In the information age, small and medium-sized companies gain clients by being more engaging and attentive than their large competitors. People want to be listened to and thoughtfully considered, whether they are choosing a product or a mate. Google became successful because it engaged users, supporting them with relevant responses to their specific searches. The website The Daily Beast puts readers in control by allowing them to, in the words of their motto, “read this, skip that.” The Daily Beast began only a few years ago but became so successful that it has entered a partnership with Newsweek.
Conventional wisdom stated that the largest and slickest company would win the most consumers, in much the same way that the most handsome man would marry the prom queen. But consumers, like beautiful women, are tired of being taken for granted or objectified. Consumers may “date” the slick brand, but they will “marry” the organization that is the most honest and considerate of their needs. If you need any proof, consider that Christy Brinkley married the stocky Billy Joel and Julia Roberts married the haggard Lyle Lovett. Consumers are not as shallow as conventional wisdom would have us believe.
So how does a small company let its sensitivity, expertise, and experience be known? Through social media marketing. Websites, blogs, and social networking sites enable small and medium-sized companies to compete with the Goliaths who dominate traditional advertising. Search engine optimization levels the playing field and puts ideas first. A small company writes unique blog posts about its work, and the keywords and tags of those posts are indexed by search engines like Google. When a consumer searches for the product or service that is unique to their needs, the company that cared enough to write about it shows up in search results.
For example, an apartment shopper will get too many general results if she merely types “apartment” into her search engine. She knows this. So she is more likely to search “studio apartment in Brooklyn” or “two bedroom apartment on Lake Superior.” 75% of consumers type in longer, more specific search terms, called long-tail searches. (Chart below.)
Consumers want a post that feels like it was written just for them. Something relevant and catchy. Like the song “Uptown Girl”, which Billy Joel wrote for Christy Brinkley. Or “She Makes Me Feel Good”, which Lyle Lovett wrote for Julia Roberts. On the internet and in life, good content helps nice guys finish first.