This might be the inner/outer nerd in me talking, but we’re getting really close to that time in Star Trek when people stopped being that way that we are now, and started trying to better themselves. Re: Captain Pickard Star Trek Insurrection. Getting close but not there yet, however, the Internet is that sliver of Star Trek that we have now, and it is all about sharing. Yes, there are trolls out there, and yes it is a scary place sometime, but at its core, it has made the sharing of information and the progression of ideas accelerated way beyond where I thought we would be right now. Why bring up this topic on Startup City you might ask? What does this have to do with your business and marketing? Well, if you are starting up a company in the digital age, chances are capital is low, and you are looking for cheap and effective ways of getting your company out there to customers, and they Internet is your way of doing that. And, the best way to use the Internet, is to not think how can I use this medium, but how can I add to it in a way that will be helpful and useful to my audience. It is worth mentioning in the introduction to this series, because most Internet campaigns that don’t have sharing in their DNA, end up coming across as SPAM, and that’s the last Star Trek reference in this series…maybe…no promises…Pickard over Kirk.
Make content worth sharing
The best content on the Internet is the content that folks share on their own, and generally is in proportion to its usefulness. If you make content that is genuinely worth sharing, and adds to the Internet, people will share it. Take a moment and look at your marketing ideas, or something that you do well in your business; is there anything that stands out, that isn’t proprietary, but might help someone out, somewhere out in the world? Well, that is content worth exploring as you consider what content to produce for your Internet marketing strategy.
Avoid fake opportunities
This should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyways: if something is too good to be true, then it probably, most certainly is. Nothing gets the Internet mad then when you try to trick it or game the system, and when I say the Internet, I’m mean Google and Bing and Yahoo, and also people. Eventually, all tricks get caught, and you don’t want your company associated with that, or worse, get your name blacklisted. Instead, pursue real opportunities like gaps in the search queries. If you search for something, and don’t find what you see, and then go out and find a solution outside of the Internet, come back to the Internet, and add it, either through your personal blog, or your website, and others will thank you. Fake opportunities are fool’s gold, and I wouldn’t waste my time on them.
Be positive and professional in all communication
Assume that all your customers are the most Internet savvy Sherlock Holmes you have ever met and that if you put something out there, it’s going to be found by them. In general, all of your business communication needs to be positive and professional. That’s not to say that you can’t be funny as well. You can be funny and professional, but when in doubt lean towards professional. You will always be happier in the long run.
You can’t be everywhere
There are so many options of where to be on the Internet, especially when it comes to social media marketing. With so many options, it’s tempting to just start a new channel whenever a new social media site pops up, but it’s not really being targeted, and when you’re not being targeted, you’re not being effective. You can’t be everywhere, but you also don’t have to be. Think about where your story fits best, and where your customers on the Internet are, and go there. Try to limit yourself to where you can participate in the conversations consistently and with some authority, and build from there. Once you gain a strong presence in one location, you can always build from there and refine further.
Listen first, next, and always
Listening on the Internet can take on many faces, but essentially it breaks down to a few concerns. Listening can mean reading first when you visit forums, and make sure that you understand the conversation before engaging others. Listening can also mean reading comments left by your audience, and responding and adding to the conversation. Listening can take on many forms, and my favorite, is through analytics. Listening to numbers is some of the best listening you can do, because they let you know how well you are targeting your goals, and will give you direct feedback on how well your Internet marketing campaign is going. Lastly, listen to what is trending. If people aren’t searching for it, or not responding to it, then it is probably a sign from the Internet that you need to change it or drop it entirely.
A simple approach
A simple approach to marketing on the Internet is to start out with the following mix: engage your customers through a website or blog, and let them know a little information about your company. Sign-up for a social media channels and try to limit yourself to two to start, just while you get your feet wet. After you have your website up and running with the most critical information about your company, consider creating a homepage video and tell your story. Lastly, join a forum, or a Linkedin group, and genuinely contribute to the conversation, and try to be as helpful as possible.
Thanks for reading/watching this series. We are posting new ideas here every week so come back and check us out, and as always, if you like what you see, then like us or share it forward, and we’ll see you next time!