This is a guest blog post by Dave Clarke, an award-winning editor and editorial director in the marketing departments of Fortune 500 companies, such as Oracle and Symantec. He is currently editorial director for Hologram Publishing, a provider of custom content for companies, large and small.
Making the transformation to inbound marketing, one tweet, one post, one search result at a time.
“The only constant is change,” author Isaac Asimov said. “Continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” Inbound marketing—using search engine optimization, social media, and capturing and nurturing the leads you’ll generate online—is where you need to be because, whether you’re there or not, that’s where everyone else already is.
There is no newspaper, magazine, radio station or television program where 600 million people go—often for hours upon hours—every day. There is only Facebook, where one 1 out of every 8 minutes online, some 12.5 percent is spent. Of those 600 million people, 64 percent have become “fans” of at least one company .
About 111 million people watched the Super Bowl this year. For one day. There are an average 140 million tweets sent every day, 1 billion tweets every week .
It won’t be easy (but it doesn’t have to be hard). It won’t be painless, change never is. But it is necessary and, done right, it will be worthwhile. Studies show that companies identified as social media customer leaders are 250 percent more likely to grow their businesses 25 percent or more than those who lag behind. Companies that blog get 55 percent more Web traffic than those whose websites sit idly by waiting to be found.
Follow these tips to transforming your business and getting started in social media:
Take Baby Steps
Like any productive relationship, your company’s relationship with social media is serious, complex, and meant to be long-lasting. Start small, learn from your mistakes and grow organically.
Ask Questions That Can Be Answered
“Should we highlight our flexible production schedules or should we emphasize our competitive pricing?” Structure queries that will give you a clear direction, then, create and test a hypothesis before rolling out the program to the entire marketplace.
Don’t Be Mad Men
This is not 1963 and social media is not about advertising. Social media is about connecting with your customers and building a long-term relationship with them online. It’s about reaching out and inviting your customers to share in your brand and having them invite you into their lives.
It’s Social Media, Not Reconstructive Surgery
If your brand isn’t solid, if your value proposition isn’t solid, all the tweeting and sharing in the world isn’t going to help you. In fact, social media is much more transparent than anything you’ve done before, every flaw and wrinkle in your brand will be magnified if you don’t manage the transformation and what comes after it properly.
It’s All About Relevance, Resonance and Significance
As Brian Solis, author of “ Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web ” explains, social media doesn’t work like, and isn’t measured the way traditional advertising works. It’s not about impressions and reach. It’s about how relevant your marketing is, how much it resonates with your customers and how significant they believe it is so they will act on, and interact with, your marketing. Solis says, the acronym KISS still applies, but with inbound marketing its meaning has shifted from Keep It Simple Stupid, to Keep It Significant and Shareable.
If You’re Reading This…
You might think you’re too old for this stuff. You might think you don’t have time for tweeting, posting, blogging and optimizing your search engine results. You might as well start planning your liquidation sale. There is no denying this seismic shift in the way marketing is done.
Some 57 percent of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog, 42 percent have picked up customers via Twitter.
In India, archaelogists have discovered paintings on rocks—a bit of (very) old-fashioned marketing—dating back 4,000 years. You could paint your manufacturing messaging on some boulders, but by now, even the most technology-averse marketers must admit: The writing is on the wall, the old way of doing business, of marketing, is not sustainable.