lessons in digital marketing

Admittedly, I never studied digital marketing in college. Then again, how many people have? So much of this industry is about learning on the go and adapting as you need to.

For all the online course, experts and ebooks out there trying to teach you the do’s and don’t of digital marketing – there are some lessons you won’t find in any course book.

1. There is a Big Brother and he is watching

No college education is complete without a class on George Orwell’s 1984 and for a while we all walked around with a sense of smug invulnerability to institutional propaganda mixed with paranoia. But like college haircuts and bouts of veganism that all faded and we got on with our lives. But if my time in digital marketing has taught me anything it’s that Orwell could have had a point.

It’s nothing sinister; I’m talking about the information Google are gathering about us as users. You only need to look at the dashboard of Google Analytics to see just how much they know about all of us.

Many of us use this information on a daily basis to plan strategies and monitor our progress – but this omnipresent surveillance of our activity really makes you think about just how much Google can tell us about ourselves.

2. It’s okay to talk to strangers

We were all warned about stranger danger and talking to people online. Online networking had a bad name for a long time and social media especially gained a bad reputation as they term “Cyberbullying” was on the tip of every parent’s association member’s tongue.

Today, however, social networking has become a major part of business and you inevitably have to take the plunge and talk to someone you don’t know, but how is that different than introducing yourself at a conference?

3. It’s okay to play with your food

Let’s be honest, if it weren’t for people taking pictures of food Instagram wouldn’t have lasted a week. Restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and bars have all jumped on the trend of sharing pictures of fresh coffees in the morning, burgers at lunchtime and that all important cocktail on a Friday afternoon.

This trend gave rise to what it possibly my favorite Tumblr of all time – Pictures of Hipsters Taking Pictures of Food. I suggest taking a few minutes to enjoy that later on.

On Facebook especially, images reign supreme as marketing tools. Visual content has just as much to contribute to a digital marketing strategy as written content does. How many times have you craved a coffee after seeing a picture of someone’s Starbucks order with their name spelled horribly wrong?

4. There’s a dark corner of the internet where content goes to die and it’s called page 2 of Google

I’ll be the first to admit I am very guilty of this. If I don’t find what I was looking for in the first few results I feel like I failed at using Google. Working in digital marketing I soon realized I was not alone and also just how hard websites have to work to fight this trend.

I learned very quickly that you can’t just write the copy for a webpage or a blog post and send it out into the world on it’s own, you have to send backup. Search Engine Optimization may be quite a mouthful but it’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s an indispensable step in content marketing, brand awareness and inbound marketing and something many of us spend our days working on.

5. There’s no such thing as being fashionably late

In a sea of brand new content and fresh ideas, static content just sinks to the bottom. Digital marketing is one of those industries where you have to have your finger on the pulse; blink and you’ll miss it. You have to choose your moment to join in on a topic or contribute to a discussion but wait too long and the moment has passed.

Static, outdated content has not place on the Internet. There’s little sense in talking about something that happened last week when everyone else is talking about what happened yesterday. I think this is where a lot of people fall down in their digital marketing, keeping it on time and up to date and why digital marketers are the ones checking their emails last thing at night.

Do you have any nuggets of digital marketing wisdom? Is there something you rely on every day they never taught you in college?

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