My latest Inc Technology columnn is up. It’s about setting priorities in your online activity.
My guest expert in this latest column is Geoff Karcher, CEO of The Karcher Group, a Web development firm that adopts an integrated approach to Web design and search engine optimization or SEO, as it is called. Geoff advocates (1) having a Web strategy, and (2) using your limited time and resources wisely — rather than jumping on the social media bandwagon without thinking your goals through first:
Karcher: With any online search strategy, you have to keep your eye on the ball. It’s not about traffic. It’s about conversions and sales. Ask yourself: Are the people who visit a typical small business website from a Digg link or who visit a business MySpace page likely to become customers? If so, then it could be a winning strategy for your company. But if you think the person who arrives from Digg is not likely to ever visit again, take a long hard look at why you are devoting time and energy to Digg. Since most small businesses have limited resources, you may find your limited time and money can be better spent elsewhere.
He goes on to identify what he calls the four fundamentals of online visibility and marketing for small businesses. He suggests focusing on the fundamentals first.
Sage advice, I think. Read: Can Digg and MySpace Be for Business?
Small business owners often get excited about sites like MySpace and the opportunity to draw and retain lots of visitors… but you’re right that the key here is really targeting your audience. The article gives the example of a music artist successfully promoting him/herself on MySpace, which was designed for musicians to broadcast their work in the first place.
A business targeting an older, perhaps more serious demographic probably isn’t likely to experience the same levels of success.
It’s all about picking the right venue for your business, rather than just giving into the hype of social networking sites.
I believe that any business whether it be profit or non-profit can take advantage of social media. I agree with Mila in which the key being that you must match your audience and know your customer well enough to take advantage of these mediums. Its great to have a MySpace page or a blog for your business, but does it really mesh with your audience and business plan. Be transparent as possible, give your audience the right tools to evangelize for you and be willing to come out of your comfort zone with these new forms of technology. Those that do will be the ones that win in the long run.
I currently blog about e-marketing, social media, PR, web design and how it can affect your small business on http://www.onehalfamazing.com.