Today, I saw this photo used in promotions by three different companies. Two of the three times I saw this particular photo, it was being used by the same type of company – a dentist office. Yes, we love iStock. It’s a great resource. But, clearly, not a great way to brand yourself as original. I’ll bet the dentists at these dentists’ offices didn’t sit down one day and say, “hmmm, I think I will use a picture that my competition uses. YES! That will show everyone how unique their experience will be at MY office!” Rather, they probably sat down and said, “hmmm, I want to have a niche and show my audience that I offer something unique and different.” So what went wrong?
I see it all too often where, these days, a fantastic idea for a website or venture pops into your brain, you find the right domain, buy it and then… what? Since even a novice computer user can “build” their own website or blogsite these days, the future of these online startups may be absolutely fantastic ideas, but with no real direction.
Are you aimlessly tweeting and updating your facebok status to a missing, or even more likely, a super fast moving target? You need a strategy. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is your mediums for which you will build your marketing plan upon. It’s not about advertising, it’s about strategizing. Here are some primary tips:
- Build a website on a CMS (content management system) platform that’s easy to update often;
- Research and build a competitive keyword analysis;
- In the building stages, integrate search engine optimization into that website;
- Update your website often with news, videos, podcasts, pictures, etc.;
- Build a separate blog site that is linked directly to your website;
- Write new blog posts that highlight keywords from the competitive analysis at least twice a week;
- Share everything you do on your website with your social media networks;
- Give others’ props – as often as possible (link to their website or blog, give reviews on Yelp!);
- Find every possible avenue of promotion (google, yahoo, yelp, facebook, twitter, onsite, offsite integration) and use coupons, specials, referrals;
- Be the expert you claim to be, share your knowledge with your audience (trust me, you aren’t giving away any secrets that they can’t find out on Google);
- Integrate all forms of advertising into your website, social media pages, blog, etc. There are lots of creative ways to bring people to YOUR website instead of the competition’s website;
- Call an expert for advice, help, management, marketing, advertising and design support.
These are all primary tips. There are a ton of in depth ideas and plans that can be implemented at extreme strategic levels. Here’s one example: GoDaddy.com. I remember the very first ad they ran during the Superbowl years ago. It was a hot girl in a courtroom and she held up a sign that had the GoDaddy logo on it and in a sexy, seductive voice exclaimed “Go Daddy dot com”. By the next day, their website was blowing up with traffic. They created a level of mischief and curiosity… that was their plan. And it worked. This wasn’t an accident, it was strategically planned. Another great example is Lemonade: Detroit. They’ve created a revolutionary way to own part of an IMDB credited production. That’s something to share. And, again, it was a strategic plan.
I’ve said it before, just being there isn’t enough. It helps, but it is not enough. What is your strategy for social media marketing? It takes promotions, ideas, time management, social engagement, but more than any of this – you need a plan of action. Networking is a complicated area of marketing if you’re not sure what your expectations are or have clear and defined goals. It takes less effort to build a strategy than it does to wander around social media websites aimlessly.
Then there’s the stories we hear about how “all I did was twitter and I got a huge new client!” Yes, social media does work. But, for most people, it isn’t a magic wand. These stories are “highlighted” in the news because they’re exactly that – news. News is almost always something unique and different that has happened. Don’t expect that just because you have a facebook page or tweet a couple of times a day that you will score bigtime and retire in a year. The chances of that happening are a lot similar to that of winning the lottery. Seriously.
Think about your days, and how you spend them. Do you have defined goals for each day? Each week? Each month? Year? Your marketing plan needs to not only exist, but totally thrive in social media.