When I look back, I realize I was doing digital marketing before I even realized I was doing digital marketing. Back then, I didn’t have the ability to boost Facebook posts or tweet a cool photo of the burger I was eating. Instagram hashtags weren’t a thing — that’s for sure.
When I started writing copy for websites several years ago, I had not once heard the words “social media strategy”. At the time, all I knew was that I needed the money and a friend was willing to show me the ropes on his personal blog networks. I had no idea what SEO was, and social media was only just starting to percolate. I learned WordPress, I learned about keywords, link wheels, and anchor text. Quite honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
So I got to work; I churned out content, writing hundreds of blog posts every week. It took me quite awhile to realize that copywriting was just a small piece of the full digital marketing spectrum. It wasn’t until I began to move on from managing blog networks, that I realized the digital world requires a much broader skillset than I anticipated. As we continue advancing in technology, the skills required to grow a business online increase exponentially.
After a few years of blogging and copywriting, I started to segue into social media. I assumed it was easy; but it wasn’t as easy as I thought. While operating client accounts, I increased my understanding of the value that each facet of digital marketing brings to the table. Social media is an important part of outreach for any brand, for community relations, but it also serves as its own piece of the puzzle.
Brand development, from my perspective, is about multiple cogs moving together. While feeding the beast we lovingly call “Google”, I began to understand how each facet of digital marketing works together. Realistically, you may not have to understand it yourself to ensure you have a company that can competently integrate a solution to bring you a true ROI.
As a Brand Development Manager, my job is to ensure that a client’s brand grows, and to be able to pull together each aspect of digital marketing to support their desired path. I mean — sure! — you can run paid media all day and get people in the door. However, people don’t understand that bringing people in the doors is separate from actual growth because it is absent brand equity.
When I am looking for a client, I want to make sure they’re the right fit for me, as much as they want to make sure I am the right fit for them. I work to ensure my clients understand advertising and marketing is about more than simply bringing people in the doors. With the advent of digital media, you are more capable of building brand equity than ever before.
When you think about it from the brand equity angle, it just makes sense to invest in your digital advertising. Thanks to social media, people can barely even be expected to drive or walk without looking at their phones. They’re paying more attention to their phone screen than they are to your doors, when they’re walking past your business. Word of mouth is one thing, but you can certainly cultivate your own word of mouth advertising by being visible, being present, and getting talked about on the relevant platforms.
My clients must be willing to grow, and they must be willing to allow us to take their business to the next level, by getting more eyes on their brand. Sure, voluminous numbers look sexy on your Facebook page, but let’s be honest; are you going to get those 30,000 people in your doors over the next year? Can you even serve them? Do you have the capacity? Are they even in your targeted demographic? How many of them are even able to visit or use your services?
It’s easy to get thousands of fans, but getting them in the doors is the real hurdle. When I am talking about digital marketing and brand development to businesses, I always say, “it’s not about how many eyes are on your business; it’s which eyes”.