A friend of mine who has been hired to do the marketing for a new company pulled me aside the other day. Wendy, she said, is it okay if I stop by and get a personal lesson on how to use Wordpress and those social networks sites?
And right there, that pretty much sums up what the problem with marketing is these days. Everyone knows that if you have a company you and it need to be represented on LinkedIn, have constant tweets on Twitter, and have “one of those” blog things. You probably also need to have a website, but doesn't a blog kind of cover that?
All great buzz words but essentially meaningless, especially to the older, more mature marketer.
Guess what? Not every company needs to be involved in heavy social media marketing, but here's the rub – if you don't at least have some sort of presence reputation-wise you're dead in the water. (Seriously, you don't have a Twitter account?)
Newspapers are slowly dying, as are magazines. Print ads are going the way of the dinosaur - too big and take up too many resources. Even mass mailings are passe considered by many to be non-P.C. (what a waste of the environment we think as we toss it into the recycle bin).
How do most of us get our information these days? The answer is right in front of you. Your computer.
I write for (those dying) newspapers and yet my information stream comes from cnn.com and msnbc.com. I read about a book reference that I can use, I go over to amazon and instantly download it onto my Kindle. I spend the day and yet travel the world while sitting at my desk.
Which means if you want to catch my attention while I'm here you've got to be well, savvy about it. Let's go through some of the avenues:
LinkedIn – I know that we're all supposed to join it but I personally don't pay attention to the links. As a writer, I'm better off getting a lead from a HARO query than I am from looking up someone in my LinkedIn network. (and having taught resume writing classes – do you think I even believe half of the stuff that people list under their profiles?)
Twitter – Back in the day Twitter was fun, it was new and exciting, it was interactive. It used to be that when you posted a link you could literally watch how many people clicked on it. Take a second to look at your twitter stream, it's crowded, and cluttered. There is so much flying by that it's tough to ever recognize what's important. And besides who has the time to wade through all that?
In defense of Twitter, I know that many people have initiated Twitter-sations (those 140 character reach outs to a real person) and have made contacts this way. If you have the time to do that – have at it.
Websites – Websites are static, a mandatory place to for information that is constant and that will be as relevant today as it is tomorrow. A well written website will draw your potential customer into it's depth answering always - what it is we can do for you.
Blogs – have to admit blogs are the greatest thing since sliced bread – provided you have something meaningful and helpful to say. A “dear diary” blog is not going to get you anywhere. Neither is a blog that simply regurgitates news that is already out on the web. But a blog that offers suggestions, tips, and valuable insights?, That gets your name out as an expert in the field? That offers samples for reader's participation? - now that's the kind of thing that gets passed around. We don't have a lot of time, we want to know what we need to know as quickly as we can. You do your job well and we'll notice. I promise.
So when my friend comes over, sure, I'll help her set up on LinkedIn and Twitter, I'll even review the company's website to point out where the focus has drifted from the customer to us, us, us.
But most of our time (over pots and pots of coffee) will be spent figuring out the focus and template for a blog, how it should be constructed, and what the value of it for customers will be.
And then I'll send her off to fly on her own while I go over to CNN to see what the Breaking News is.
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