I often talk about being authentic. This is something I firmly believe in within your messaging, your marketing strategy and your business vision. Being honest and the to yourself is vital to achieving success in today’s consumer-led economy.
A key part of being authentic is being organic. Whether this is your SEO, your social strategy or your broader content distribution strategy, taking an organic approach pays dividends. That’s not to say that advertising doesn’t have its place because it does – and it is a very big place – but buying your way to the top of Google or to the most followers on Twitter is not a recipe for success.
Why? Surely getting to number 1 on Google is a winner? Surely having 1M followers on Twitter is a good thing with the reach that it brings? Yes, but what does it really achieve?
With SEO we all know shortcuts now but shortcuts, especially if they’re anything like my dad’s driving shortcuts, aren’t guarantee to getting to the right place. Getting to the wrong place quicker is not a good thing. Black hat SEO has always been around and, dare I say it, it always will be. Trying to trick Google by working around the algorithm almost always ends in a penalty later and these can be extremely hard to overcome and recover from. The best way to success is to produce a great site that is deep and engaging and then encourage your network to get involved with it. Grow it slowly by posting great content and Google will reward you.
There are still far too many businesses interested in follower numbers and likes. Have we got more than our competitors? Yes – pat on the back? No – why not? Grow it NOW! These are just vanity metrics. My account’s bigger than your account. Who cares – this isn’t the playground. What matters is are the right people following and are they engaging with what you post. Maybe your target audience is 10,000 potential customers. If you can get half of them to follow and engage that is far more effective than having 500,000 totally irrelevant people following you but never engaging. Grow your numbers through targeting the right people and serving them great content so you are shared and more of the right people follow you.
Don’t be tempted to take the cynical, vain shortcuts. Be organic. Be authentic.