So I have been working on marketing a local tattoo shop online, but here's the catch: the guy in charge is one of those who claims he'll never own a smartphone. To make matters worse, he had resources scattered about, half finished listings in directories, and almost no login information for any of it.
So my first task was simple, but such a headache that I wound up smoking more. I needed to wrangle all these loose ends online and tie them together.
I began by creating accounts for the shop on the popular social media systems, like Twitted and tumblr. All these were tied to either his personal email, or the shop email I later discovered which the boss knew nothing about.
During this task I also pestered him for login information to everything, and told him to keep copies of this information in a secure place that he could access. I think he did that last part, but I'm storing most of it myself, just in case.
Then I began the fun and exciting task of building a new website that would make it possible for him to post once, then forget about it. That meant connecting all the social media to the website with an automated posting script for photos and news.
With that done, I worked to repair the damage of his neglected online presence. This was where it got really fun, and by fun I mean exasperating.
After correcting the flaws in all the directory listings, revitalizing the Google+ page, and establishing a working and attractive website that was also mobile friendly, I had to show him how easy it all was. At this point I was doubting if this would pay off, he was very reluctant to listen and trust me.
Managing to convince him to invest pocket change in an online advertising campaign through Google, it's a very inexpensive way to advertise to millions, I knew we were finally ready to see results. Ironically, the results were actually better than I had anticipated.
After only working on this campaign for a couple weeks we saw a significant increase in business and much of that was verified to be from social media and Google. So now I am looking at the possibility of getting four solid contracts to do this for other businesses, most without the baggage of neglected online activities.
This experience has encouraged me to offer some advice to brick and mortar shops, so here goes.
* Keep your accounts, while this sounds like common sense many people have created accounts for their business and just stopped caring. They lose the login information and ultimately they lose that account. Keep the records somewhere, even if you don't think the internet presence is helping.
* Do not ignore the power of social media. Billions of people use this medium for recommendations, contacts, information of all sorts, even product searches. If you have an inactive social media presence you will be less likely to gain any new customers than a business that sells junk. Ask any online marketing expert how to gain attention and they'll tell you social media is the best medium.
* Have a super friendly website, this means mobile, desktop, fast loading, visually appealing, and informative. If you want people to call or visit the store for a lot of information then include as much information for how to do that as possible. But remember, the more options for contact the better. Answer questions on social media if you are able, post regular changes in products and services as well, if in doubt, post a silly joke.
* Photos, video, and graphics are you best friend and worst enemy. While you will need a lot of this, do not use super hi-res or hi-def, make it small enough to load quick, big enough to notice. This is why hiring people like me is your best option, even someone with a little less experience than me will be able to give a better idea of what works, just ask for a geek.
* Don't be afraid to offend, Ty still does not get this point yet, but you will offend a lot of people no matter what you do, and many people online are searching for reasons to be offended anyway. You won't get noticed if you don't offend anyone, so be offensive if the opportunity arises. Mainstream media has been using offensiveness as a tool to increase ratings since the caveman, you can ride those waves to gain more attention.
* Brand everything! I cannot stress this enough, don't worry about copyrights online, they don't exist, but branding is more affective because of that. So be the first to use an image or icon, then post it everywhere. People will seek out it's origin, and they will find it.