Although there is still value in traditional advertising methods, the Internet is changing the way companies market themselves. Websites have their own domain, but social media is ruling lives and controlling perception. Standing out in this arena is much more than paying for ads and posting pictures to Facebook: being a part of Internet culture and joining trends makes your company remarkable. The most important thing to know about advertising on social media is that people are there to have fun and they respect a company that can join in the digital festivities.
To take social media marketing seriously, it’s vital that every team has an experienced user that regularly monitors a variety of platforms for emerging trends. Internet culture is a fast moving, continually evolving, sphere and it respects original content creators that understand the current in-jokes and discussion topics. It is not always easy to navigate, though, and there are pages on the internet dedicated to making fun of companies that unsuccessfully attempt to broach social media sites for purely commercial purposes without providing anything interesting or entertaining.
Almost everyone has heard of a “meme” and seen the funny image macros floating around the web. However, few people understand the deeper connotations involved. A popular meme is often just an oft repeated line of text that can be applied to varied situations or discussions. A hashtag can also be considered a meme of sorts when used cleverly, ironically, or satirically instead of purely descriptively, categorically, or promotionally.
What’s more, the colloquial definitions of these concepts can change radically over time, allowing more diverse interpretations and usage depending on timing. Observing these quick progressions and being able to react and engage the online audience in real-time allows your brand to reach maximum exposure. Furthermore, generating shareable content in response to current events and trends is an easy path to organic word-of-mouth exposure.
A modern marketing strategy has to include the flexibility required to use social media. Subtly incorporating overall branding messages into popular conversations requires a blend of traditional techniques and innovative approaches. It is also a hit-or-miss game involving persistence and becoming a part of the community: the Internet knows when it’s being advertised at.
One way to really connect and be personable is to conduct a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) where a spokesperson or representative spends or hour or more answering direct questions on Reddit’s dedicated page. While providing a chance to discuss current initiatives, it is also a platform to create humor as well as answer odd questions about the company or industry that may otherwise never come up. Many major celebrities and companies, including President Obama and astronauts then currently in space, have participated.
Netizens also love to learn. Providing educational opportunities sets your brand up as a thought leader and committed member of the international dialogue on any number of subjects. Responding to questions on Facebook and Twitter is a good start. Posting original infographics that do more than simply promote your company goes a bit further. Participating in online forums that actually explore complex topics and conduct their own ad hoc research for purely academic purposes makes your company’s brand valuable.
If you’re looking to take social media marketing seriously, give me a call or text at 847-363-5286 and I will consult with your business to get you on the right track.
I am not an economist. I’ve taken some basic business classes, played around on the stock exchange, and sit on an elected board overseeing a multi-million dollar budget, but I’m certainly not an expert in the financial sector or global market. However, I think people a lot less qualified than me have stood up and weighed in their opinions so, fuck it.
Everything is your fault.
Corporations rule everything because we are dependent on them. They have recklessly crashed our economy because it’s not objectively bad for business. I think most people realize that big business always stands to profit from bad conditions and makes far more money off of the poor and down-trodden than it does from the dwindling middle-class. Even still, much of this dependency is propaganda driven. People don’t know their options, and they’re constantly bombarded with conflicting information that’s truly only trying to sell them one thing or another. Guided like the cattle we know we are, of course we make the choices that lead us to support the six corporations that secretly rule the world.
But we can change. The Internet is putting more and more control of our economy into our hands. But we, as individual people, have to choose to support small local businesses. They’re often more expensive while being less convenient, less prepared, and less flashy, but the alternative is just handing the keys to the national water reserves over to Nestle and then buying it back at retail price, one bottle at a time. Everyone knows that buying local keeps more money in the local economy, giving more money to the local schools, libraries, and park districts. They know it employs local people, and that local production typically means less transportation costs which means less greenhouse gasses. Most people even know that you can often find really awesome, unique, and high-quality stuff when you explore your lesser known options instead of just getting whatever’s at the supermarket.
What people don’t know, though, is how easy and rewarding it is to be your own business. A lot of people balk at the expression “find a job doing something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” They interpret it to mean just get your dream job and make tons of money and live the American dream, but it’s not that simple unless you live in a comic book. For most people, a small business can start as a side job doing something maybe even only ancillary to your actual passion or hobby. For example, if you’re really into comic books and have many framed around your home or properly preserved and stored, maybe it just so happens you can help people frame or properly preserve a whole number of items, documents, and photographs. You could start small, helping some friends and family decorate their homes, maybe offer your services at the local flea market, soon you could open up a comic book themed frame shop that showcases your favorite issues but caters to a wide array of framing related clientele.
The point I’m trying to make is that there are ways to make money doing what you love if you widen the parameters a bit. Utilizing the Internet, you can use social media, online storefronts, cryptocurrency, and international customers to grow your business bigger than a niche business ever could be before. What’s more, you can attend local networking groups for other small business owners to discuss strategies and exchange goods or services. Even if you never make a profit, why not offer your skills up for trade with your friends and neighbors? Sure, there’s a certain stigma about people with horrible business ideas that try to take advantage of their loved ones, but those are usually pyramid schemes and if *everyone* was a business, there would be a lot less of that going on. How cool would it be to live in a society where we get back to that primal communal sense of togetherness and sharing while also taking advantage of the digital age? While the Internet is known for bridging the gap across magnificent distances, it’s also been known to bring neighbors together who otherwise never would have connected.
The Internet is still an emerging thing. It’s my dream that as it catches on, it will be used to network more and more people who otherwise would have just used whatever the biggest, most advertised, most popular brand name company is for their next purchase. It’s a cyclical thing, though, because as the concept gets more popular, more people will be able to make a profit using it, so more stuff will be available, so more people will use it, and so on and so on. Soon, you’ll get your laundry detergent from Debbie down the street, your eggs from a coop downtown, all of your paper products from a small lumber mill two towns over, and an app on your phone will manage it all and keep it as convenient as it possibly can be. But in the meantime, it’s a bit of a struggle.
If you’re interested in actually starting a business but have no idea how to get started, holla at me and we’ll rap about your options.