If you read up on digital marketing, like I do, you’d be excused to think the world looks like this:

  • Digital marketing is a raging success and business owners queue up for the latest technology.
  • Professional networking via social media, such as LinkedIn, is now so rewarding that it matches face to face contact.
  • Small businesses are embracing digital marketing and have embraced social media as a business tool.
  • Most important: allocating budget to digital marketing is an accepted practice – it’s like paying for a bookkeeper.

I mean, really, why are we even talking about this? Digital Marketing is now as mainstream as hipsters with beards.

Beeep! Goes the buzzer…
Reality check!

Here is what I walk into on a regular basis:

  • Many owners don’t have a profile on LinkedIn and don’t see the point.
  • Websites are stunningly out of date, difficult to navigate and with little social media integration.
  • Those that do have a social media presence have no strategy, often engaging haphazardly with too many platforms.
  • A state of ignorance exists with staff not properly trained to maintain websites and social pages and many are not correctly set up.

The sad reality: digital marketing – which should be the most accessible type of marketing after word-of-mouth – is often not used to full effect by small businesses.

For advice on what the business owner should do, I turned to my friend Bernice Thorn who owns a Social Media agency called Media Mechanics. Here’s her advice:

  • Start by setting up and managing one or two platforms well, you don’t need to be on every social channel available.
  • Keep content original and relevant to your audience – she too often sees generic posts, retweets and shared articles that doesn’t hit the mark.
  • If you don’t have the time or inclination to manage your online presence, make sure you train a member of staff.
  • As with anything in life, if you don’t know anything about social media and generating content, consult a specialist in the field.

And most importantly, Bernice gives this ominous warning: whatever your customer, investor or potential business partner sees about your business on-line creates a crucial first impression, so make it count.

Image source: Flickr