Where are you online??

With a move away from mapping into Search Advertising – primarily Bing Search Advertising as the UK lead for Bing Search Ads I have a wider perspective now, which is continuously developing, as to how businesses can take advantage of a wider set of digital marketing tools available to complement their social strategy.  Here are my initial thoughts…..

Today, digital presence, when mentioned mainly sparks up the notion of having a website, social media page of some form or the ability to be searchable via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Bing or other search engine.

The latter is not always considered by many businesses nowadays with a focus more on social media than search engines and is often left to the end when there is a real need for businesses to advertise their products or services. In today’s dependency on technology it is important for all businesses whether a one man band or large plc. to ensure they have all the bases covered. It is also important that all forms of your presence in an online world takes advantage of all the services available as you may be missing an opportunity somewhere.

We all consider Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr etc. or even ancillary services such as About.Me, etc. as the ideal forms of creating awareness of what we do as a business but often what is left to the end is advertising primarily Search Advertising (PPC or SEM). Search Advertising is seen as a burden on the pocket or balance sheet, however, more recently even social media channels have been looking into and have started to invest in their own advertising offerings. Facebook has invested heavily in providing advertising support for their corporate and enterprise customers as have Twitter and LinkedIN. At the end of the day advertising is the oldest social medium that still exists.

It’s also worth noting that when developing an advertising strategy that you consider all channels – Google is not the only medium. More and more customers are considering the value of the Yahoo Bing Network as an additional and alternative platform to Google. Covering 35 markets today and growing the Yahoo Bing Network , catering for both Search (Yahoo and Bing) and Display advertising (Xbox Live, Skype, MSN, Windows 8 and Windows Phone) you have the ability to spread your reach far and wide.

It does not just end there, with mobile being integral to the ongoing growth strategy of Microsoft and Bing, Bing Search is constantly developing new avenues to expand its reach – Cortana, as well as testing areas that are successful today on the PC – bridging the experience gap between PC and Mobile. As you know search on Mobile is very soon due to surpass traditional search on the Web due to the growth in portable devices be it tablets, phablets or mobile phones so undoubtedly this opportunity cannot be missed which in turn provides a greater opportunity for you and your business.

Consider the options, utilise the resource and ask the question. Advertising is an opportunity to expose your brand to the world so why limit your resources, take advantage of all that is available as you may be missing a trick somewhere.

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Who Am I ??

Sunday morning at breakfast with the family, sipping through my morning fix and admiring the view into the garden, my youngest suddenly announces – ” I ‘ve got one – let’s play Who am I”.  So begins the round of questions to determine which world leader, notable person or Harry Potter character my son has selected.  After what seemed like 5 episodes of University Challenge to determine the identity, my other son asks “do you have 4 million twitter followers? , did you just announce your new single on Twitter ? – I know who you are ! “, that it dawned on me !!!

 

It was only once the relevance of the notable person, from a social media perspective,  was determined did the true identity come to light. This made me think – “Who am I ?” – digitally not spiritually…. “What is my digital brand?, Does it matter?”

We now live in an age where our identity and stature in society is slowly being determined by our social media status, our digital brand.  Not so long ago all that was needed was a CV and maybe an award or 2 on the mantel.  Times have changed or rather they have evolved and it is important that we also evolve.

The importance of a digital brand cannot be measured in pounds and pence but is measured by the impact that our digital brand has on our community, how we wish to be known etc.  With the expanse of services available to us today such as Facebook, Twitter, About ME, Tumblr, LinkedIn etc. it is imperative that we choose the right one.  Kate Russell’s book Working the Cloud – The ultimate guide to making the Internet work for you and your business  provides a great insight into the tools available, how they are used and the impact they have on your brand or your businesses brand.

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How we choose and use the tools will determine how we will be known as digitally – an Incubator, an influencer, a game changer, or a contributor – what we share to the world and the frequency with what we share provides an insight into who we are.

More so the impact that mobility and the devices that are now available to us has changed the way we use Social Media. We no longer have to wait till the end of the day to share our experiences of the world, we have the ability to be real time and instant,  giving rise to applications such as Vine, Instagram, Snapchat etc.

I recently met a professional that stated that Twitter has changed their lives. It has allowed them to share their passion for photography through their mobile phone over Twitter without impacting their professional status or brand.  This led me to another insight – Social Media now allows us to create multiple identities to suit our own needs, lifestyle and requirements.  Socially ( in the traditional sense ) who we are at work amongst work colleagues differs to who we are when amongst friends or at home……there is a fine line but nonetheless we are different.

A similar opportunity is now presented by Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. all present an opportunity for us to create our own multiple personalities in a digital world.  LinkedIn by far has grown to become the preferred tool for professionals – the ability to share information as a subject matter expert, inform the masses regarding a product or service to raise awareness or create a professional network for your next carrier move or seek credibility from our network has given rise to this tool being used on a daily basis.

Whereas Facebook – sharing the fun side of who we are, sharing holiday snaps, experiences, birthday wishes, anniversaries etc. – provides us with a social platform to be connected to those outside of our professional lives.  One again – a fine line exists here as well – there have been many stories of people sharing their Friday night out experiences and photos publically on Facebook for all to view – including the boss or even one of your professional contacts …and you thought you were cool extending a friend request to your boss or client…hmmmm !!!!!

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How you manage who you are in the digital world is just as important as it is in the real world – one size does not fit all !!.  More and more HR professionals and recruitment companies have scanned candidate accounts on Facebook before LinkedIn to determine whether they should progress with the application or not !!

All these tools are meant to serve a purpose, however that purpose is determined by you and controlled by you.  A little groundwork, some filtering, profile setting and common-sense will ensure that you have a digital brand the truly expresses who you are or what you wish to be known as.  Taking the time to pay attention to what you truly wish to be known us is imperative as this information will be visible by all.

As well as the initial setting up of your digital profile being important, the constant attention to making relevant changes and updates to your profile is just as important.   You have control and flexibility in painting your picture, therefore it’s up to you to determine what is out there truly answers the question… Who am I ??