This might surprise a lot of you, but not EVERYONE is a social media guru. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth. There are actually more people that fit into the untrained social media sector than you’d think. Some may have never logged onto Facebook (don’t fall out of your chair) or even seen what Twitter looks like (don’t spit up your drink), would not know a LinkedIn page from a hole in the wall and don’t even get me started on their knowledge (or lack thereof) on Google+ .
OK, I am exaggerating a bit with these examples, but I have honestly encountered many clients who have shared with me that they know NOTHING about social media and at this point, they feel they’ve missed the boat. Common excuses I hear: I will never be able to catch up now; I’ve waited too long. I won’t get up to speed so why bother? I have no idea where to even begin.
I am here to tell you this: It’s never too late to engage in social media. Should your organization have already created a social media presence by now? YES, absolutely, but it is still not too late to tackle it now. Social media is not going away. It is only going to grow and evolve faster than we can imagine. Even if you do not use it for personal reasons…and believe it or not, there are many who are very active in social media from a business perspective, but never use it for personal reasons…your business ought to have a presence.
So what do you do first? Where do you start? How do you start? I highly encourage you to dip your toes in the shallow water, rather than diving in the deep end, in an effort to avoid being overwhelmed. There are many options today, so many that it can really seem daunting to do them all at once. Start slow and read as much as you can. Hint: Our social media blog is a great place to gain knowledge. Once you have educated yourself a bit, decide who within your organization will be managing your channels or if you plan to outsource them, how frequently they will be updated, what kind of tone you will use and most importantly what your strategy will be. It’s not too late to give social media a shot. Go ahead – dip your toes in, you won’t be sorry!
Clients will often indicate that their online marketing efforts are in good shape because they have a Search Engine Optimization Strategy in place. Or some will say they‘re all set since they are involved in a Pay per Click program with Google AdWords. Some may actually tell me they don’t need to do either and that all of their business comes from word of mouth.
The best case scenario is to truly cover all of your bases and the only way to do that is by engaging in all components of online marketing. This can be a daunting task, given the fact that there are so many options available today. I’d suggest starting out with baby steps and then broadening your efforts slowly, but surely. Below are just a few of the most commonly utilized forms of online marketing initiatives to take into consideration:
Search Engine Optimization (frequently referred to as SEO)
According to Wikipedia’s definition, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Clients love achieving high organic rankings in the search engines. This is especially true when it comes to Google, which is no surprise considering it holds about 65% of the market share. Remember: organic rankings equate to FREE traffic.
Pay per Click (also known as PPC)
In this platform the advertiser is paying or bidding on keywords based on their specific business or industry, in an effort to have their ad displayed in the sponsored section of the search engine. This section is typically on the very top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as on the right hand side, listed vertically.
Onsite Blog + Blog Postings
In my opinion, having an onsite blog is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. The main reason it ought to be onsite versus offsite is for the SEO benefits your website will gain. Blogs should have fresh and regular content on them, which the search engines love when crawling. You will want to ensure that your blog is updated on a regular basis (minimum of once a week).
Nearly everyone has a Smartphone or iPad these days and more often that not, most are surfing the web via their device. You ought to make sure that you have a simplistic, mobile friendly version of your website that allows for easy navigation.
Social Media Marketing + Strategy
This form of marketing has become increasingly important the last few years and continues to maintain its necessary place within a marketer’s ad budget. Social Media is an excellent medium to reach and engage your consumers and should be utilized to its fullest potential. Just having a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page is not enough, however. You must have a solid strategy in place before diving in.
When driving visitors to a specific landing page of your website, it is important to ensure that the landing page is clean and professional looking, with clear and concise calls to action. You will want to make the most out of the landing page, which is especially true when there is a Pay per Click initiative in place. In other words, why spend advertising dollars to send traffic to a page that does not effectively encourage your visitors to complete some sort of actionable step?
So, what types of steps or action items should your landing page encompass? Below are a few that – in my opinion — every landing page ought to have.
Your landing pages are a very important part of your online marketing mix. Make the most out of them!