It’s been the season of outstanding webinars the past few weeks and yesterday’s chat on How To Take Your Brand Online was no exception. The incredible minds of Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott, Guy Kawasaki and John Jantsch were brought together on one virtual stage to give small businesses tips on how to use the Web to grow their brand and their business.
Here’s a bit of what attendees were privy to in cause you weren’t able to make it.
Learn the New Rules of Marketing
One mistake small businesses make when they take their business online is that they try to play by old, offline rules. The social Web has really changed the rules for marketing. David noted that in the olden days, you’d have to contact the media and ask them to cover your business or event. Now, the media is tuning in and following what you’re doing so that they can reach out to you for a story. It’s a cultural shift that business owners need to be aware of. It’s less about asking for attention and more about demanding it.
Guy called life “very good” for marketers right now because it’s about finding how much you can do for free. The blinders have been taken off everyone eyes and everything is wide open.
Chris was quick to note that while the tools are free, the strategy needed to run them is not. Small business owners can’t simply jump in because the cost to entry is low. You have to build a strategy first. Otherwise it’s like walking into a print shop and saying, “I want to market my company!” Just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you know how to put them all together. That’s the challenge.
Create Content That Will Get Noticed
We all want to create good content that will get the attention of our customers and make the media big dogs take notice, but how do you do that? How do you get the New York Times to write about you? David says that if you’re creating interesting things, the media will find you. His biggest media hits over the past year have always come from journalists reaching out to him in regards to a blog post or book he’s written. Guy agreed, noting that the new way to get media attention is to create buzz with your customers. If you get people excited and talking about you, then the media is going to want to know what’s going on. And they’re going to contact you for a story.
If you are pitching to investors or media connections, personalize it. Chris is a fan of charities and he likes companies that make it easy for people to donate. You’re more likely to get his attention if you pitch him a human interest story. Guy likes stuff about venture capitalists. Everyone has their niche. Do your research and know who you’re pitching.
Find the Social Media Platforms That Work For You
When asked if every small business should have a blog, the panelists agreed the answer was no. You should do what makes sense for company. David also cautioned SMB owners from blindly hopping on the Twitter bandwagon. You don’t have to be everywhere. It’s better to have a handful of meaningful presences online than a bunch of half-empty conversations.
As a small business owner, you need to understand the people you’re trying to reach. Too many small businesses don’t do that. They use their jargon instead of the words and phrases that their customers are using. If you want to understand your audience, poll 15 people on how they would search for a house remodel. What terms do they use? How would they search for it? That’s the kind of understanding that helps you learn what your customer wants and where you should be hanging out online.
Know what sites your customers are naturally hanging out on and then use social media to humanize your brand and as an outreach tool. That’s how you build your online brand and your business.
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