I recently said this out loud to a small business B2B client: “No, you don’t need to be on Snapchat.” In related news … your insurance brokerage firm is unlikely to get any new business from joining Tinder … unless your business is monkey business.
But who can blame my client? It’s confusing times as old business models get disrupted, leaving most grasping for how to stay relevant and competitive.
Whether you’re a small independent retailer or a major manufacturer and distributor, I’ll bet that there is some question as to how best to spend your marketing time and dollars. As old fashioned print increasingly gives way to digital marketing, and as the landscape of digital marketing opportunities continues to increase, there is one thing that is clear to me: The first step continues to be establishing yourself/your business as the expert, as the place to go for answers. This is best done by writing articles and posting them on your website – aka blogging.Filling your company’s website with knowledge and information written in an engaging, even fun, manner continues to be the best way to establish your authority. Yes, it’s difficult to cut through the noise of social media; but you must have something of value to your customers once they do cut through it and find your website. Once you consistently establish your credentials as the expert, then you spread that word through appropriate social media outlets.
Know what you do well, and delegate the rest.
Like the children of Lake Wobegon, we are all smarter than average. But we’re not all writers. And even if you are quick-witted with the quintessential quill, I’m betting your plate is full thus taking on an extra task like this, which really requires planning, thought, and deliberation, is likely not realistic. So find someone on your staff, or hire an outside ghostwriter/digital marketer who can supply you with a steady stream of articles.
Understand Search Engine Optimization
There are some big ticket digital marketers that want to keep basic SEO information a mystery. It is true that it is an ever-changing target, but the basics are always there which can be summed up in “figuring out the key words that your new customers and clients are searching for.” If you have a guitar shop in Mapleville, then your blogs have to constantly have the words “guitars,” “guitar lessons,” “Mapleville” etc. hyperlinked in your articles. (Another thing that helps raise your visibility is to constantly be linking back to your own page, and your older articles – a favored trick of mine.)
Choose Social Media Platforms Wisely
There will be hipsters that disagree with me, but the basic platforms aren’t changing, and depending on your business, your social media potpourri make up will include some combination of Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterist, Twitter, and Google+. (I’m less than enamored by the last two; why should be the subject of another article). Sure, there are others that might be a good fit for your business, and new ones are popping up all the time, but I always advise a client to be realistic. It’s better to work fewer social media platforms well then spread yourself too thin. So that’s great if you start that Vine account for your craft store, but if you never put anything on it, and people find it and see that it’s empty … well, it’s way way worse than not having that account at all.
Rinse & Repeat
A certain 19th century philosophy might have said it is the hobgoblin of little minds, but being consistent with your blogging is key both in terms of how often and its authoritative tone. If you commit to every other week, make sure you (or an employee, or someone you hire) gets one up on your site every other week; and make sure its subject matter, tone, and writing style constantly defines and reinforces that you are the expert, the problem solver, the one to go to for questions.
With every article make sure there is an image or two even if you just pull something off the internet. Then with every post of an article on your site, link it to your social media sites or re-post it in its entirely (if you do the latter make sure it links back to your businesses home page). Then tweet it.
A strong digital media campaign begins with the basics, so blog.