Wild Wild Web
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Wild Wild Web

This week at Black Tie we’ve been going about business as usual, designing landing pages, getting approval on websites, drafting blogs, updating social media, and animating a new video that just came across the table. It’s been like dodging bullets at the O.K. Corral. Not in a bad way though, in a Wyatt Earp, walk out unscathed way. This week’s tall order of Sarsaparilla has caused us to really take a step back and realize that working in the digital landscape is a lot like making your way across the American Wild West.

There are very few rules on the Internet. You can do whatever you dream with no one to tell you no, or to stop. It’s really quite magical and scary at the same time. It’s full of snake oils and quick fixes to your problems. But, real digital cowboys know that no matter what the prize in the soap is, the only way you can get to it is with honest work and diligence. Lets take a look at two of the most misunderstood and wild landscapes out there: Social Media and SEO.

Social Media

Social Media is literally the Wild Wild West of the Internet. People can do whatever they want with anonymous impunity. This can be extremely frustrating for businesses that are used to the neat and orderly customer interactions of the pre-Internet era.

It’s important to remember that social media was not created for businesses. The original intent of social media was to connect people to other people, it just turns out that people also want to connect with brands and businesses. It’s incredible that Facebook, Twitter, and Google have welcomed businesses to their campfire; but just like you don’t ride another man’s horse, you’ve got to play by the rules here as well.

Social media allows customers to say whatever they want to you whenever they want. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all you can do about it is sit back and take it. Bad reviews are like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to the Union Pacific. They come unannounced and even though it’s the reviewer doing the dirty work, they can easily sully your reputation more than their own. And, the most discouraging part for businesses is that there is no sheriff you can run to for help. You’ve got to look out for your own on social media. Yes, you can delete unsavory comments and tweets, you can disable the review section and visitor posts, but this is contradictory to being social.

There’s a vast wide trail out there, in the end you’ve got to say, “Howdy” to everyone you pass.

Search Engine Optimization

If Search Engines are the rivers that bring your customers to you, Search Engine Optimization is the boat that brings them across. But like the raging Colorado, rivers are always changing. So to should your tactics to optimizing your site.

Many companies have created SEO snake oils that promise to jump you to the top of the rankings overnight. They’ve given everyone the impression that by taking a tablespoon of strong, bitter medicine (normally at a hefty price) the next day your web traffic will be organically flocking to your site. The thing is, snake oil won’t help you cross the river. Good SEO doesn’t happen overnight, there are no quick fixes, and the boat you make your way across in needs to be well made and adaptable as the river changes.

Just in the past six months Search Engines have changed their algorithms and redefined what makes good SEO. If you’re looking for a quick fix, you won’t find one. Good things like pork & beans and effective SEO take time.

We’re in the wild west of the digital era right now, and it’s a great time to be alive. With no limits on what is possible and nobody to tell us no, there is no telling what your business can achieve. However, in a landscape of constant uncertainty it’s important to stick with your guns and conduct your business honorably. This way no matter what wilds the west throws you, you’ll come out on top like the Sharpshooter herself, Annie Oakley.