Right now there are lots of companies offering tons of information and courses on internet marketing. Many of them get quite in depth into the many complex facets of how to market successfully and make an income selling products and how to get a large amount of traffic. If you want a comprehensive “encyclopedia” to internet marketing then there are plenty of companies that sell good comprehensive resources.
So, you have found that perfect internet marketing company that has a compelling presentation that they have the latest and greatest system to make big money and just about everyone else on the internet is a bunch of crooks and chumps? I advise anyone who runs into these kinds of claims to run, because the internet will never be that simple. One person or company could never tame the internet in that way, yet many internet marketers try to sell themselves as the top gurus of how to make a fortune on the internet.
Anyone who is familiar with Star Trek is familiar with the Borg, one of the greatest movie villains of film history. The Borg is actually an alien race that is half man and half machine, and the term “Borg” refers to the race as a collective mass of individual units that may appear at first to be separate, but actually are part of an interlocked technology driven conscience that think and act in unison.
So what does this have to do with social media and internet marketing? The Borg actually embodies the most uncaring and ruthless traits of a corporation. When the humans successfully kill one of the Borg, the Borg is able to collect and analyze the data of how one of their members was killed, then put their collective minds together to come up with a way to enhance their defense systems.
Before long, the Borg adapt the new defense technology into every one of the representative Borg units. Then the humans find their weapons can no longer kill the Borg at the same setting that they used to kill the Borg even minutes before. They have to increase the intensity and strength of their weapons to kill the next Borg, and that only allows them a few more minutes before the Borg adapt once again.
At some point it is expected the Borg will adapt so well to the weapons that they will no longer have any effect and the humans will be defenseless. You as the internet marketer start to feel you really are like Captain Picard, you get “assimilated” somewhat, then when you finally realize what it is you are dealing with you find small ways to forge your own identity.
So what does this have to do with social media and internet marketing, you ask? Millions of individuals have investigated the internet to see if it will help them supplement their income. Millions of men and women are frustrated with their jobs and struggle paying their bills. They often take on a 2nd or even 3rd job, but find that this means they have to accept even lower pay. They end up working like a slave their every waking hour, just to keep up with their bills.
The internet seems to be the only alternative for many of these individuals. So they search the internet for ways to make money and find there are hundreds, actually thousands of eager internet marketers offering to “help” them make money on the internet. Almost without fail the crafty sales letters brag about the latest “killer” internet marketing technique that is going to drive thousands of visitors to this new prospect and they will be making money hand over fist.
The sales pitch usually addresses the fears of the average working class individual and promises that all they have to do is buy this great internet marketing system; then pretty soon their life will change and they can quit their dead end jobs and buy a mansion and a boat and take six month vacations to the beaches of Cancun. All the individual has to do is put the several hundred dollar charge on their credit card for the “heavily discounted” internet marketing system, and they will be set.
If you are desperate at some point you will give one of these programs a try. Then you have to try to come up with a way to explain to your friends and family that you did not fall for a “get rich scheme,” explaining you will not be pressuring them to buy or sell a miraculous vitamin fruit jelly, like some of the recent network marketing trends.
So what does this have to do with social media and internet marketing, you ask? Please be patient, I’m getting there.
The company that used to be the best analogy to the Borg is Google. In the early days of Google, many scheming internet marketers found it was easy to “game” the search engines by exploiting the loopholes in search engine technology. This would include gimmicks like embedding keyword rich (but not visible) text into webpages to fool Google into giving the web pages top search engine placement.
This is why it was so difficult to find much relevant content when you used Google to do research in the early days. The sites that had great content were buried in the search engine rankings by the sites using all of the gimmicks. Google refers to them as “Black Hat” strategies and seeks to ban those from the search engine rankings when it is discovered they are trying to game the system. This did not go over too well with the people who initially designed the Google search engine algorithms; they sought a way to eliminate non essential websites that were clogging up the Google search engines rankings.
So, like the Borg, Google gradually began developing software to more efficiently seek out and eliminate or “ban” the imposters, but the technology was still not perfected and legitimate websites still struggled while the imposters kept coming up with new tricks to “beat” the search engines. They came up with special rules for keyword rich articles and what they deemed to be “relevant content.” In the process the new Google SEO requirements sometimes made it hard for the smaller websites who may not have intentionally done anything wrong to achieve decent search engine rankings.
We have since seen Google get even more sophisticated and the algorithms for ranking sites have become very complex, to the point where Google has rooted out most of the imposters. In the process they have imposed stringent requirements for any website to be taken seriously. A simple “Mom and Pop” simple website advertising the family business gets little respect from Google, even though the owners of that website never intended to break any of Google’s rules.
And thus the Borg effect. Google got tired of lazy internet marketers scheming ways to exploit search engines and laid out their own rules to “assimilate” or be destroyed (banned from search engines). And since Google controlled the majority of search engine traffic and only few search engines are completely independent of Google, Google got its way. And Google called the shots for how they expected internet marketing to be done.
Until social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook came along. Social Media, which was once considered a fad, is now the primary target of just about anyone who has expertise in marketing. And although they still have a lot of power on the internet, the search engines are adapting to social media. In a radical shift, it is becoming more difficult for businesses to get ranked in search engines without having strong social media presences.
As the internet changes rapidly, anything that cannot keep up tends to be diminished or fall by the wayside, much like being “assimilated” by the Borg. Social Media started out with the perception that it is where a lot of college aged students and teenagers like to go and hang out and socialize, and this is still basically true.
But people of all ages have gravitated towards it and it has grown to the point that we all have heard Facebook would be the third largest country in the world if it would be a country. So we see Social media sites “assimilating” a lot of the traffic that used to belong to sites such as Google or Yahoo. Not that the search engines are struggling, it is just that they now have a lot more competition.
Although Facebook is not quite arrived as Faceborg, by the year 2013, Facebook users are projected to have grown past the populations of either China or India. As social media sites like this have overtaken sites such as Google for most internet users it has caused a radical shift in how internet marketers approach social media.
If you are a complete newbie to the internet marketing world then the best way to break down and understand internet marketing is to think like the human trying to kill the Borg. Someone may find something that works for a little while but the competition will likely figure out a way to catch up and push you out of the way if you ever get complacent and comfortable with internet marketing.
So while you will find lots of helpful information on the internet to help you get started, the competition is constantly upgrading and evolving and looking for ways to take over the dominant role in your market share.
I avoid most internet marketers because while they have learned the art of salesmanship and hype, once you get their products you may find they can be poor teachers when it comes to covering all of the nuances of marketing.
But what is “How to Slay the Borg Marketing”?
It is when the marketer makes claims such as “No one else but me has this information” or “My Program is the only one you can buy that guarantees your success!” …Only by purchasing my program will you get the ‘secrets’ to dominate your competition!”
Some get quite boastful:
“Most of the other people trying to sell you information on how to slay the Borg don’t know what they are talking about, only my program tells you how to slay the Borg and keep them dead permanently!”
The truth is that it is possible to make money on the internet. It is also true that you can get lost in all of the hype and salesmanship of Internet Marketers who make bold claims about their way being the best or only way. But what is the right perspective for sorting out the scams vs. the innovative marketing products on the internet?
If you are a local business with a targeted customer list, it may be that your primary purpose of using the internet and social media is to simply add to the communication arsenal you need to serve your customers. You can start small with a simple social media presence, and your initial goal should be to have a place for you and your customers to interact.
Don’t worry too much about the learning curve. With a little persistance you will have a strong social media presence before you know it. Add special incentives and opportunities for your customers to get hooked on the benefits of following you on social media as soon as you are ready. Look for free marketing opportunities such as foursquare.com and build as you go.