Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is Your Online Brand Presence as Important as You Think?

This may seem like an ironic question to be asked by someone who is trying to become a world famous author of a blog for entrepreneurs.*

The short answer to the question is, of course, having a presence online is important. If it weren’t, companies like
Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin wouldn’t have a collective market cap of a gazillion dollars! The important point to remember, though, is this—don’t spend so much time on your online marketing and sales efforts that you ignore more traditional forms of generating business.

I was reading a recent
Inc. article about measuring your online brand presence and some interesting tools that can help you do that. Online tools can also help you strengthen your network. That said, in most cases (maybe not for Amazon or ebay), your online brand presence is most useful to support the more “tried and true” sales and marketing efforts.

I recently heard a radio story about a company that had experienced a dramatic sales decline in the downturned economy. When quizzed about ways to combat the decline, the CEO indicated that he had required the sales team to increase social media outreach; he touted an increase in the total number of “connections” by over 500%. What struck me is that he didn’t mention direct customer outreach or other more “traditional” approaches to sales and marketing (maybe that’s because it was a show about the import of social media on our lives). Needless to say, he did mention that sales had continued to decline, although possibly at a lesser rate than they would have otherwise.

I’m not surprised by this at all. You’re no more likely to deepen relationships with customers solely through social media than you are to establish a deep emotional relationship sitting at home in your boxers browsing at

I’m not saying that social media can’t be the starting point to a meaningful customer relationship or a part of an overall branding or customer relations campaign. But I am saying get out and talk with customers, think about hands-on, “out of the box” promotional opportunities, and find ways to get others credibly talking about your product or service. Better yet, find professional marketing and PR help to assist you in developing a comprehensive communication strategy (that includes an online component).

After you’ve done all of that, there’ll be plenty of time to figure out what your “friends” are doing on the latest
Zynga game on Facebook…

* OK, maybe “world famous” is a little too ambitious. How about a guy who has spent some significant time over the last several months trying to establish an online social media presence for members of the entrepreneurial services group at a law firm?

No comments :

Post a Comment