With today’s changing marketplace for business and communication, the old rules no longer apply. To succeed and thrive you must recognize that you and your business are media companies. How can this be? We are in an age where technology and communications is not only vital for business operations but also for marketing. Some traditional marketing strategies will continue to apply but sticking with them alone will be a recipe for difficulty in the years to come.
A media company. Really? Yes, and the sooner you recognize this and make changes to your marketing the better prepared and the more competitive you will be. In addition to using traditional print marketing and mailings, your multi-media business must add technology.
You hold in the palm of your hand a powerful tool: your smartphone. Virtually everyone in business today carries one and if you don’t, this post is probably not going to help. I call the smartphone your PMD – Personal Marketing Device. This amazing tool can do so many things that many of us would never have thought it would be possible. From a strictly marketing perspective, what does this device do?
Video: When done right, video content created and shared can reach as many people as a broadcast TV program. YouTube is the center of the video universe and you and your media company need to be present. People want video content. They want to watch videos on their smartphones and tablets. They want to watch them at the time of their choosing, on demand. Your competitors are on YouTube and using video. If you are not using video to market and share your brand message, you are two or three years behind your competitors.From a broadcasting perspective, new applications Meerkat and Periscope are on the scene and part of the next wave. With these apps you become a live broadcaster. You can do shows on the fly and your followers/audience can watch them live. All of this is done on your phone and amazing to think about. However, recognize that the quality of video from smartphones is great. Use your phone, but whenever possible use real video cameras to capture and create content.
Face to Face Communication: iPhone’s FaceTime application or other applications like Skype allow for one-to-one or multi-user video conferencing. This is another form of broadcasting, but to small audiences. The use of video conferencing will be much more common in the future and for meetings and networking it will become an important tool. To reach larger audiences in a live format check out www.Livestream.com and its mobile app.
Blogging: video content is important but written content is also an integral part of your marketing and branding. Your blog is equivalent to your media company’s publishing arm. Your content is created like a magazine, offering articles on a variety of topics for your audience. Your audience wants this content and they will seek you out for it. Without a blog your brand has no voice and no place to come to life. For a business, your website is where your brand lives; for an individual it is your LinkedIn profile, but it is your blog that brings your brand to life. This is equally so for your video content and – if you have the energy – a podcast.Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular. They represent the “radio” part of your media company. Podcasts allow you to share your knowledge in an in-depth way. Many podcasts incorporate interviews where ideas can be shared and expertise can be further presented. While not for everyone, podcasts are an effective tool in reaching new audiences and they are the next generation of audio content.
Social media: for most people it is clear that social media sites are where brands and individuals engage with audiences. Many people have social media accounts/apps on their smartphones and use them for personal activities. But they must be properly leveraged for business purposes. Are personal social media accounts used for business still personal? Today we see a mix between what is personal and what is business. In order to engage with people 24/7, it is often necessary to use personal accounts. If you are seeking to build your brand, you want to utilize all social media sites to build awareness and to become an influencer. With a mobile device you have the ability to engage at any moment. Consumers and prospects are online nights and weekends. You need to understand their habits and “live” communicate with them when their eyes and attention are on the social sites that you are using.
Social media activities can be done on desktops or laptops but more and more of the content is coming directly from mobile devices. Again, your PMD becomes the conduit for bringing your message to potentially millions of people. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, Snapchat and others that are emerging are platforms where you will need to present your brand.
Social media in the consumer space is much different in business-to-business. Recognition of this fact impacts how you communicate with your audiences and the sites that you will use. Certainly LinkedIn is the premiere site for business-to-business while sites such as Facebook and Pinterest are more effective at reaching consumers. The point here is not so much the value of social media; it is not new. However, we need to look at it differently and recognize that social media is not only part of how we project our message but also where we engage with prospects and customers. When social media was new, many focused only on projecting and sharing content. They skipped the important part – building relationships. This is going to be the key factor in the success of businesses that are adopting social media now.
We see that technology, particularly the technology that is in the palm of our hands, has enormous power. Businesses and individuals need to harness the marketing power of these devices and become media companies which offer diverse content (text, video, audio, photos, graphics) to audiences in different ways. Broadcasting alone will not see results; these tools must be used to listen, interact, share and build relationships. Build your media company and use its capabilities today, this is how you will achieve short and long term success.