In the world of online marketing, awareness of the possible routes to take and those paths already traveled is key. As your company broadens its options for online marketing, you will more than likely find a tactic that works well for you, in addition to discovering what does not.
Keeping up with what’s going on in promoting your industry means you don’t fall behind. Keeping ahead means you make the competition look like they’re falling behind. By smartly scanning the trends in the digital marketing world and understanding your business’ place within them, you can optimize your efforts and make sure you stay ahead of the curve. Here are some tips and goals to aim for that we think will help you in the current online marketing atmosphere.
Find Someone to Experiment
Keeping ahead doesn’t mean adopting every Loopt, NimBuzz, Plurk or WhosHere that comes down the wire, but it does mean being aware of them. If you don’t have the time to look at every social media outlet, app or tool, find that one person who does. Having someone in your workplace who knows about the next and future Instagram, Pinterest, or Quora as they emerge into public consciousness can be extremely useful. Here’s why: sometimes you find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow before everyone else shows up, making you a very lucky company.
Build a Video Content Library
You may have hoped video would go away so you wouldn’t have to deal with it. It hasn’t and you do. It’s a trend projected to outpace everything else online. The fact that video can be useful is not news. It’s still true that video engages like nothing else online. What’s making video production more viable is the technology shaping itself around this fact.
Look at your phone. (It’s not like you don’t 50 times a day already.) But look at it now. Your phone records video, but have you considered it could be the start to your company’s video production division?
Go ahead, find an impromptu backdrop, an evenly lit room, hit record and give your 60-second elevator pitch for why you believe your company is the best in the world. Ad-lib or write a quick 30-second script about why any potential customers would love life even more if they hired you or bought your product. Now imagine one specific customer with questions for your company. Record the answers. Think of something you’re thankful for in your company and hit that record button again. You’ve got a 20-second Thanksgiving message.
That’s three basic ideas right there, and boom: you now have the start to a video library. You have content that only serves to further communicate your company’s primary mission. You may want to improve production values and your presentation slightly as you go along but you essentially have what you need in your hands. It’s now possible to do simple video editing on your phone or personal computer and send it to the masses through free outlets like WordPress, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and other phone apps.
One important note: When possible, provide a transcript for your video. It’s often overlooked, but when your viewer is on a mobile device and stuck in a bad reception area, or in a place where audio would be an annoyance, they can still read what you have to say. It’s easier to quote from, in addition to providing an optimal home for your SEO keywords.
Know Your Tools, Grow Your Social Media Presence
Social media is popular now, because it seems so simple. People use it, daily, with glee; therefore it is popular – and exceedingly useful – for online marketing and content. In just a few years it has become the best way for online communication with the world, even in your own niche community.
What makes new social media tools viable to you is discovering how your business can utilize each medium to further your marketing efforts.
There are many facets to how the social media sphere, collectively, can deliver content for individuals and companies alike. New angles to how it can be used appear constantly. What makes a new social media tool get attention these days is how it might tweak a current model. It’s hard to come up with a completely new idea nowadays, but most online and mobile tools have users who think to themselves: “If only this tool did this, it would help me more.” Companies who voice their needs and developers who address those needs become the avant-garde forerunners for innovation and herald in the next big thing.
This mobile app and site is astounding for amateur photography presentation online, but earlier on it wasn’t strong on connecting those pictures with others. If they hadn’t listened to their early users and integrated that ability deeper into the structure, something else, like the more robust Snapseed mobile app, would have taken its place pretty quickly.
People like playing with their tools. They like companies who come to them on these tools, rather than having to go searching. If your company and employees can show their creativity through Instagram, then weaving in photos of new products or company announcements – such as a caption and photo of your company’s award wall – becomes a natural extension of its use.
The company just tweaked its apps and website interface to go beyond the 140 characters. Longer snippets of news articles or your company’s blog posts can now be read on Twitter. In the same way Instagram can handle images, Twitter can now show bigger pictures and play video through all its channels.
Your business profile page now has the ability to add a larger header image. This is another clear opportunity to expand your branding while bringing it to the forefront of your profile page. The headers are more useful than the Twitter backgrounds, which didn’t show up on mobile devices and were always … well, in the background.
Users can now also set specific notifications for different kinds of tweets making it much easier to follow entire conversations. If you’re using Twitter as a customer service tool (and fundamentally, it always has had this function in some way for a company) then being able to track your discussions with people – and show that attention in real time, is valuable. Not being able to follow a conversation was always something detractors could point to as a weakness compared to Facebook and other social media sites.
Google+ Enriched Ads
Google+ itself has never quite caught on with the masses, yet it’s never quite gone away. In September, Google+ claimed 400 million total users and 100 million active users, or about a ninth of Facebook’s active users. Others claim less interaction. Still, Google continues to make it easier to integrate both selling and promoting for businesses.
Google’s socially enriched ads work by appearing on sites with Google Ad Words advertising and noting if people in your circle have recommended or used them. Facebook does that, but mostly only within Facebook itself. Your business needs a Google+ profile to take advantage of this and to take advantage of Google Shopping to sell products. Doing so helps those products appear higher in Google searches, in an immediate way. When you search for something on Google, the results will first present companies or products recommended by your friends.
Since Google is by far the most useful and trafficked search engine, there’s strong potential for this to have an impact in 2013 and something to think about if you are a business not currently in the Google+ realm.
Yes, even MySpace. Expect to hear that phrase approximately a bajillion times in the coming weeks. This cautionary example about how even a king can be taken down from his throne has a new look launching very soon. It may be hard to believe, but with its elements of Pinterest’s visual presentation and Facebook’s personalization, it looks to be useful for businesses to present an in-depth personality with an uncluttered approach. This is something even at its peak, the old MySpace never had.
If you’re using tools that competitors are not and these tools also improve your business, you have an edge. If people are hearing about your company and what it offers in new ways, you’re succeeding.
Deepen Your Community Involvement
Everything you do as a company in the areas where you have your business raises your profile. It’s the same in your online community. Everything you do will go toward one of the most important trends in online marketing – quality. Google’s Panda and Penguin changes were made for exactly this reason – to try and raise the quality of content and information online. Rather than just dropping a long list of keywords in a post, advertisers are rewarded for promoting knowledge.
“Everything you do” means everything from helping a charity to creating events for your neighborhood block or business building. Being a leader or a team builder always reflects well on your company. It’s also important because while everyone has fun and participates in the events you coordinate, you also document everything that happens by creating a new marketing video, blog posts and other outreach that shows your company in a positive light.
As the flood of information seems to overwhelm, people need anchors to hang onto. If they know you can be their rock for not only something interesting but knowledgeable, too, they’ll want to come back to you.
Always Take the Higher Road
As you learn more about the latest web traffic analyzing tool, page authority, or what Facebook has changed this week, it’s often easier to find out the wrong way to use it. Finding the right and best ways can take some effort.
This is where peer pressure can steer you in the right direction. Be aware of how others in your industry are promoting themselves. It might be tempting to put keywords in your source code or scrape content from others or do something else that smells foul. But if you walk down that road, you’re essentially telling people you don’t have the expertise in your company – or in any consultants you hire – to get it done the right way.
Many trends come and go, but some of them become a part of the everyday fabric of online marketing. Taking steps – or a leap (however you’re inclined) – to improve your visibility online is one of the smartest efforts your company can make.
Yes, there are a lot of moving parts to managing your online presence but both companies and people constantly look for new ways to be engaged with each other, with a company’s culture, with specific products. Keeping ahead of the curve means while others wrestle to understand the basics of the latest trend or tool, you can stay cool, calm and collect the revenue as it floods in.