Falling Social Stats: Why Write About Digital Marketing?

uber-fallingstats

Ah the typical rise and fall of my digital marketing empire. I blog, I post, I socialize, I cry at how my following has very little impact on my reach. Well, that’s just part of the story.

If you’re blogging for new business you’ve got a hard road ahead. Sorry. Your next business deal is going to arrive as a result of someone’s referral. That’s 99% of the business in the world. “Who do you know that’s really good at … Facebook?” BINGO. That’s me. (Oh wait, wrong post.)

Today’s collapsing social reach has me thinking and talking a lot about “why social.” And I suppose if I thought of my efforts here as pure lead gen I would’ve given up about 5 years ago. But my work here is more than a collection of ideas. It’s more than a journal of days in the world. It’s not really a personal journal. My hope, and my continuing refinement here, means I am getting better at speaking to my audience and building blocks of useful information for my readers: 1. small/medium business owners who want to do digital marketing for themselves; 2. digital marketers looking for ideas and inspiration; 3. my newest referrals looking to check my credentials.

This Blog IS My Resume

Digital marketing is all about “what have you done recently?” Everything is changing all the time. If you’re last big project was something for DELL during the launch of Vostro (2009) you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone but Dell that you might be a good team member. So… you have to keep it fresh and keep it going. Here on uber.la I not only try new things but I attempt to report back my findings. What was the impact to the business?

Lead Gen Is Dead

Let me clarify. For what I do, consulting small/medium businesses on digital marketing, no one is out scouring the web for smart digital strategists. They are asking their friends and colleagues for those links. And if I’m lucky, I’ve done my work well, you consider me a source of good digital marketing information, you might send someone my way, when they are needing some support with their online programs. That’s what I do.

I can count on one half of one hand the number of pure leads I have generated from this blog in the 6+ years it’s been up and running. And it’s not like I haven’t been asking for the business. But the business is not looking for consultants in this way. Certainly the need for a digital consultant that understands your business is important. But if you are looking for one, you’re going to hit your references first. Let me be one of your references, yes. But my downloads and lead gen forms are more for show. Let me say it again: In the 6+ years since I’ve been blogging my ass off and offering free downloads, free consultations, free SWOT analysis, I’ve generated exactly TWO business leads that turned into more than a coffee invitation to “pick my brain.”

Okay, so why do it?

  • I’m learning about content by doing content.
  • I’m scheduling, writing, illustrating, and promoting content.
  • I’m digging into the metrics to understand what’s working and what’s not.
  • I’m trying social channels in new ways.
  • I’m always exploring and looking for new insights to give away.

Blogging keeps me fresh, current, and relevant. Today, in your current role, you may not have need for building an online contest on Facebook for an app launch. But you might have need to do that in the near future, you never know. I want to be the person you think about. I want to show up on Facebook talking about Facebook reach, Facebook strategies, and Facebook metrics. I want to be that guy, “we needed some help with our Facebook outreach and your name came up.” That’s who I am trying to become by writing and publishing all this content.

I Am Learning Content Marketing By Doing Content Marketing

You’ve got to be playing the game to understand the rules and leverage points for various businesses. You can’t appify your business if you’ve not a gamer. You can’t understand a Snap Chat strategy if you never use Snap Chat. To get in the game you have to participate. And to get into content marketing, digital strategy, digital analytics, and online marketing you have to DO IT. So why not learn to do it for yourself, your brand, your blog?

The answer is You Should Be Blogging. If you want to grow your resume, don’t look to add a new company every two years, look to build a brand and reputation for knowing your stuff.

LinkedIn is great but it will only get you the contacts, you have to know how to work the groups, know what type of ads work, and how to convert those leads into business.

Facebook is fine but you’re going to have to know how to pay for reach if you want to have an impact.

Twitter is an important research and development tool and Twitter is the only way I know of to freely generate 100+ page views of my blog. But I’ve worked hard to build a following of “live” interested marketers on Twitter.

Snap Chat, Instagram, Pinterest are all up-and-comers, but you’ll really have to know what your goal is and how you’re going to measure that goal.

I tell clients every day, “If this activity is not generating business we need to do something else.”

Except in the case of blogging. This activity doesn’t necessarily lead to lead and consulting contracts for me. But it does keep me in the game of social media in all of the facets that I intend to play in. Analytics, Content, Social, and Marketing.

“How can I help you?” is the question I ask once someone else has given my name and number to a potential lead. It’s the happiest question I have. And I follow up with, “Okay, so let me show you something I worked on last month…”

If you want to lead you have to show people why your worthy of the follow.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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