I have recently completed a digital marketing audit for an SME in a fairly niche sector involving enterprise software. It has reminded me that the digital opportunity is still largely unknown in some sectors and first mover advantage exists for the brave and nimble. Although the main thrust was PPC and Natural Search performance, I also reviewed use of social media – partially toward better natural search results.
I looked at seven companies in the sector and evaluated their use of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia. The following table sets out what I found:
The difference between Company 6 and Company 1 is dramatic. Both are successful businesses but only one uses Social Media channels in a meaningful way. It is no surprise that Company 6 also has the best natural search performance and also engages with PPC – one of only two of the companies reviewed to do so.
Clearly not all buyers are engaged with digital marketing channels and so companies can still be successful without engaging in the space. All the companies I looked at had a website and although some were better than others I suspect all are supporting the sales cycle. However, it is clear that the Internet is becoming increasingly important in generating leads in the majority of sectors and so there is catching up to be done.
Trade between individuals, companies and even countries is as a result of networks, and networks exist both on and offline. Just because companies are not engaged with digital networks doesn’t mean they are disconnected entirely. However, throughout history human beings have migrated to faster, simpler, sexier means of communication and the social media channels reviewed above fit that criteria.