May 3, 2011
Last week I joined Nick and Sarah as the newest addition to the Big Daylight team. Yes, you read that correctly. There are now *two* Nicks in the Big Daylight office – and yes, it has already led to some minor episodes of confusion. That’s okay, though. It’s all part of the fun and I’m sure we’ll come up with a creative way to avoid future mix-ups.
Among the many opportunities I’ll have in this new role is to write about the world of online marketing right here at the Daylight Blog. To get things started, I thought I’d introduce myself and touch on a few of the topics we’ll be exploring.
Like many in the online marketing field, I come from a background in marketing and public relations. Early in my career, businesses were discovering the power of the Web as a marketing tool and “traditional” media such as print and radio began to take a backseat to the immediacy and convenience of online media among consumers. As a marketer I learned as much as I could about websites and email marketing, arguably the two most prominent tools at the time. My research eventually led me to paid search and search engine optimization (SEO).
It didn’t take long before I was hooked. I’ve had many friends, family and colleagues chuckle at the notion of SEO being ‘fun,’ but I truly do love it. It’s technical and requires thought and creativity – plus, the process of researching factors and deploying a multitude of tactics in order to improve the ranking of a given domain or page does have a certain competitive nature to it. If you’ve done work in SEO, you understand the feeling of satisfaction that comes with seeing your site rank for a particularly competitive keyword or phrase – especially if it’s ahead of your competitors.
In recent years, social media has found its way into the marketing mix. What started as a method for connecting with friends and a fun outlet for personal expression – especially videos and photography, has grown into a vital component in my approach to marketing companies and organizations. Getting brands involved in ‘the conversation’ is certainly a challenge that takes research and planning, but it’s also a lot of fun.
I’m often asked, “How can I make social media work for my business? I have a Facebook page and nothing’s happening.” My response varies according to the organization, of course, but here are a few basics: My first recommendation is always to make sure you understand your audience. Put yourself in their shoes and share content that they will find interesting. Engage your audience and give them a reason to participate. If they’re entertained and/or come away with information they can use, they’ll be more likely to return.
Prior to joining Big Daylight, I served as Digital Marketing Manager at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa, a four-season resort just west of Traverse City here in northern Michigan. The availability of skiing, golf and dozens of other outdoor activities provided plenty of opportunities for interesting content to share with our fans/followers. We found that users were quick to interact when we posted photos or videos of beautiful scenery or guests at the resort having fun. It seems natural, but these users initially came to Crystal Mountain’s social media channels looking for that type of content.
So what if your business doesn’t have skiing or a water playground? How do you keep your audience engaged? Once again, the answer goes back to the user. What are they interested in? They’ve chosen to connect with you and your brand, now it’s up to you to encourage them to interact with you.
Let’s say you work for a chain of tire stores. Posting photos of stacks of tires in the showroom probably isn’t the answer. A post from one of your techs about new valve stems might be relevant, but will it spur your users to ‘like’ the content or ‘re-tweet’ it to their followers?
What if you had a customer come in one day to buy new tires for his classic 1970 Chevelle? Take a photo of the customer with his car and share it with your audience. Or take it a step further – have a classic car day and create a photo gallery with the proud owners showing off their classic rides. Blog about the connection that owners have with these vehicles, including quotes from the owners themselves, if possible, and how your product is an important part of maintaining the cars’ performance.
Suddenly you have content that is fun, entertaining AND useful. Not only will existing users be more likely to interact with your Facebook page, blog, Twitter account, etc., but many will likely share your content with other users, increasing your visibility and [hopefully] attracting new followers.
There are plenty of examples of effective uses of all of the topics mentioned above – among others, and I’m looking forward to discussing them here. Speaking of discussion, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments if you have thoughts to add to the ideas above or if you have a specific topic you’d like to hear more about. You can also continue the discussion with us on Twitter or Facebook.