Before you answer that question, you first have to understand the basic views on what the internet is to many people out there on the World Wide Web. The internet has become a lot of things to a lot of people, such as entertainment, sharing, connecting, selling a product, or even sharing a photo to a family member. To many companies, it has become a store front instead of just a brick and mortar. Oddly enough, the internet has become a way of life for many people. It’s become attached to them so strongly, that they feel naked without it. They feel like they are missing out. Quite honestly, if you don’t know what is going on with the internet, you kind of are. When you catch the 6 o’clock news, it is still very informative for the local market, but the world–it’s voice is much larger. It’s reach is much larger, and that is how the internet is able to allow people to feel connected, and to get that quick information.
Along with finding out what is going on out there in the world, the internet has become a loud speaker for a lot of people to let their friends and family members know what they like, what kind of food they eat, or what kind of church they go to and what they are doing right then at that second. That is where social media has played a big part. It is amazing how what you are doing is important to them, as if they don’t have enough time on their hands to do what they need to do. It’s funny, but it’s the truth. Most people would like to spend a lot of time on websites like Facebook or YouTube to see what other people are doing to get their entertainment, their news, or to connect with other people. Just sit back and think about it–you have to think about what other companies are doing. Take Redbox for example, Redbox has played a big part in the major downsizing of Blockbuster, a company that you were able to rent DVDs from by just going in, starting an account, picking your movies, taking them home, and then bringing them back when you are done. There were sometimes that you had to pay a start-up fee for a membership. Now, you can just walk up to a Redbox, swipe your credit card, and it charges $1 per day, and you’ve rented your movies. That little bitty Redbox has closed a lot of brick and mortar, if not all of them.
Barnes and Noble is another great example. Basically, it’s all about reading material in a box. People are wondering why even go there anymore? You have a Kindle and you can just buy the book online. You don’t have to go to the store anymore. You can even get all the news you want on CNN just by a click of button. Even while I am recording this, I have a transcript today on December, 14; a major, horrific event happened today–the Connecticut shooting. There were 28 people that died today, most of them elementary school kids and teachers. You are going to see a social, not necessarily marketing, but viral, social movement happening today, and actually for many days to come just on this one event. It was so horrific! People were connecting to this, and pouring their hearts out to these poor families. It was a tragedy. This is where the internet has played a big part, and social media has played a big part. Companies have seen this and have realized that they can reach out to their clientele through social marketing because years ago, the most viewed screen was a television. Then it became the desktop–but the desktop really didn’t take over the TV until the internet–the speed, and the ability to upload videos and pictures. That is when that started taking off. Before that, the networks and TV was the screen you watched–that was the screen you viewed, and then the internet caught up, met some of the demand, and then it was laptops. Once smartphones came into play, it was then smartphones.
So, right now, the most viewed screen in the US, and probably Worldwide (don’t hold me to it) I believe is the smartphone. Take a look around next time you go out to eat, or you might be at a airport–or even bus stop–even an intersection, unfortunately–even though you shouldn’t be looking at your phone at an intersection, but I will be honest that sometimes I’m guilty of that. But, take a look at how many people are looking at their phones. Their eyes are just engaged into that phone–that is where social marketing has really taken off. This is nothing new–I just felt lead to share this because a lot of clients that we work with are wondering why they should even bother making the social content because “I am a mechanic” or “I’m a real estate agent” or even a painter, or maybe the person does landscaping–anything. People will look at me and say, “Why would I want to do that?” There aren’t any of my clients that are on there. Really? Have you taken a look around and have you seen how many people are staring at the internet? Or staring at social media? These companies like Target, Sears, Belk, JCPenny’s, Macy’s–every major company that has any clue has jumped on this band wagon.
iTunes has opened a section in their iTunes store years ago where they had a category for podcasting. I remember when podcasting first started. I remember seeing maybe 100-200 people podcasts. Podcasts are basically little shows or programs that people put together and they submit it to iTunes. So when you want to go search for something to watch or listen to, you can go into the podcasts and see people like me and you creating content, creating shows that they wanted to hear. Now, there is a pretty good demand for it, and then guess what? They went from the amateur, just anybody doing it, to now you are going to see every major name in there. The companies have waited a while. They didn’t jump in immediately. I noticed that. They took their time because they wanted to see if there was a demand to it. Well, I will tell you where the demand came from, this is what I believe–if you are sitting at your desk, and your boss has said that you can’t have your radio, and you can’t bring in the TV at your desk while you are at work–well, what is your next connection that you have? That’s the internet. Granted, some companies block out a whole lot of sites, but there are also a whole lot of companies that don’t so while people are working there during the day, they want to hear something besides the person next to them on the phone in the next cubical–they will listen to podcasts. There is one called “Mommycast,” where these ladies would sit there and talk about being Mothers and how their kids were growing up, and what they went through, and sharing what was going on with them. They really had become a well-known couple of ladies that hundreds of thousands of people had followed. Me and my wife followed them, because it was interesting to hear what they had gone through. We were going to be new parents so cool; I get to hear what another person has gone through. Social marketing–they got me and they got me interested. They connected.
Another part of social marketing and getting over that hurdle of doing this is going to cost money, and I might not get any views and people might not notice on YouTube. Here is the thing, someone is looking for–let’s take an example–a mechanic, and you are the mechanic, and you don’t believe anyone is going to go online to listen or read any of your posts. That may be true, but there will be some people–quite a few– that will look for reviews, look for a mechanic online before they go and pick up their keys and go down the road to the next available mechanic. They will search the internet before they do anything else. And when they do, if you are not showing a presence on the internet (whether it be YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Something) then you don’t exist. You may have a store front and a beautiful sign, you may catch quite a few people, but how many people are you missing if you are not even showing a simple presence on the web and engaging content with new postings, new specials–anything. How many opportunities are you missing? I believe that you are missing a whole lot. So what have we learned? The most viewed screens are smartphone and laptops. The internet is the most viewed thing right now and will be for many, many years. You need to jump on the band wagon. You need to get out there and make content.
I follow a guy out there by the name of Pat Flint, and he has a podcast call “Smart, Passive Income”. He is an awesome guy. I found him just by looking for someone who is doing something right now. I was looking for a podcast that I could follow and listen to while I went to the gym, and loved how he kept saying, “Just get out there and do it.” “Just get out there and show that you are on the web–whether it be a blog, Facebook, or Twitter.” “Don’t worry about what it is, just get out there and do something, because when people go to search for mechanics in your local area, I’m telling you that 9 times out of 10 they will start on the internet. And if you aren’t there you are missing out. Now, you might have a website and be saying, “I am all good, and I don’t need to do anything else.” “I have a website, and I have had my cousin down the road, or had my nephew down the road build me a site, I am alright.” “I don’t need anything else.” I’ve had some people come in just because they have found my number on the internet. That is very good and exactly what I am talking about. I am also talking about making things out there that are current, because a lot of people now can take 2 seconds to look at a website, and can tell that you haven’t seen that website for a year or longer. You haven’t done anything, so how do they even know that the company still exists? I know it sounds funny or sounds ridiculous. You might be sitting in your office or in your own building thinking, “Of course I exist.” I am still here. They don’t know that. As ridiculous as that may sound, it’s the truth. Why would we need a blog or post? Well, because if I don’t show that I am doing something on a regular basis, then I might be missing out. There is also a lot of other reasons and factors for having ongoing content for your website, that I won’t go into on this post such as Google keywords, and how Google finds you. That might be in a later post. But, understand me when I say, you have to be putting something out.
This is what we do for our clients– we get behind their vision, their product, and we try to show it in the best light possible. Take some time out of your work week and start a Facebook, a blog, have a Twitter–even though you feel like nobody ever sees or views it–consider it an investment to your company. Consider it as something that is going to people who make the final decision on whether they are going to you or the next person. Social marketing–believe me when I say, if you have something to sell, a business for yourself, if you need to get the word out to pull in some traffic to your place of business–or to pull in some sales, then it is worth investing into social marketing, or as some people would say, online marketing. You just have to get out there and do it.