2016 Focal Points for Online Marketing

So you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Tumblr, Flickr, Vine, Meetup, Tagged, and Ask.fm–plus a few you can’t remember. Good for you. My guess is that of those 12 probably 8 or 9 really suck. By that I mean you touch them perhaps once every 3 months if you remember and you find the time. Think about it; if you spend just 30 minutes a day on your social accounts and you have 12 of them…that’s 6 hours a day. And realistically 30 minutes isn’t enough time to do justice to realistic community building. Therefore it’s time to cut some clutter, focus on what has proven to work for you, and up your game on those networks in 2016.

For me Google Plus has been almost a complete waste of time. YouTube has been very good for me, probably better than everything else combined. Twitter is a close second to YouTube and Facebook is a lagging 3rd place. The rest, including LinkedIn, are trailing a long way behind. So guess where I’m focusing my time in 2016? You bet! Anything new–which I will then create a video for and put it on YouTube.

What Works For Me May Not Be The Same For You

In almost every class I teach I am very careful to warn people their results may (and probably will) vary from mine. My passion shows in video and become contagious. That’s why I have several videos will 20,000 or more views. They aren’t even that great and the branding is all over the place. Still, they work for drawing traffic and creating engagement–more so than any other social network where I have larger connection groups.

Since part of my marketing and content creation job is tracking and analytics, it should go without saying that I have narrowed down “which” social channels work best for me–but more importantly¬†“why”. It has a lot to do with investment. Some of the investment is time connecting and engaging, some of the investment is in creating a specific type of content for that channel, and some of the investment is in dollars. Obviously YouTube has liked a different type of content than say Google Plus, and a different type of engagement as well. On Google Plus (like Twitter and Facebook) it’s more important to engage with your prospects directly. On YouTube good content along with simply replying to comments on videos¬†is enough to work. In other words I don’t have to spend hours every week commenting on, liking, and sharing other people’s videos to be successful on YouTube.

I Can’t Tell You Exactly What To Do

While this statement is true, I can share my technique for determining where to focus. You can then apply it to your own strategy. Lucky for all of us it’s pretty simple: where do I generate the most income? Like I said before, for me it’s YouTube. I know this because I direct people back to my website (this one and iCobb) from YouTube where people can place an order or use a contact form. Many times they go straight to the order form. I know they came from YouTube because of one of a few things: (1) they used a form that is only linked from YouTube, (2) they selected YouTube from the drop down, (3) Google analytics shows them coming from YouTube then converting, (4) they told me they found me on YouTube.

Have A Hub You Own And Control

Facebook may be a great place to have a business page but if you’re depending on that to be your “website” you’re making a tremendous error. Facebook could shut you down. You could lose all of your content and all of your prospects in a split second. I recommend either having a WordPress website (which I can help you with) or a custom coded solution with a few widgets, bells and whistles, and a good back-up and recovery system (which I can build for you). The important thing is your own domain on your own server space. Not even wordpress.com — while they are better than Facebook you can still get in a sticky situation. Get your own WordPress hosting account and do it right.

Use Google Analytics

If you don’t know how to use it…learn! GA can be one of the best tools you have as a marketer to gauge return on investment of your time and dollars. Setting up custom reports and creating custom links can be a bit daunting at first but I can show you how to do so in just a couple of hours together. When you have everything set up like you need it you can really make some educated decisions based on real performance data. What happens as a result can really be powerful to your business.

Syndicate Your Content

When you only use syndicated content across channels you can do more damage than harm. Make sure you’re not just syndicating your posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, etc., and that you are also engaging and live posting on those channels as well. For me a blend of no more than 20% syndication works quite well on most channels. On Twitter I do about 10% syndication (automatically posting blog content), 40% automation (though I hand select what to pre-schedule), and 50% live Tweeting. On LinkedIn it’s pretty much exclusively manual. On Facebook it changes with the wind! I use Buffer, HootSuite, and other tools to help. I also use a couple of different RSS syndication tools to push my content to social channels.

Don’t Ignore Offline

Okay so I said “online”. There’s just too much neglect for offline channels. Leads groups, MeetUps, TweetUps, print, broadcast…they all have their place. Again, what works for some of my clients and me may not work for you. That’s the beauty of the marketing profession. I have spent millions of dollars on traditional and new marketing and have learned millions of dollars worth of lessons. One of the biggest lessons is that even the most successful marketers aren’t 100% correct about what is going to work. Big companies can afford to throw big dollars and that’s why they bring in expensive, multi-national marketing companies. My readers need every dollar to count, just like mine.

With all that said I ask you to join me in 2016–as in subscribe to my email list up there at the top of the screen–and let’s continue to explore together. Then follow me on Twitter @thekencook and be sure to list to Social Media Edge Radio every Tuesday (or the replay at BlogTalk or on iTunes).