Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, FourSquare, and more. Are you using these tools to help your business? What about your website, is it helping your business? Do you also need mobile, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry apps? Do you know what others are saying about your business online, and are you responding? Have you done Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Google, Yahoo, Bing, and local and mobile search? Are you using online advertising or location-aware marketing? What about email marketing? Do online coupons and deals make sense for your business?
Mastering social media is challenging, but never before have there been so many opportunities for small and medium businesses to cost effectively compete with the big guys in advertising and marketing. Because there are so many options available, where do you start? Do you need to do everything? Do you need to do anything? And how do you keep up with the changes?
Facebook and Google+ have each done redesigns in the past month alone. Pinterest has seemingly come out of nowhere to now become the third most popular social network in the U.S., behind Facebook and Twitter.
We help businesses navigate this process, and have developed a set of services for small and medium businesses, Your Business on the Web℠. In the coming months we will be blogging here about the process of developing and implementing a web presence strategy. We’ll include how-to guidelines and best practices for building your web presence on various platforms, and explain how to figure out where it makes sense for you to spend your time and money. There is no single set of tools and mix of social media that fits everyone. Small and medium businesses need to pick and choose where to allocate resources. You need a web presence strategy to make the social media marketing challenge a manageable process that delivers results.
What is a web presence strategy?
Sometimes it is useful to first look at what it is not.
- Your web strategy is not something that you check off the list. Many businesses realized they needed a website, created one several years ago, checked that off the list and don’t think about it much any longer (or they dread thinking about it again). Today, when almost no one uses the Yellow Pages books to find goods and services, you have to be found on the web. You can no longer create your website and forget about it.
Building a web presence is a process.
- Some business have heard that SEO is really important and paid lots of money for services like link- building and the promise of number one on Google’s search, but have been disappointed to not see any business results. Instant outcomes don’t exist.
Building a web presence takes time.
- Others businesses have jumped on one or many of the social media trends. They’ve signed up, dabbled a little, and then neglected them because they are too busy or aren’t seeing any results.
Building an effective web presence requires planning.
- Many businesses are doing better with one or more of the social media platforms, but haven’t figured how to coordinate the platforms with each other and their offline strategy.
Building a web presence that gets results requires goals.
- Time and money are limited resources, and every business wants to know that they are directing their efforts most effectively. Spending time and money on web, social media, and email marketing shouldn’t be a leap of faith.
Building a web presence requires monitoring.
Building a web presence that produces results is a process that takes time, planning, goals, and monitoring. Deciding the best approach for your unique business requirements will allow you to master the social media marketing challenge without being overwhelmed or going broke.
This is the first installment of The Social Media Marketing challenge. I hope you’ll follow along as we outline how to develop and implement your web presence strategy for business success!
[Photo Credit Flickr: IvanWalsh.com CC License]