There are moments when I’m almost painfully aware of how long I’ve been doing internet marketing (since 1995, if we’re really keeping track).
One of my main reminders is seeing the change in web browsers. In the old days, it was Netscape vs. Internet Explorer, and it was a constant challenge to make websites look good in both browsers. Then along came Firefox, Chrome and others.
As is true in real life, the only thing constant is change, except I’d say this is even more so with how quickly things change on the Internet.
The shift of search engines is another reminder of my time in online marketing. Before Google, website managers had to worry about getting found in a whole myriad of search engines. Google domination has actually made our lives easier!
But then as is often the case with putting all eggs in one basket, when the Google algorithm shifts, the aftershocks are seismic.
This spring, Google has been busy teaching us what they think is important online by changing the rankings (often for the worse) of many websites. The bottom line is this: We in the industry have always known that what you have on your page is dwarfed in importance by who links to you. “Who links to you” used to mean other websites., but now it mostly means social media.
Google understands that a website isn’t the only place online where a brand needs a presence, so exchanges via social media about and with your brand are now more important than ever. You must interact with your customers, which will get you a great reputation and also rankings in Google.
What are the most important places where you need a presence? Our answer, inspired by a Fast Company article on the topic, is nothing new. But you should consider it your checklist in having a strong brand, both for your customers and for Google.
- Have conversations on Facebook. Invite questions, suggest reading, provide links, and curate content. Share content that inspires more followers, and if you aren’t getting more followers, tweak your strategy and repeat what works.
- Share tweets about topics of interest. Notice we didn’t say self-serving announcements. Nobody wants to read over and over how great your brand is. Provide info that is of real use to people, then measure what gets retweeted the most and repeat what is successful.
- Upload videos to Youtube. If people aren’t watching and sharing your videos, then tweak your videos and repeat what is successful. (Remember, Google owns YouTube – reason enough not to leave video out of your strategy.)
- Pin and repin interesting images on Pinterest. Most businesses can communicate better with images than text, which is handy, since as we all know, reading online isn’t exactly pervasive. Pin things that you think will be interest to your customers
- Participate in groups and post company updates on LinkedIn. If a customer sends you a referral, ask them to post it on Linked In. (Send them a link to make it easy for them.) Because company pages are public and now feature status updates, these pages can be useful both for search engines and people.
Branding is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. But the time you put in pays dividends that your event will feel for years to come. Your goal is to be sought after, both online and offline, to share the relevant information you become known for sharing.
So what are you waiting for? Get going!