Shut up about your brand

October 30, 20109 Comments
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One of the things that frustrates me with many businesses’ approach to the web is content, and a lack of real understanding of how people are likely to interact with it. Many make the mistake of jumping aboard the social media train, and lead their strategy by using the tools, rather than starting with the fundamentals. To use the analogy of building a house, I’ve seen many trying to wallpaper the living room, before the exterior walls have been built, with flippancy akin to some advice they’ve heard down the pub.

I need a blog, they are great for traffic‘,
The site must be linked to Facebook and Twitter‘ ,
How do I add my home page to Digg?

All of these things I’ve heard from clients and read in spec documents before. The examples I’ve mentioned are often treated as ‘to-do’ items, that are simply checked off the list, and are expected to result in miracles for site traffic once completed. The reality is, in many cases when you dig a bit deeper, no form of content strategy has been formulated, and there’s no real understanding about how to actually utilise the social web to further business goals, or how to craft content that is likely to make an impact within these networks.

Bottom line. Poor website traffic can’t be fixed by throwing tools at the problem. Blogs are only good for traffic, if they have content worth reading regularly added to them. Facebook and Twitter require daily attention, sharing other peoples content – as well as your own to build trust and a loyal following. Adding your home page to Digg (for most small business websites) has about the same impact as a streaker in a nudist camp.

No one cares about your website, and no one cares about your brand. You are going to have to work harder than that to make an impact online.

One of the best pieces of advice I could give someone looking to craft great content online, and build a decent audience is to go completely cold turkey from your business and brand. In other words, challenge yourself to create a week’s worth of content (on your site), that isn’t self promotional in any way shape or form. Don’t allow yourself to mention your products or services on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else. Instead, rely on the impact of the content you create and share to attract people to you, rather than treating the web as your own personal loudhailer.  He who shouts the loudest, doesn’t get heard the most online. They simply get their volume turned down by unfollows, or people unliking you on Facebook.

It’s a tough ask, and appears to many at first to be counter productive.  Many business are coming to the web from traditional marketing which is generally all push push push. The move to an economy which thrives much more on new socialism is difficult.

I guarantee however, that if you mention yourself less, and others more, people will start listening more intently, starting recommending your site to others, and effectively let you win business through brand recognition, rather than expecting it to come directly from 100 repeated tweets, facebook posts and blog posts telling us all how great your product and services are.  That’s simply not going to cut it in today’s web economy. Selflessness is rewarded online, so shut up about your brand.

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About the Author ()

Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.

Comments (9)

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  1. Dave says:

    Very well said. I think so many people think there is a magic pill to make your website generate loads of traffic.
    I also think people forget to actually sell their solution. Most products or services are a solution to peoples needs. Instead they waste time talking about how great their company is and how many years it’s running blah blah. I see it on Twitter with people talking about their great offers etc.
    I don’t care about that. I care about what you can do for me. People need to put the customer first in their content. Talk to people like you would in person. If you have a great special offer tell me how my life would be easier or better by using what you sell. Show me the end result not your product. Showcase what it does rather than price or the fact it’s on sale. If I don’t have a use for it then a sale won’t matter. But if it is shown in a more aspirational light then I may want it and will be much more likely to tell others about it

  2. Paul Anthony says:

    You make a good point that I missed Dave – that people care about what you can DO for them, and that any sales type information is much more useful if you show the end result. Thanks for sharing,

  3. Dave says:

    No problem Paul. Glad to be of help

  4. I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head with – “mention yourself less, and others more, people will start listening more intently”

    Yeah I also find that a lot of companies on Twitter and Facebook just pump information out about themselves with little or no engagement with others and wonder why people aren’t visiting their websites.

  5. ben says:

    I agree. It’s like doing some kind of charity event. You are not shouting about yourself but you leave some good publicity which can last long :-)

  6. I wish everybody got this. In the marketing group I am involved in and the tribe I am in we sing this idea. Your own brand should shine through your content and shouting only makes people turn you down. This is a really great post. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Couldn’t agree more. I always tell clients that people who are on their site to learn do not want to be sold. They will respond to your expertise. Start an article off sounding like an advertisement and you are sure to turn them away.

  8. Michael says:

    Very good reminder that people generally aren’t online to read and view crap. In order to successfully compete for people’s time, you must offer something that is of high concern or delivered in a way interesting enough for them to trade their time for. And failing to plan a strategy to implement is speculative at best.

  9. Interesting point and it’s true that there are people out there who push branding as opposed to giving value. i know that when I first started out that’s what I did and then eventually as you learn stuff from other people you tend to change your perspective.

    I also agree that shoving things up peoples face is like giving them an excuse to get away from you – bad news for people like those is the unsubscribe or un-follow is so easy to get at.

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