Benefits Of Mobile Apps

 

Business Mobile Apps Just Make Sense!

Mobile Apps – The Perfect Addition To Your Business

Mobile device usage is now reaching the 4.77 Billion mark worldwide. It is just a fact of life that people use their devices each and every day, all day and night!

This proliferation of mobile traffic, of course translates into people looking for and interacting with local businesses & services. So naturally having a great looking, and easy to use ‘App’ for your business is going to provide benefits – both for your customers/clients and your business; but what exactly are these benefits and specifically what value do you as a business owner gain?

But you have already invested in a website, and linked all of your social media, do you really need an app as well?

Mobile traffic is a reality, and sure your website is still a valuable investment – especially if you have made sure it is ‘mobile friendly’ – but an ‘App’ is just a step further; an additional marketing tool and way to boost business.

What are the benefits?

  • Mobile Apps Provide High Visibility

    Your Brand icon is right there on the mobile screen – whether or not the app is opened, your business is appearing every time the phone is used – there you are, front of mind!

  • Push Notifications

The means to enable instant alerts – offers, deals, blog posts – very powerful!  This is a major advantage – an instant link with each mobile device which is used every day. You can use coupons & loyalty cards – push notifications are a flexible means to communicate without needing to actually talk!

  • Gain A Competitive Advantage

A local business which offers an ‘App’ is going to provide a convenient means for people to interact with your business without needing to call you, to arrange appointments, bookings, purchases – all without needing to talk! Your business will be seen as ‘with the times’ – people love convenience!

 

Arrange for your Mobile App to be built, gain the advantage – your business will be right there on the mobile screen – push notifications, instant bookings, convenient modern business interaction – one more digital channel for your business to reach the exact community you serve.

The Coming Disruption Of Australian Business

There is lots of talk about ‘digital disruption’, but what does it look like in Australia?

Drivers Of Digital Disruption

We have all been made aware in recent years by the emergence of digital culture, new technical solutions, transactional changes, mobile device uptake, disruption of traditional businesses by completely new players. This has been developing for at least the past 20 years, but it is more keenly evident over the past 5 years when all of the ‘talk’ suddenly seems to have materialized into cold reality.

The cloud, and all of the changes Australia is currently experiencing, the transformation of established industry is accelerating; matters are becoming crucial because the vast majority of Australian business has been coasting along and ignoring the signs to a large extent. But now the times have ripened and people are being tangibly impacted.

The big differences with ‘digital’ is that new ideas and concepts can now be very quickly deployed, tested with real customers and then tweaked and improved – the ability to use flexible tools, all of this drives disruption.

EQ Much More Than A Buzz-Word

Emotional Intelligence has now become a favored skill-set. Technology and digital culture have completely changed the approaches to customers, we are all seeking to be treated as unique cases, not just another number, another consuming unit. Digital culture enables a business to finely tune its presentation, to build exclusivity into its marketing so that granular characteristics of social groups can be tailored for.

However, for many of the established businesses, what Deloitte have termed  long & short fuse disruption potentials, boards and senior executives tend to view the solutions as being primarily technology issues, when in fact it is more about the ways in which customers can be interacted with and the nimble responses to changes in the market; certainly technology is an aspect of this, but not the true emphasis.

This is where ‘EQ’ enters the arena. What for many has been just another marketing and HR buzz-word, EQ has emerged as being an extremely valuable business skill set!

Long & Short Fuse Disruption Candidates

The obvious growth of all kinds of social media has created an environment where real-time interaction and two way communication has completely changed how people approach and ‘do’ business. I don’t think many of the Australian business community truly grasped this during the shift, and this has continued to the present day. We see all kinds of awkward attempts, from hiring ‘Millennials’ to try and build customer rapport, to blasting messages 20th Century style.

It is very clear that Australian business will continue to experience disruption, in the short term:

  • Retail
  • Utility & Technical Services
  • Professional & Personal Services
  • Media
  • Real Estate
  • The Arts

will see digital culture impacting, driving and shaping new business solutions and approaches. We have all seen very powerfully how mainstream media has been massively disrupted by social media with the huge outcomes internationally of ‘Brexit’ & Trump’s juggernaut. ‘Uber‘ and AirBnB speak for themselves.

The longer term outcomes affecting the public sector, banking, transport, manufacturing, medical care will take more time to play out, but you can be certain that the digital revolution will see us living in a vastly different world by the end of this decade. Will you be ready to respond, to have the flexibility to adopt new ways of thinking? The writing is on the walls, 2020 is not very far away, digital disruption waits for nobody – digital media is cheaper, powerful and flexible but the digital culture which has arisen enables disruption to occur. The field really is wide open.

 

The New Media Opportunity

Online Media the field is open!

Your Media Can Compete

With the maturity of digital media, meaning that after 20 years the consumption habits of people globally have shifted towards digital media, getting your message out has become more and more possible.

Prior to the digital revolution taking off from about 1996, mass-media businesses were the only valid ways in which you could get your ‘message’ out. Literally you had to pay a lot of money to reach the people with newspapers, magazines, radio & television – a significant investment in having articles, photographs, audio produced, journalists and ‘PR’ people were paid attractive salaries, campaigns ran into the millions of dollars.

These days, if you know what you are doing, you can produce your own digital media – Blogging, Video, Podcasting. These are digital forms that can be optimized to reach online communities, and it does not need to cost you a lot of money; the investment levels are actually a lot less to gain an equivalent result.

This is why ‘quality’ is so important, if you can now genuinely reach specific people you can have the same effect as a venerable publication identity like ‘The New Yorker’, the field is now very open to the entrepreneurial spirit, the authority of these old names is based on their position gained prior to the digital revolution.

Merit based consumption is very much a reality, which means you can gain influence, produce the leverage that used to cost millions for thousands, you can create new ways of forming a connection with specific audiences.

A business is able to reach people well beyond the scope of previous media methods. Perhaps the message of this has not really sunk in for many in the business community. You only have to look at what the old names in ‘Media’ are now doing, hiring skilled teams to get their articles out there, this is where search engine optimization, social media approaches are being implemented in the ‘real world’; when business names like:

Chigago Sun Times

Herald Sun 

The San Francisco Examiner

Are all re-designing their approach, seeking to build their old high profile position by publishing online – well this indicates something very interesting to us all: The territory is now re-set, all bets are off, these are new times, nothing is able to be taken for granted any longer! These media entities are not assured of being accepted, new players can ‘disrupt’ the market with their own quality productions.

Just as with media companies now seeking to re-build their readership, to regain the numbers, business also has to present themselves online, there is a huge opportunity to reach people that you might be underestimating as an Australian business owner. Time to look a bit closer at this!

 

 

 

Just What Is Digital Marketing In 2017?

Digital Marketing Is Expanding Here In Australia

Breaking Down Just What Is Meant By ‘Digital Marketing’

Australia, we are a truly unique country. Our history is somewhat similar to that of the USA, in that we are a ‘break away’ culture from the old U.K & European civilization; the obvious difference being that Australia was deliberately used as a penal solution, and it took a rather different course than that of the republic alternative America became, Australia retained a stronger link to the origins of the U.K.

Perhaps it is the vast distance involved, Australia is obviously a long way from both the U.K & the USA – but the really big changes that occur in the northern hemisphere take a bit longer to reach us, and for new ideas and technologies to be accepted and implemented.

Sure we have our own ideas, lots of talented and capable people, but all too often this pool of ‘native talent’ has to leave these shores to gain any traction. We then take notice of them when they return, in the form of new businesses and enterprises, and in the form of new technical solutions developed overseas! 

The IT revolution which began to really take off in the mid 1990’s in Australian corporate circles, also seems to take a bit longer to respond to new developments. I think as Australians we just come to expect that we tend to lag behind the rest of the world in some areas. 

So it has been with the ‘Digital revolution’ which is playing out across the business and commercial world of the USA, UK & Europe (also Russia & China, Japan). Australia has taken much longer to recognize just what is occurring, we are participating, and there is activity and development taking place here – just not at the same scale, nor indeed with the same enthusiasm.

24 Million people, compared with the 365 Million in America, or the 65 Million in the U.K, the 743 Million of Europe, and so on. We have this hard reality of being a much smaller market. However there is a lot of business in Australia which deals internationally, and sells into much larger markets, digital marketing is a vital area.

The broadcast model of mass-media is one that our global society became very familiar with during the 20th Century, with the development of Radio & Television and the proliferation of published text with Newspapers and Magazines.

Digital media is very clearly different, it has a two-way, interactive dynamic, this simple difference is what makes ‘Digital Marketing’ a very different animal to that of previous forms based on the broadcast dynamic.

The very first and most significant means for publishing on the global network was of course ‘Websites’. However, since the earliest appearances of published sites there has been a steady development, and today websites are substantially different to how they started out 20 years ago. However, many business people have not kept pace with developments and many Australian business websites are not mobile-friendly, nor do they effectively work for their owners.

Social media has in fact become the major way in which billions of ordinary people participate online; this has been such a large shift that commentators and major personalities are describing social media as being  a ‘slang term for the current state of the internet’. In particular for social groups under 40 years of age. But even for the older members of our society social media participation is becoming ubiquitous. Social media in fact has been identified as being THE major agent of social and political change over the past 5 years.

The effect of social media has been recently experienced with phenomenon such as ‘Brexit’ & even the victory of ‘Trump’ in the USA presidential battles.

Regardless of your personal opinion concerning these outcomes, it is clear that the huge user presence on these social media platforms is resulting in shifts of thinking, the exchange of ideas and the dynamics of influence has massively shifted away from the ‘mainstream’ media outlets. So what does this mean for Australian business owners?

To describe every facet of digital promotion would result in a very large document, it would take a thick book to describe in detail the nature of:

  • Website Development
  • Video Productions
  • Text & Copy writing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Advertising Approaches
  • Email Marketing
  • Brand Building

Digital marketing is still very much in its infancy in our country, we have not had the same level of experience with it as northern hemisphere business, however it is clear that our country needs to catch up and begin doing business in the 21st Century.

Digital Marketing is gaining in popularity, and people have definitely become more aware of needing to learn how to use and leverage digital culture. Beyond owning a basic website and throwing up a Facebook page, digital marketing refers to not only technology, but ways of thinking and communicating also. The world is changing significantly, and Australia is very much a part of this world, we will be seeing much more involvement with digital in Australia from 2017, that much is obvious.

 

 

 

Traffic And Your Business

We take care of our customers helping them to be more visible

Ten Years Has Made A Massive Difference

You might be aware that the internet has become pretty central to everybody’s life. In fact you might be pretty on top of developments, apps, cool sites, website building, social media, mobile phone usage; but the basic reality is that the fundamental change in how ‘ordinary people’ now seek out their needs & wants has resulted in you, as a business owner needing to look at ways to be visible and get your share of customers.

Not many people use the ‘Yellow Pages’ or even the good old ‘White Pages’ anymore – sure there maybe pockets of places where there are concentrations of people who are not ‘online’, but these are shrinking; in 2017 most people look at their Smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC!

For many people who run a local business there is a constant need to review what is working, and it can be stressful. Not having the right numbers each month can mean going out of business, families experiencing difficulty.

So we are not speaking of ‘technology’ here – the basic reality is that Plumbers, Electricians, Builders, Doctors, Dentists, Auto-Mechanics, Bakers… the whole range of local business owners for towns and cities all over the world need to get their business noticed; the landscape has changed completely over the past 10 years.

For many of these businesses, a website and a Facebook page has been invested in, and some of them have become aware that you need to manage these items – you can’t simply publish them and hope for the best! But for 10’s of thousands of them there is not a lot of awareness of just how to make these efforts work effectively.

We are talking about ‘Traffic’, the rate of visitation, the basic numbers of customers, clients, patients who discover your website, your Facebook page, but not simply raw numbers, it does not matter about the rate of visitation it is the quality and intent of that visitation that truly matters.

There are many who know about ‘paid’ solutions for this – Adwords, Banner Ads, possibly ‘social media advertising’ – but this can be expensive, surely gaining ‘organic’ traffic is an attractive idea! Showing up in relevant contexts online is extremely valuable, because you are going to gain more business without needing to shell out for weekly traffic; how is this ideally done?

Like any aspect of publishing online, it is a question of putting the right elements in place, in the right order to maximize your website’s position, your articles, your videos & other digital publications.

Ethics plays a large part in this, because there are people out there who offer you seemingly attractive services to gain organic traffic, there are so-called ‘Black Hat’ methods; these are fraught with danger, your site can be de-indexed, removed from Google altogether if you do not play by the rules.

There are a lot of people who do not respond to the paid listings, those results from Adwords do not always generate the results. But being on page 1 of specific results definitely gives you an advantage. Occupying this page 1 represents actual money – it can mean your plumbing, local construction, window cleaning, Dental clinic, gardening business (or whatever) failing over a period of years by not appearing in Google results on the first page of results. It is that simple.

OK, we know that this is real. We all get those emails offering us Google page 1 – it has become a cliche!

We need to be very careful about which services we go with, it really is critical we don’t get caught with ‘Black Hat’ operators, or scam artists. Far better to hire a local operator who offers ethical, effective services. Your business depends on this.

SEO is now all about the total package, the publication standards of your site – there have been critical changes which render most of the SEO wisdom prior to 2013 null & void!

Traffic, social signals, content, syndication of content and links naturally acquired, these are the true elements which determine ranking. So once you have experienced being completely ripped off by bogus SEO services you might be ready to hire a genuine digital services agency. When you are ready to accept that optimization is the sum total of web publication approaches we can move forward.

 

If you are looking for help in making your local business more visible, in gaining the advantage of ‘page 1’ Google – give me a shout, we can set up a consult and get you out there in front of your market, for real. Let’s talk.

 

 

Website Development In Australia

Web Development & Digital Culture Have Massively Changed

Website Development & Digital Marketing

Since the beginning of mass access to the internet from around 1995, ‘Websites’ have been the default format of presenting business identities, enabling the exchange of information, the sale of goods & services, and of course presenting the business image of all kinds of commerce & industry.

Back in the early days (relatively speaking) building a website was a major undertaking, it was a slow, costly exercise with some businesses investing 10’s of thousands of dollars on expert designers and HTML builders. The resulting on-line HQ for many business owners could run into serious money.

The skills needed to produce a site which looked decent, professional and credible ranged from HTML, Java, CSS, PHP, Dreamweaver, Photoshop a whole slew of acronyms!

Agencies, and high street ‘web-shops’ sprang up in towns, sporting all kinds of garish logos and advertising industry graphics – the web became associated with predominantly graphic designers, and particularly here in Australia business people tended to look to these people to build their professional sites, companies like these assumed a dominant role in providing ‘Marketing’ on the new digital media.

Are Big Name Marketing Agencies Really ‘Better’?

These corporate marketing firms offer a seemingly glossy approach, with expensive designers, and ex-advertising executives delivering their smooth spiel with Powerpoint presentations and statistic-based graphs to impress the CEO’s and management of client businesses. But are the business results gained from these services more effective – or do they simply appeal to the digital naivety of the market?

The point is we have moved very quickly away from these early incarnations of ‘The Web’, today we have a very dynamic digital culture, social media and mobile have massively changed the game; the ultra glossy ‘high ticket’ presentations do not always perform.

The ‘big names’ of the marketing industry do not have anything more to offer than many other services – in fact many of the established big names in the high street are completely lost with today’s digital dynamic.

Many of the advertising ‘name brand’ agencies have been scrambling to re-invent themselves, they ignored the emergent digital culture, and now times have definitely proven to be very different.

The Digital Opportunity

The reality is that you now have a huge opportunity, you can choose to ignore the digital revolution, but this will be to your great cost. The world is changing very quickly, and the digital culture which is emerging via many social media platforms and the ubiquitous usage of Smartphones is massively shifting the numbers.

We need to move the focus away from raw numbers and gain the benefits of building rapport; rather than blasting sales messages we need to be gaining the advantages of customer relationship building; then we need to use the advertising tools to generate genuine sales. 

The  reality of today’s world is that ‘Digital’ is the major growth area, you can successfully implement useful digital approaches, or you can get stung with enormously useless ‘gloss’ from the big pretenders, the cool guys in that high street agency who are angling for another ‘award’ for their cool designs; which have zero impact on your business numbers.

The world has shifted, too many of the ‘big end of town’ agencies trade on industry bluster and hype. The results are being gained from recognizing the specific opportunities for reach & communication. This is the true face of disruption.

The current state of play with web development is vastly different today, excellent sites can be published far more quickly. It is in the after management of business websites that the real power lies.

The ongoing production of high quality, useful content, the syndication of that content, and your digital presence across multiple digital channels; this is the true ‘service area’- and this is not being addressed any more effectively with large name agencies; in fact it is the nimble smaller guerrilla agencies who are crushing it. 

So you will need to choose wisely who you select to help you, are the people working for your business brand more concerned with their next industry award and being seen as ‘Cool’ rather than obtaining genuine results? Avoid the generic approaches, seek out people who offer you tangible results.

So much of the message from the large corporate ‘leaders’ is generic in nature.  It seems many of the executives working in IT & Digital areas these days all read the same blog posts, they spout the same ambiguous, general digital advice, they adopt an air of authority that is not earned, or genuine.

This is why so many small and medium businesses are doing so badly with their digital efforts; they listen to the big companies.

Digital marketing should now be a large part of your overall marketing. If you understand that 82% of adult Australian consumers have a Facebook account, and the raw numbers of participation, then it simply makes good sense. We are all basically aware of the good sense in adopting digital presence building, but too many business owners still do not know just what shape this should take.

 

The Digital Consumer

The Digital Consumer Is Very Much An Emerging Demographic

The Current Situation And Digital Trends 

The Digital Consumer – this term requires investigation. We need to look very closely at what is taking place in our world today, it pays dividends to be aware of what people are doing, how they behave, what specific groups are responding to out there in the real world.

Everywhere there are ‘experts’ it seems, today we are presented with commentators and people who adopt a tone of authority and they tell us how to do things. Noticed that?

They are all over the internet, these apparent sources of wisdom seem to be everywhere these days and there is a pattern – this is what I call the ‘Generic Message’, people regurgitate the content they pick up from ‘influencers’ and ‘thought leaders’  and then run with it, present their version of it to the people they in turn seek to influence.

The result of this can be seen on business blogs, LinkedIn posts, email newsletters & business group presentations all over the place. This generic message becomes the accepted wisdom, and business owners all over the world go away and try to implement social media, website and content production strategies, but the results are very mixed. 

There is no ‘way’, or approach or blueprint for using social media that guarantees results. There are multiple approaches, flexibility is the keyword.

This is the big confusion about using internet resources to promote your business, and why so many obtain mediocre results from their Facebook pages, Tweets, Adwords, or whatever platform they select to ‘Advertise’.

Small business training programs are among the worst examples of this generic approach to using social media. People who are not familiar with the digital world seek out these reassuringly official providers of information – they are given a very general introduction to using the tools, told about ‘engagement’ and directed to post interesting content. Great.

The Digital Consumer, let’s take a look at this concept and try to discover what it means for us if we are running some kind of business.

The tendency has been to consider anything with ‘digital’ in front of it as being for the young.

This may have been a valid way of looking at it up to 10 years ago; the world has been moving very quickly over the past decade. Now we see all age groups are participating very strongly with the digital world – the mobile device revolution and the wide availability of Wi-Fi and increased bandwidth access has seen the vast majority of western people using social media, purchasing goods and services from their internet connections – we are all now highly connected.

To build a useful picture of this ‘Digital Consumer’ we need to call on information from different sources. Obviously we are going to get variations, and differences between the many groups of people that make up our global digital population. Can we present a meaningful profile that most of these groups share? I think we can:

The Digital Consumer Shared Traits

  • All digital consumers are active researchers – they seek out and discover lots of information about the products and services they wish to purchase. They tend to share much of what they find & to then discuss it with others in arriving at a decision. 
  • People who purchase online do not mind waiting a little longer for delivery @ the right price and from the provider who best matches their own thinking.
  • The Mobile Phone Has Become The Television* – in other words mobile devices are now what people focus on, like when the T.V overtook the Radio in the 20th Century.
  • Digital Consumers use multiple sources of information, they have access to considerable information.

As a business owner you should be respecting the Digital Consumer, seeking to align your presentations with them. ‘Consumer Empowerment’ is not just a buzz-word, it represents commercial reality. Digital consumers do not respond well to overt ‘sales’ messages, they become interested in your business through discovery and consumption of content.

What Is Content Marketing?

This is where the concept of ‘Content Marketing’ comes in, your content could take the form of articles, videos, downloaded PDF’s, maps, software, audio. The idea of businesses all now being media companies is a valid one, with staff members including journalists and editor-in-chiefs becoming very common – we need to get that high value content out to our customers and ‘engage’ them (it has to be said).

The Digital Consumer is now a strong reality, it will become increasingly the type of consumer that your business will need to cater for.

Obviously business type is going to determine the nature of your approach, the format and quality of your content; one thing is certain, more and more businesses will be seeking talented content production teams as the demands for digital content grow, and the need to reach and attract today’s connected people massively grows.

INSTAGRAM -Mobile Series

Instagram Offers Us New Opportunities

Can You Really Use Instagram To Build Business?

You might be among the many people who are aware of the growth in social media use, and of the various platforms which are being widely adopted and massively used each day by millions of people globally.

The situation is that mobile, graphics-based platforms such as Instagram & Snapchat have a considerable user base, and these represent many different markets, and localities. But how practical is it to participate with these and gain genuine traction, in fact to leverage them to build your business – or are they simply trivial and superficial mediums where it is just too noisy and chaotic to gain anything of value? 

Good question, and I’m glad you asked!

The Raw Numbers

Let us take a quick look at the numbers, it is always useful to evaluate any channel on the basis of raw numbers, and demographic participation to see if they offer us a meaningful and relevant audience.

Let’s take a look at INSTAGRAM for a start.

Instagram launched on October 6 2010, so it is one of the newer players in terms of internet businesses, and it was not long before the potential for leveraging the global mobile user population was recognized, and Facebook purchased the platform for a cool $1Billion in April 2012.

Currently Instagram has 500 million active users, of which 75% are outside of the USA; not bad, that is a lot of people, but who are they and is it relevant to you?

According to Pew Research, which is a source I tend to refer to quite a lot because they are non-partisan and competent, the age groups represented on Instagram are:

  • 55% are in the 18-29 bracket
  • 28% are in the 30-49 bracket
  • 11% are in the 50-64 bracket

From this it is clear the user groups tend to the younger end of the spectrum, however significant numbers of the other age groups makes it worthwhile to include in our mix of platforms that offer us powerful opportunities. Plus because the platform is targeting Photography and also Video it offers us broad scope for presenting lots of different products & services!

Any platform where significant numbers of people are present on a daily basis of course is a marketing opportunity – it is common sense and the basic and essential nature of business marketing; technology may be driving and creating the space, but it is people who we are interested in.

Conclusions & Moving Forward

OK, so we have evaluated Instagram in very basic terms, and it is pretty clear that we can derive the benefit of being able to reach large numbers of people, and that these people will indeed represent interest in a broad range of markets.

How do we actually go about participating, and driving specific groups to our business?

Photographs! We need to have compelling, intriguing, powerful, attractive, inspiring, delicious, beautiful, interesting photographs of what we work with – or indeed that will derive a response 😉

The actual mechanics of participating on Instagram can be very time consuming, and involve editing and tweaking photographs, using tools and utilities, filters, text editors – in fact a wide range of tools to enhance and add value, messages, links.

It can represent a significant investment of time and skills to optimally use the medium for our marketing. This is common to all social media, it requires that we invest our time, or pay someone else to do it on our behalf. This is why so many people get stumped by using these resources, we do not all resonate with the activity, but one has to adopt a pragmatic approach to all marketing, it is a means to an end – a way to build our business.

This series of posts will be taking a look at the mobile platforms which are widely used in the world. ‘Social Media’ being the slang term for the current state of the internet** – we should simply regard all of these sites as being what people generally get up to online in these times – it makes simple sense to investigate, and actually to implement using them; this is what is happening in the world.

This is where people’s attention is, this site is largely targeting the mobile user, however there are ways to also use it on desktops and laptops-there are a number of utilities and tools available which marketing agencies (like us) and others often use to leverage the potential of Instagram.

We provide services for clients wishing to reach groups on Instagram, this is definitely a worthwhile and profitable approach, one that we include in our Social Media mix of services.

Social Media An Immensely Powerful Business Tool

The two-way dynamic of social media continues to baffle business

The Riddle Of Using Social Media Effectively

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter…Choose Your Platform

82%   online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those ages 30 to 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older – this is significant because it means that a majority or significant quantity of each group is represented. If you then factor in the global participation rate of internet usage – well you have a huge number.

In the year 2000 the number of people using the internet was placed at 738 million; this has blossomed to 3.5 Billion in 2015. We can safely claim that the vast majority of all developed nations are online, with a good percentage of less developed countries also joining the party each month. This critical number has had overwhelming consequences for our entire civilization.

Without getting too academic about it, I think we simply do not fully understand the full impact of being globally connected – those of us who have been online for 20 years tend to take it all for granted these days, but in actual fact the impact on politics, economics, business  has been massive*. Socially the influence and effects have been even more apparent!

The fact that we have all taken to using smartphones in our daily lives is a further development which we are all experiencing, and this has enormous implications for business. There is a critical difference to the dynamic of social media which is completely different to all versions of mass-media we have developed, and were completely used to in the 20th Century – this is of course the interactive nature of the media, as opposed to broadcast.

We can see that this broadcast type thinking is still very much in evidence with many businesses in their attempts to use the new social media platforms, and we can quite easily see that this is not terribly effective. This accounts for around 80% of the commercial content we see each day in our news feeds, and other social media accounts.

Facebook is now the ‘default’ platform for heterogeneous market types – just about every man, woman, child & their dog has a Facebook account. So it is useful to use Facebook as the typical social media activity for people in general.

From a purely ‘business’ perspective Facebook is an interesting case. We have lots of local businesses publishing their business page & displaying that ubiquitous ‘Find Us On Facebook’ sign – however there is a confusion of purpose with this approach. By concentrating on gaining ‘likes’ and gauging the ‘ROI’ of their Facebook activity on the sheer numbers of people seeming to interact with their biz page, many business owners are missing the whole point.

Certainly seeking to build rapport, and interact with customers is valuable as a customer-service activity, but it is the Advertising platform of Facebook which offers us the most powerful employment of using Facebook for business.

However, we should not be using this advertising opportunity in the same way as using the local community newspaper, or radio station; this is where so many business owners get it so terribly wrong. The use of traffic from ‘dark posts’ is the answer to this riddle. Building landing pages, media presentations and opportunities for selling from these online ‘funnels’ is the truly golden mean of leveraging social media for business. This is what we focus on.