Online marketing is subject to constant change. It reminds me of a phrase I learned not long after moving to Indiana. “If you don’t like the weather, stand right where you are – it’s sure to change in five minutes.” Well if there’s anything more subject to change than Hoosier weather, it’s the wild world of online marketing.
Let’s take it one step at a time, first the landscape. Not long after coming on board, Google unloaded a major change in the algorithm it uses to display search engine results. At the time I felt fortunate that I wasn’t going to have to learn how these ranking factors work all over again six months later – then Google pushed another update… six months later! It was then I realized these changes are something I’m just going to have to get used to.
Think about it… in the last year we’ve seen the introduction of Google+, huge changes in how Facebook displays user profiles, and my Twitter profile design has changed twice! To some degree these changes were responses to each other, in an effort to stay ahead of their competition.
In addition to these relatively “old” social media platforms, the tools we use on these platforms are ever changing. While you may develop a loyalty to a particular brand of tools (Can I get a “heck yeah” team Hootsuite?), the capabilities of these tools change to adapt to the ripples caused by changes with the social media platforms. These changes also create opportunities for new tools to be introduced.
Ultimately the online marketing landscape is very fluid and entrepreneurial. That being said, it’s not a lawless frontier that operates without rules or structure. If that were the case it’d be impossible for anyone to find long-term success using online marketing. So how do you navigate a path to success when change is swirling all around you?
It’s important to remember that technology is a tool, not a strategy. When you are trying to determine how to achieve your online marketing objectives, make sure they are conceived based on strategy, not the tools at your disposal. You could start a Facebook page because it’s free and you have a Facebook account and there’s lots of people using Facebook. However, if there’s no use case for your customers to interact with your brand on Facebook, the effort you put into building and maintaining that page might have been better spent purchasing a license for an inexpensive e-mail mailing service and writing a monthly e-mail to a list of subscribers.
The basic rules of marketing still apply, which is why no matter how much things change when it comes to online marketing I will still be able to have an impact because I know to stay focused on client objectives, understand what they are trying to communicate and learn with whom they are trying to interact. These are the elements you build a strategy around – once the strategy is set we can figure out what tools we need to use to make it work and add value!