Often times people come to me to design their website, thinking they merely need to have an online “brochure”, a way to have individuals find their address or phone number once they have their business card in hand.
This, my friend, is shortsighted and unacknowledging of the power of having an online presence. Yes, it is true that when you meet people who may want to work with you, or if you are applying for jobs, they will look you up and it is oh so much better to have created a thoughtful online portrayal of who you are and how you want to be perceived.
But this one-on-one approach is old school, exhausting, limiting, and not necessary when we can reach out and create online relationships that can bring a lot more awareness to you, your business, your writing, or your event, than was ever possible before social media.
Sometimes I feel like such an evangelist, but it pains me to see people with wonderful ideas withering in obscurity. The plain truth is, if you want to be a known name in your field you have to get your word out to a base of people who want what YOU have and are willing to pay for it.
The problem is that this does not happen automatically. I created a website for a new business several weeks ago and laid out how the process works with the website being the hub of your marketing efforts and blogging and social media helping get search engines and people coming to your site. The owner said that since they are just starting out and have a lot on their plate, they are not ready to blog or get into social media quite yet.
However, two weeks later, she sent me an email and asked why their keyword phrase wasn’t coming up in a Google search. I told her the bad news, that 372,000 others in Atlanta are trying to come up for those few coveted spots on the front page for that same search term.
Without creating blog posts on specific topics helpful to her readers that mention her keywords, and without starting relationships with her target audience on Twitter, they are destined to find customers the old-fashioned way; calling on their prospects, one at a time out in the world, with a lot of face-to-face marketing. If that isn’t time-consuming ,I don’t know what is. I am not saying that you don’t need to call on people, because you do, but it is so much easier to have people find you online. Then, meeting them in real life is cake.
Okay I will get off the soapbox now. I know that there is a lot of information and it can be very overwhelming to start using social media from scratch, especially for those who value privacy. However as another client of mine, who is a writer and started a site to showcase her writing for an upcoming book release said, “Oh I get it. I want to have a following so they will buy my book, and now I see that a following is made up of all these individual social media followers.” Now this may sound simple, but for her it was profound and she is now happy to have Twitter followers. It has to start somewhere. I promise, as they say in AA, it works if you work it.