Thursday, 1 September 2011

Paranoid Marketing

I was with a client recently who (quite rightly) was "just checking" what they should be doing online - and by that they of course meant their website and other 'social stuff' as they put it.

It has to be said that there is certainly an interdependency between SEO (search engine optimisation - ie where you or your business comes in the results from a search on Google, for example) and social media for better business promotion. Social media (eg Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Linked In etc) go hand-in-hand with SEO.
I whole heartedly recommend using social media and online tools and promote yourself and your business, AND YOU SHOULD REMEMBER: as much as you might feel that your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Twitter, are yours, you don't own them. The online businesses do, so use them to support and promote but please make sure that you aren't making these sites the centre of your success.
Here are a few tips from Penny C. Sansevieri (@bookgal) to help you :
  • Website: You should always, always, always have a website. I know some authors who use Facebook as their websites. Big mistake. I know other authors who get a website that doesn't belong to them, meaning they are part of a community of free sites they don't own. If the community decides to stop doing websites and goes away, guess what happens? So does your content.
  • Smart Social Media: One of the things I really recommend is that you centre all of your content around your website. That's partially why I suggest linking your blog and your website to Facebook and Twitter. The content starts on your site and gets funneled from there, rather than in reverse.
  • Other ways to promote: Consider other ways to promote your stuff that isn't tied to your online accounts directly. Interviews on (other) blogs, white papers, webinar events. Yes, you are still putting stuff out there on other sites, I'm not saying not to. I'm saying that you need to make sure that whatever content you put out there is reflected on your site as well.
  • Duplicate content: There's a problem with posting huge amounts of duplicate content online, but unless you are pushing hundreds of pieces out a month, I doubt you have anything to worry about. However, the flip side is that you want to make sure you have copies of all the content you put out there. If you're uploading a video on YouTube, don't delete it off of your computer because you think it's "safe" on this site. It may very well be, but if you lose your page or YouTube gets bought (again) and morphs into something else, you're in trouble.
  • Website... more: When I talked about having a website, I'm not just talking about having a one or two-pager. I mean have a robust site packed with content. Make sure that you have a blog, and you might consider adding a resource section, etc. All information about your books should be on the site (don't rely on Amazon to house this for you) and be sure that any ordering information is on your site as well. Wait! You might ask, is Amazon in danger of going away? Not likely. But as they've shown in the past by pulling down books and buy buttons without warning: they are Amazon and can do whatever they want.
  • Traffic: So, the nitty-gritty of promotion is what? Sales, right? Sure, and exposure too (though I think you should target exposure first, then sales, but that's another article). If you're sending all of your traffic to social media sites, guess what? Your website traffic is probably pretty low or non-existent. If you send traffic to social media sites guess who benefits? Well, certainly you do in the way of exposure, but long-term this isn't a good plan. Let me explain why. If you aren't promoting your site as the center of the universe, and instead pushing people to social media sites, then your website isn't getting those super valuable incoming links from blogs, websites, etc. that you are promoting yourself to. As a result, your site will sink in Google rankings. That means if you lost one or more of your social media sites, you could certainly pick up the pieces and start sending people to your site, but that will be a long, hard haul. Better to focus on that now and gather that traffic, along with the buzz you create in social media, so you aren't caught with a zero starting point if anything happens.
You might think that the moral of this story is a slightly paranoid "trust no one" mantra but it's not. It's about protecting your stuff and being a smart and savvy author. While there are no guarantees in anything, you need to be smart about all of these wonderful, free, not-owned-by-you social media sites. You might do a fantastic job of driving traffic, fans, and likes to various pages. But the reality is that you should focus on what you own, your website. I love my social media sites and yes, it's a widely known fact that I'm addicted to Twitter. Yet they aren't the center of my online universe, my website is. Yours should be, too.
Great advice from Penny!
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