Run Over By The Bandwagon

When someone gives you advice about new media, make sure they know what they’re talking about.

Suddenly, everyone is an expert when it comes to marketing on the internet. Whether they’re talking about search or social media or QR codes or mobile devices, the pundits are coming out of the woodwork. They give seminars and write books. They fill their blogs up with advice and recommendations. It’s an exciting time in the world of communication, so I can see why they are getting fired up, but I also see them committing the sin of generalization in their own bid for glory. Many times they are so intent on attracting as many readers or viewers as possible that they brush with strokes that are much too broad.

Here’s what they are missing: not every online marketing tactic works in every situation or for every company. It may seem odd to hear that from a guy who makes a big part of his living dealing with online marketing, but it’s 100 percent true. Every company and every product can benefit from new media, but not all new media benefits every company or product.

I get approached a lot by people who want to discuss Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing, etc., mostly because they know I spend a lot of time working with them. Inevitably they have heard someone say that they “need to be on Facebook” or that they are hopelessly behind if they don’t have a Twitter account. The first thing I talk to them about is usually their target audience. Do they use Facebook? Most people do, but to different degrees. Does Facebook help your grocery store to announce promotions and delivery coupons? Yep. Does Facebook make sense to market your factory that produces galvanized nails? Probably not (however, Google Adwords might be perfect).

This same thing happened a few years ago with blogs. Suddenly, every consultant in the world went on TV and preached about how important it was to have a blog on your web site. Businesspeople – smart businesspeople – jumped on the bandwagon without asking any questions. They started blogging like crazy. Then two months later they started to look for results and didn’t find any. Then they got tired of thinking of new blog topics. Then people who visited their web site noticed that they had a blog called the “Weekly Word” that hadn’t been updated in three months. At that point the blog actually started working against them because it made them look foolish or slow. If only they had heard the whole story about blogs: they need to be interesting, they need to be updated consistently and they are a lot of work to do right. They can help your web site with search engines, but only if you do a good job and stay patient (or hire someone like Anchor to do a good job and stay patient).

Does this mean that Twitter and Yelp and Foursquare are all a waste of time? Just the opposite. They are very, very powerful. But you need to choose the right one and you need to put it to work in the right way. Jump on the bandwagon blindly, and it can be a frustrating ride.

Let me and the rest of the new media experts here at Anchor Marketing help. We’ll find the right tool for the job, then we’ll put it to work building your brand.