Have you noticed the war being waged over your website and social media in the branding and marketing arenas? Look over there — the traditional stuff is finally winning again. No, see over there. Cuz the digital folks have screwed things forever. Get your website gleaming. No. Use this new social app. This, that. The language is almost always blue. And the opinions are so fixed and firm. It’s frustrating.
For the most part, the small and medium-sized businesses have no freaking idea which way is the best way. And they just want the straight goods with some decent and honest advice. At a fair price.
First the Non-Negotiables
There is no one size fits all anymore. Yes, most of the traditional, good marketing tenets still apply. Even good communication tenets still apply too. All smart business owners understand most of the foundational elements necessary for success. Foundational things that never change like networking, diligent follow-up, referrals and recommendations, advertising, etc.
Speaking of advertising, there have been some nuances within the industries too. Y’see advertising in newspapers is generally not a good place, but advertising in radio generally is. Advertising socially is a really good idea if you play in the online space, you RELY on ALL your business to come to you via the web and your customers do not need to come to you for repairs or service or merchandise. However, if you offer consulting of pretty much any kind, or hard goods and services, or anything that requires a human eyeball to eyeball contact either in person or on the phone, social advertising will not likely pay off for you.
Technology has also become a foundational thing because it has most assuredly changed the way we think, live and act. Frankly, it is not going anywhere. And whether we like it or not, smart business people everywhere have been forced into a position of adding two new basics to their branding and marketing arsenal. Those two basics are a website and a couple of social sites. And somehow making them co-exist peacefully!
The web or that ‘www thing’ has existed now for almost 30 years. A very long time, no matter how you look at it. And every smart business owner, regardless of whether he/she serves the public (B2C), other businesses (B2B) or even the hybrid industry called gigs and side-gigs that is forming and which I have dubbed B2G knows that if you cannot be found on the web, you do not exist. In other words, any company or individual without a stand-alone website does not exist. Yes, it has now come to this!
The social side of the web is younger and apparently hipper. YouTube is 19 years old; LinkedIn 17; Facebook is 15 years old; Twitter 13; Instagram and Pinterest are about eight and SnapChat is seven. Besides the hot issues of privacy, security, regulation, ad fraud and the LACK of good corporate governance, there is one very significant difference between the website world and the social world.
The Big Difference is Ownership
Customer data. Here I am talking about the names, addresses, traffic and buying patterns as well as the communication footprints. When you own a website, all those excellent data bits belong to you. However, on your social sites, NONE of that data is yours. It belongs to the owners of the social sites.
Content. Yes, all the pics, videos, blog posts, happy messages, short and long stuff, shares, likes, emojis etc. If you upload it all to your website, it all belongs to you. BUT. Once you upload it to the social sites, pretty much all that content belongs to the social sites. (Try scouring the fine print detail to seek out the truth.)
Today versus Tomorrow
The social sites have made a huge name for themselves by offering the world a ‘free with DIY’ mentality. This is incredibly appealing TODAY. What they have effectively built is a system that rents out a customer list and allows anyone to develop and upload content without the usual rights of ownership to that content.
However, what has not yet been adequately addressed is tomorrow’s long term concept of business valuation. Think about this. If you only rent a customer list and you never own even one specific content package, what real asset do you have to sell TOMORROW?
I have been involved in more than 85 transactions specifically related to buying and selling companies. I think the total value of all those transactions was close to one billion dollars. ASSETS are the name of the game. The more assets you have, the higher the valuation you get. All things being equal, the higher the valuation you get, the bigger the cheque you ultimately receive.
Keep An Eye to Your Future State
Upstanding community and corporate citizens set the example by owning and controlling all of its customer data, content, copyrights AND messaging. They never allow other parties to take control of their most precious assets because they understand that it would be a significant degradation of their Brand.
Ultimately, the day will come when you the owner or shareholder wants to sell or transfer your business. On that day, you, the smart business owner will realise on your premium asset value and happily skip all the way to the bank. And, unfortunately, those who built their businesses ‘renting space’ on social sites will have nothing of value to sell. For them, it will be an incredibly dark day of reckoning.
Living in Harmony
Your website is where ALL your goodness lies. Unless design and creativity is your brand of genius, do not ever try to do it yourself. Spend the time and money necessary because frankly, this is your 24/7 salesperson, your identity, your permanent place card and your fixed reference point. Keep it well organised. Put all your long-form content, your resource material, your videos, your humblebrags, and your history here. Your website could very well be one of the most valuable assets you have. Give it a refresh every few years.
Your social sites are for short bursts of attention and for all roads leading BACK to your website. Nothing on your social sites will ever hold your audience’s attention longer than a few hours – if you are lucky. So, unless you have your own private group, keep everything social — very short. Forget building major content anywhere except on your website. And always, always, always ensure your social focus is about driving traffic back to your beautiful, amazing and easy to use website.
Because, on your website, you want to try to collect as many visitor names as possible. That is where and how you grow your customer email list. By offering value, value, value. Oops — another topic for another day!
If you would like to chat about other ideas to maximize even MORE from your Brand and your Marketing, reach out and call. A second opinion has been known to simultaneously save and generate thousands to the bottom line.