least. A year is a much more realistic time frame. If you study up you’ll understand the daily commitment, knowledge base, and creativity required to make it work. Ready to learn more? Keep an eye out for “A Digital Marketing Study Primer for C.E.O.’s – Part II” and find out how to vet a social media marketing agency and discover how much you should pay them.