business men in searchStaying ahead of the competition means mastering many more disciplines than required in the past. Businesses and brands need to meet their customers through traditional tried-and-true platforms, and also wherever their customers’ attention is focused today.

In our connected world, you need a solid plan to meet your customers wherever they go. Here are two great ways to make sure you’re doing just that:

1. Master “traditional” messaging

Traditional messaging standards — such as newspaper and magazine ads, billboards, radio and television commercials — have been supplemented with new mediums that include SMS, email, social media, real-time chat platforms and RSS feeds.

In many ways, it’s important to remember that the world hasn’t changed. Everyone wants to communicate, even though they can choose from many new standards. Make sure you have a solution that covers all of the bases.

2. Stay ahead of the next big movement

A few years ago, when the video application, Vine, was introduced, videos lasting only a few seconds seemed like a passing fad. Instagram got in the video game, and brands began to take advantage of these new ways to reach audiences. Today, the right 6-second video can reach millions by going viral!

One question to ask yourself is, “What if the next big thing really IS the next big thing?” Once your business is reaching and engaging customers regularly on more “traditional” platforms, it’s time to take your initiatives to the next level. You need to maintain more traditional routes of connecting with customers and prospects while keeping an eye on where the ball might be moving.

Here are a few ways to make sure you don’t get left behind:

Become an “Early Adopter”

Being an early adopter means you’re one of the first to try new technologies. While it isn’t necessary or practical to have the newest hardware, stay up to date on the latest software apps and social media platforms. Set up accounts, try them out, and start conversations with your peers and colleagues about how they’re working.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

When a social network initially gets off the ground, it’s not always immediately apparent how it will hold value for businesses or brands.

Consider when Facebook first launched Pages for Business. Was a Facebook page just like a person’s wall, but for brands? As businesses experimented and found new audiences, different standards fell into place. Today, there exists a set of best practices, but those who were there in the beginning got to create and improve these practices. Brands who are late to the game often play catch-up instead of innovating.

Every time a new social network launches, sign up, test it out, and see how it works. I’ve been doing this for years, and this strategy has led me into some interesting situations! As one of the first major media personalities to adopt the social video sharing app, SocialCam, I was quickly able to build more than 1.6 million followers!

So, don’t just get your business into the social game. Try to stay ahead of the curve and carve out territory through innovative mobile app development. If the next app you download turns out to be the “Next Big Thing,” people will turn to your business as a shining example!

Remember: It’s best to keep everything in balance. Don’t put all of your eggs in the untested market of a new app. But if you’re still successfully using email and SMS to reach your customers on more “traditional” platforms, now is the time to expand and start finding new platforms before the competition gets there first!

 

Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is an Emmy Award winning, tech commentator for the TODAY show, CNN, HLN and Fuse. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.