For most, the Internet is an intimidating place. Two decades ago, our day-to-day lives were run completely different because the Internet had not yet transformed into what it would soon become. In the early 2000’s, email drip campaigns seemed unorthodox and revolutionary. Today, businesses small and large are scrambling to create an online presence and the juggling of various platforms can seem overwhelming. The creation of the Internet has caused a drastic shift on a macro-level that has not been seen since the Industrial Revolution. The businesses who not only survive it, but make it out on top, will be the ones that adapt accordingly.
Despite how intimidating that might all sound, the good news is that it’s not too late to start building your online presence. In addition to that, it’s a lot easier than it seems.
Whether you are the owner of a business, a real estate broker, a landscaper or even a candle shop owner; the profession doesn’t matter. The key to success in the new age of technology and social media is growing a personal brand online where connections, clients and deals will funnel in through that. In the past, marketing a business and managing client relationships was run completely different, and it worked. But now, the Internet is completely re-shaping the way clients and businesses find one another and maintain those working relationships. Adopting new technology and new social media strategies for your business is no longer based on personal preference, it is vital.
For over a century, taxis were untouchable. Then came Uber. Don’t be the ‘taxi’ of your industry. Be the business that accepts that social media is here to stay and run with it to the finish line.
Now that the fluff is all out of the way, let’s get to the real content. Which is what strategies to use and how and when to use them. No matter what industry you are in or what level you currently reside at, these strategies will remain true over time and across all platforms.
Strategy #1: In Order to Go Big, Go Small First
As the Internet has grown, so has the diversity of content. So much so, that there are people who have created full-time jobs online discussing Game of Thrones episodes or blogging about their favorite types of beer and have amassed thousands of loyal followers worldwide. Very specific, niche-type content is the way to get your foot in the door of the highly-saturated online realm and build a name for your business. For example, if you are a realtor in San Diego that mainly sells homes in Ocean Beach, create a blog titled ‘The Ocean Beach Realtor’ and create posts each week about eating at local restaurants or checking out the local family-owned businesses. Write about each home you sell and how it fits into the Ocean Beach neighborhood. Start sharing your blog posts into community Facebook groups and post pictures on to an Instagram account. Tag the local businesses you write about and encourage them to share your posts across their platforms, as well. Grab a hold of that corner of the market before someone else does and become the face of Ocean Beach real estate. This applies to various professions. Work as an accountant? Create a video series on YouTube called ‘The Money Translator’ and every video share an accounting tip or mistake to avoid. Keep it simple and get specific.
Strategy #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal
When building a brand online, it’s easy to get caught up in following the cookie cutter formula that every other business in your industry is following. But consumers can sense when a brand seems inauthentic or robotic online. Not only will consumers overlook your content once they sense ingenuity, but they will full on reject it. With the rise of the Internet, came the rise of options. If your company publishes an unoriginal piece of content, the consumer can easily find new content elsewhere. An easy way to combat this commonly made mistake is to get personal. This doesn’t mean you have to discuss politics or other highly polarizing topics, if anything that should be avoided. But what ‘get personal’ means is post about the behind-the-scenes daily life of your business. A family looking to buy a home in San Diego is much more likely to go with David, the local agent that on his down time is training for a marathon this summer and has a really cute Boston-Terrier, than a realtor that looks like a carbon-copy image of the thousands of other realtors in the San Diego area and produces the same type of content over and over again. Humanize your business and the people behind it. You can keep a professional image while simultaneously bringing your audience along with you on your journey. Telling the stories behind your brand is what will spark audience curiosity short-term and foster brand loyalty long-term.
Strategy #3: Follow the 80/20 Rule
This rule piggybacks off of the last rule. The ‘80/20’ rule in marketing essentially means that 80% of your content should simply be sharing, with no requests or incentives tied into it. The other 20% is where you can ask your audience for something or give them a call to action. A brand that asks their audience to buy a product in every post will come off as desperate or spammy. The 80/20 rule is set in place to avoid that common mistake made by brands. Post about how pretty the view is from the office that day, or about how proud you are of your team that week, or about the bird that just laid eggs in the nest outside your office window. The possibilities are really endless. Give your audience fun and engaging content so that when you do have to go in for the ‘ask’ it won’t come off as overdone.
While online marketing can seem like an intimidating feat, which it is for most people, it is easy once you break it down into strategies. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, just post authentically and consistently. These strategies apply to all professions and all businesses. Moving forward, it is no longer a luxury to have an online platform for your business but rather a necessity.