Let me share a little secret with you. You know that social media campaign that your competitor just launched? The one that keeps popping into your customers’ inboxes and social media feeds? The one that has you scrambling to play catch up? Well here is the secret – the intern didn’t do it and neither did the company CEO. No, really. That insightful blog post, the ingenious timing and motivating call to action, the one that got even you to almost press the share button on your Facebook page – they didn’t do that in house. It was written by an advertising and marketing company. The same folks who produce the best advertising, the best billboards, the best print campaigns, and the best brands also produce the best social media content. In the same manner that you went out of your way to hire the best bookkeeper you could find, they went out of their way to hire the best social media expert they could find. And they are kicking your butt.
So what do you do? First you should understand exactly what a social media campaign is. It is building relationships over time backed by a game plan to maintain those relationships. Effective social media is not just posting every other day, tweeting a few times a week and then counting Followers and Likes. Instead, it is publishing engaging useful content on a consistent basis combined with excellent customer service and expertise in your particular industry. What does it get you? More sales. Over time, the cumulative effect of meeting and perhaps exceeding the expectations of your readers, your customers and even your vendors will have them talking. Word gets around.
So is it that simple? Do you just hire someone, give them access to your Facebook account and set them free? Not quite. Think of it like this. In the same way it would be unwise to have nothing more than a New York Times strategy it would be unwise to have a nothing more than a Facebook strategy. Your social presence needs to be a cohesive, integral part of your overall business plan along with your website, brick and mortar, company advertising, marketing and public relations. All of these reflect your company’s philosophy and unique value. To be successful, your social media voice must combine a deep knowledge of your business and offer valuable content delivered with the appropriate tone and an art for persuasion through beautiful creative and branding.
So the secret is out of the bag. Great social media brands don’t just happen. They are created through careful and deliberate planning by experts. Sort of like what your bookkeeper does. If you understand that kind of thing.
Choosing a domain name can be a big deal. Strike that. It IS a big deal. It is akin to choosing your first child’s name or deciding what color to paint the office – Antique White or Dashing Yellow. Because whatever you choose, you, or at least your child, will have to live with it. And in the case of a URL, it can be the difference between pearls and swine. Here are a few quick quidelines to help assure that your website climbs to the top of search results and receives the traffic it deserves.
- K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Silly – Euphemism aside, your domain choice should be short and easy to hear in a crowded bar – over martinis ideally. Don’t choose something you need to explain. Make it easy for your visitors to type on their mobile devices. Inebriated thumbs and complex domain names are a curse for getting people to your website. The shorter the better.
- Use Keywords – The presence of keywords in a domain name affects its page ranking. Sit down and make a list of 5 main keywords and then research them them using the <link> Google Keyword Tool. </link> If you can incorporate a valuable keyword into your domain NATURALLY by all means do it. But not at the cost of making it too complex or too long.
- Use .COM – If for some reason your organization requires a .NET, .ORG or any other extension, make sure that you can acquire the .COM as well and redirect it to the domain you would like. Many people, even techies, almost always assume a domain is .COM first and some of them won’t even think of trying another extension. Don’t lock out traffic from these folks. Traffic is vital to the success of your overall business plan.
- Make it Intuitive – Create and fulfill expectations. When you tell someone your domain name they should be able to easily and accurately guess what they will find when they get there. Think of your domain name as your road sign. If you are selling donuts, let people know. Advertise it.
- Avoid Hyphens and Numbers – It is just too complicated to explain that ninetofive is really 9to5 or nine-2-five. Spell it out.
- Avoid Trends – You need to look at your domain name as an investment over the long term. The equity that you build into it over time needs to be considered. Selecting a URL with vernacular of the moment, that in time will become meaningless, might have you “lol ‘ing” right now, but you’ll be better off with something that will outlast current trends.
- Read Between the Words – Seriously. Just learn through example on this one. http://www.boredpanda.com/worst-domain-names/ One of my favorite examples is whorepresents.com, as in Who Represents. Hilarious.
When choosing a URL for your website it is important to keep these basic ideas in mind. But just like anything there is always a caveat and to every rule there is an exception. So if you are getting all worked up and not sure where to turn when it comes to choosing a fitting URL for your business or if you need a fitting website design to go with the awesome domain you just created, let us know. We’d be happy to help.
Whatever you do, don’t name your boy Sue and don’t paint the office Gerbera Mauve.
You will regret it.
For 25 years, Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico has provided high quality seafood to restaurants and retailers. When they decided to offer their products online to home consumers, they chose Studio Hill Design to create the new company brand.
We coined the name NetFish, along with the tagline “Catch the Tastiest Fish Online.” A cyber bitmapped fish image was developed as the logo, and applied to packaging, a market booth, t-shirts and trucks.
Impressions count and people talk. People want to talk about new exciting things and a huge part of getting people to talk about you is walking the walk.
If your website has not been overhauled since 2008, there is nothing to talk about. It is that simple. In order to generate buzz you need to create it. Hardly a day goes by that you do not head out your front door without thinking about the kind of impression you are going to make. This is exactly how you should be thinking about your business.
If you fail to define, refine and manage your brand, like it or not, the world will do it for you.
But don’t limit this way of thinking to just your website. This concept applies to all of your social channels and your brand’s public persona. This includes your logo, your collateral, your social media and your branding. You need to be regularly evaluating your customers’ expectations and their experiences associated with your company. Are they finding the value and the meaning behind your products or services that you intend for them to see? Or are they seeing something else? Are they seeing something good or something bad? Helpful or neutral? And how can you get them back on track if they have mistranslated your brand?
Once you identify areas where your brand has gotten off track, you can take steps to shift all channels into alignment. You can strengthen your brand message and educate your customers about the value you have to offer. After all, this isn’t 2008 anymore and at some point, every cobbler needs a new pair of shoes. How do yours look? Do you need a polish or a new pair?