Recently, a colleague in my online group, Barry Hilton of Aquaman Inc., asked a particular question on Facebook that plagues us all: “I’m sick of blowing money on advertising and getting nothing in return. What are the top three forms that have worked for you?”
Without hesitation, Heath Webb of Art of the Yard and Steve Sandalis of Mystic Water Gardens both replied, “SEO!”
Some of you may wonder, what is SEO? Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term you need to understand along with integrated marketing — getting your company’s message in as many marketing channels as possible.
Where Are All the Dinosaurs?
Historical advertising is quickly going the way of the dinosaurs, and unless you want your business to become extinct, you need to step up your social game immediately. (I mean, I guess the La Brea Tar Pits are cool, but I don’t want to run my business there.)
Social media is quickly taking over the purchasing influence formerly held by historical media giants like television, newspaper, radio and the Yellow Pages. Buyers are now more influenced by platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.
People under 30 years old may never be influenced to purchase clothes, food, cars or even ponds, by the old media giants. My 28-year-old daughter literally never listens to traditional radio — only Pandora, Spotify or Rdio. She doesn’t watch television; she watches YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. She never buys a newspaper; she gets her news from Twitter, Facebook and Periscope.
The Facebook News Flash
My entire family learned about the deaths of Robin Williams, Glenn Frey and Nancy Reagan from Facebook — not television or newspapers. My friends will say in conversation, “Did you see on Facebook? Chumlee was released from jail! AC/DC singer Brian Johnson is being forced off the tour! There are hammerhead sharks trying to eat people where you kayak in La Jolla!” We get our news from Facebook or Twitter nowadays, not from television or newspapers!
The younger generations are already absent from historical advertising markets, but people over 35 are quickly headed in the same direction. Consider yourself and your current television consumption. Are you on commercial-free Netflix? Do you TiVo your favorite shows so you can fast forward through the commercials? When is the last time you picked up a phone book to look in the Yellow Pages? My kids don’t even know what that is (or was).
Are you beginning to see the gravity of the advertising situation? If you don’t start looking forward, you may be advertising to no one, far behind the bell curve and struggling to catch up. On the upside, advertising has never been easier or less expensive.
Put a great picture on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for free, and then engage your audience with clever tag lines, hashtags and questions. Engagement is the key here, and this is the biggest difference between the new way to advertise and the historical method. You can see within minutes if the photo you posted gets a response. If not, post a new picture and question, and try again.
Much as with traditional advertising sources, one-touch marketing is not enough. However, you can get serious and post beautiful, full-color pictures daily for a month. You may be surprised by the response you get.
Live Videos Pack Massive Results
Live-feed videos will soon become commonplace for small businesses, much like YouTube marketing has become mainstream for many. Periscope and Snapchat offer consumers a chance to meet the “real” you on a live application, where they can interact with you. My customers have told me they feel like they are in a live, one-on-one conversation with me when they watch my Periscope and Snapchats. That’s a personal connection that newspaper or television couldn’t possibly deliver.
YouTube is another free advertising platform. It’s the place to go to find out how to do… well, anything. Ask anyone you know — if you don’t know how to do it, you can find out how on YouTube. It’s the new-age library, instantly available in your home, in the car or in line at the grocery store. Create “How-To” videos on what you know and inspire new customers.
Live-stream broadcasting like Periscope and informative videos on YouTube also help you build your personal brand. Snapchat can give viewers a real dose of your personality. Your viewers will not just want any pond put in their yard; they will want a pond by you, that interactive guy in the live feed who knows so much about installing a beautiful pond. They feel a personal connection to you, the cool guy (or gal) in the video.
If you are not yet convinced, consider this very important factoid. People are always a little suspicious of advertising. It’s completely normal — I mean, here’s a stranger telling you on a television commercial that you will be raring to go after simply rubbing a bar of Irish Spring soap on your body. Do you believe this stranger? You don’t know him from Adam, so of course you don’t believe him. You either ask someone you know, or you go and buy a bar to see if it works. If it doesn’t, you become even more suspicious of the next stranger that tries to sell you something.
Engage with Shares, Likes & Comments
On social media sites, your friends and family become advertisers for your brand. These are people who your potential clients already trust. That trust gets transferred to you and your company when they recommend you. You will no longer be a stranger advertising to them, but instead a friend of a friend who can perform the service they need. You literally cannot put a price tag on that kind of advertising — and it’s free!
Back in the old days of the internet, the main goal was to link your website to Joe’s, and his to yours, and yours to Fred’s, and his to yours, and yours to someone else, and his back to yours, ad infinitum. This theoretically would give you better Web presence and help search engine optimization.
Now, by linking your own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Periscope, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and YouTube to your website, you can create your own interlinks, effectively making your Web presence better. Just like that, you have optimized yourself for the search engines, all on your own. Ben Timmermans of Liquid Landscapes says, “The more active you are, the more you push up. When you get static, you start to lose rankings.”
There are a few steps to make this new ad campaign very easy. This is one of the secrets as to why The Pond Digger and Helix Life Support are seemingly everywhere, all the time.
You’ve heard of an accountability partner, right? It’s someone who is with you, texting you, phoning you or calling you out on Facebook to make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, whether it’s eating healthy, exercising daily or not drinking. They just keep you accountable so you don’t stray from your intended path. I have discovered Periscope is the best accountability partner ever! I aspire to make a daily Periscope and then capture the broadcast on Katch.me, where we can review it at our leisure.
Once that is complete, I will have broadcast some top-notch information that will be recommended by our advertising friends to their friends when they share the live Periscope. Effectively, I will have been put in the faces of potentially hundreds of new clients by trusted sources, their friends and family.
I will then have my wife take the information in the Periscope and break it down into bite-sized pieces to make three to five blog entries. In today’s times, people have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, so your blog entry should be 300 words or fewer whenever possible. Blogs push your SEO because Google recognizes they have value. “Google loves blogs but hates spam,” as Larry Carnes of Reflections Water Gardens once told Barry.
We will also take multiple, cool screenshots during the review of the Periscope and use them with a link on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to advertise the broadcast. The best, most beautiful pictures are saved for Pinterest, which is then linked back to our blog and website. We will get multiple tweets, Instagram pictures, and Facebook posts from one Periscope broadcast, and then our friends and family will help by sharing them — because the information is valuable! This means more face time with potential customers and better SEO.
Are you starting to see the glorious beauty of your new, potential Web circle?
The words of the Periscope itself are my words, which means they are quotable phrases of The Pond Digger. For example, the other day I said, “filter pad fatigue,” which got an instant response from dozens of people. This is a handy quote that my staff now uses on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These quotable posts — you got it — give us better SEO.
This is my last point. The one thing you are not in control of is where people are getting their advertising from. You must go to where they are now, not where they have been. So, take action, move forward and accept technology as your new best friend in advertising. In other words, shed your dinosaur-like tendencies.
Good luck out there. Follow me on Periscope and Snapchat for daily pond pro tips!