The times they are a-changin’, Bob Dylan once said. Now the times are changing even quicker, at an exponential rate, especially in the converging worlds of online marketing, social technology, and business relations. A quick glance at most stock indexes or Omniture’s business analytics will show you how much the business landscape is being changed by the Internet and social networking. These are real forces of nature now and empowering your small business or client base will never be the same. You must now view the Internet as different than a mere search engine for entertainment or a database for information—it’s a dynamic cross-platform toolbox.
How can you take advantage of the changing times? Here are 3 tips.
Treat social networking as a buffet of media opportunities. Social networking offers you a variety of marketing tools that would have been considered nothing less than a king’s covenant a few decades ago. As far as exposing your business to consumers and building yourself a platform in different markets, social media is nothing less than your own personal broadcasting empire. Don’t limit yourself to posting videos of cute cats on your friends’ walls—these networks allow you to make significant in-roads with clients, consumers, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Take it seriously: You are an entrepreneur. Speaking of entrepreneurs, you ARE one. And there’s no better way to show you’re serious about it than embracing online marketing as the here and now of the business landscape. A monumental shift is occurring and it involves big money slowly migrating online, where traditional giants are searching for new sources of revenue and finding instead an ‘undiscovered country’ of new consumers and niches. Beat them to the punch, and position yourself as an entrepreneur who is willing to explore bold new ideas and business plans.
Get with the times and know the lingo. If you don’t have a smartphone, get one NOW! They are to the 21st century what a tie and pen were to the 20th century: marks of professionalism and tools for progress. If you find yourself frequently not knowing certain phrases that relate to Internet marketing — pingbacks, SEO, check-ins, retweets — what are you waiting for? NOW is the time to educate yourself. Already most businesses have fully fleshed out online divisions and those that don’t have realized how behind they are and are scrambling to catch up. These are the kinds of clients you can pitch yourself to – but not if you know less than they do.
Pro tip: Go buy a little notebook that fits in your pocket. I recommend a Moleskine but you can’t get whatever works for you. Take 5 minutes right now to write down all the lingo you hear and what it means. Keep this in a little notebook and add to it frequently. Refer to it when you have a few minutes of downtime.
Embracing online marketing with the likes of Omniture and other business analytics partners will take some time, but it will impact you for a long time in the future. If you successfully embrace online marketing now, it will feed your business practices for years to come. And if you don’t, you’ll soon find yourself obsolete, and looking for a traditional job back in corporate America.