An article at Inside CRM lists 15 websites that can influence your business for good or bad, but the article is rather flawed. Here are the 15 sites the article lists that are influential enough to make or break your company:
- Colbert Nation
- The Smoking Gun
- The Consumerist
- The Huffington Post
The problem with this list is that most of these websites don’t give a hoot about your small business enough to pay it one iota of attention, let alone boost it on a pedestal or drag it through the mud. Of this list, most small business owners need only consider 4 of them, maybe 5, as potential websites to concern themselves with in protecting their brand.
Those 5 sites are:
- Twitter (wild card)
Google, of course, is the most popular search engine today. They really don’t care about your site. An impartial source, Google algorithms do all the work. It’s up to you really how well, or how poorly, you are perceived through Google’s lenses. Google does nothing; you do everything. They catalog information; you present it. But you can build a solid business online without being listed in Google (though I wouldn’t recommend it).
YouTube is a video sharing site. Yes, you can have videos go viral. Many have. But look at the odds. Seriously, millions of videos uploaded, only thousands with a record of success. Possible, but don’t bet money on it. Just build your brand honestly, create and upload videos if they’ll benefit you, and just do good business. To be honest, YouTube isn’t for everyone, but for those that it will benefit it has potential.
Facebook is one of the best ways you can build your brand. Like Google, it does nothing. You do everything. These sites provide the opportunity; it’s up to you to take advantage of it. Network, network, network.
MySpace is for teens. Does your business cater to teens? Use it. If not, forget about it.
Twitter, I’ve never used it. I’ve heard it’s great. It probably is. Many people use it and say sweet things. If you want to give it a go I see no reason why you shouldn’t.
But what about the rest of these sites? Amazon.com is an online book store and product retailer. Do you sell through them? Is it a place that you could sell through? Then by all means it could help you. If you’re not a retailer then Amazon likely won’t be much good for you.
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. Most of us don’t need to be listed there. Have you made any significant accomplishments? Maybe they deserve a mention. But don’t expect a flood of business just because your friend Biff went up and told the world that you won the Blue Ribbon Award for Dog Grooming in Nantucket, Illinois (Is there a Nantucket in Illinois?).
TechCrunch, Valleywag, The Smoking Gun, The Consumerist, and The Huffington Post are all news sites. If you aren’t newsworthy then you likely won’t be mentioned on any of these. TechCrunch and Valleywag only deal with technology so if you aren’t a technology company then don’t count on it. The Smoking Gun destroys reputations. Sound inviting? The Huffington Post is a political site. The Consumerist is The Smoking Gun of the marketplace, but if you aren’t a big brand worth talking about then they likely won’t care that you ticked off Bongo the Clown because you didn’t have any red balloons.
That leaves Oprah, Colbert Nation, and Digg. Oprah is very influential. But you have to work your soles off to get on her show and it’s a task. Unless you have something that has a very wide and potentially popular appeal, don’t waste a lot of time chasing Oprah.
Stephen Colbert is a funny guy. Why would he care about your small business? Only Colbert knows.
And Digg, hmmm. Interesting site. Can help you get a lot of traffic. But if you look like you are trying to get publicity through Digg then you’ll get blasted by the in crowd at Digg. They either like you or they don’t and they generally don’t like marketers. But you can get some traffic here. Personally, I think you’re better off with StumbleUpon and a few other social sites. The most popular isn’t always the best.
Honestly, Yahoo and MSN Live can do you better service than some of these sites. As a small business, just stick to the basics and you’ll do fine.
Do you have a small business Internet marketing blueprint?