Confessions of a Digital Marketing ExecutiveWednesday, November 6th, 2013 by Mike Cheley
I still struggle with the idea of social networks. There, I said it. I am a CEO of a digital marketing company and I struggle with social media. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest… But before you go off and say to yourself, I knew it, it’s all bunch of hooey. Let me add, I also struggle with traditional old fashioned networking.
Put me at a chamber mixer, and I am the guy having a beer with an old friend. Over the years, I have read half dozen books on the power of traditional networking. It’s hard to ignore the math. It costs little, it can have geometric reach and according to the books, it’s easy. Well maybe for the authors.
So the truth is that it’s not the digital networking, it’s networking in general that presents the challenge. Being both a geek and a creative has me genetically predisposed to be an introvert. You see, for me being spontaneously interesting, clever or funny just doesn’t happen. I could never get past the question “so what do you do?“ By the time I could muster up the next question, the conversation already reached that painful chasm of silence. So quickly the exit line… “it was nice to meet you”, which puts an end to the networking effort. But what I did not realize until recently is that, digital networking is also tailor made for the introverted and socially awkward.
In the digital world, you have time. You get to consider you responses, you get to post something interesting when the thought occurs and you get to share your knowledge to an audience that inclined to be interested. Oh, and the best part, like Baron Christian de Neuvillette, you can have someone else help you with the words.
As our firm grew from web developers and traditional marketers, to digital marketers, I have experienced the power of social networking dozens of times. We have used it to effectively position our firm as a thought leader in our local market. Our president is asked at least once a week to speak on digital marketing. When we were looking for a new bookkeeper, we posted on social media and had a half dozen recommendations with-in hours, most of them from the more valuable employee pool, those currently working but looking to make a change. We get at least two to three opportunity leads a week.
Bottom line is bottom line results. Just as in the case with traditional marketing, reach and frequency is the key. But in this space it is not about buying more ad space. It’s about sharing knowledge. It’s about telling the story of your brand. It’s about connecting. It’s about earning the right to do business with someone. The adage that we choose to do business with people we like and just as in that chamber mixer, if someone finds you interesting, knowledgeable and likeable; they are more likely to be a prospect or customer.
As in any endeavor, you can’t go to one mixer and say networking is part of your marketing. Networking requires consistency, participation and frequency. So get started or if you are started –do more. Oh and if words or the lack thereof are your excuse, find your own Cyrano.