You’ve invested a lot of time and resources in developing your brand, and now that you’re ready to begin marketing your business online, it’s understandable to be eager or even impatient to see your digital brand and marketing plans produce new clients, customers and sales. No matter how eager or impatient you may be, maintaining a good online reputation is vitally important to the long-term success of your business.

Be Wary Of Marketing Shortcuts

Building a successful digital brand through blogging, social media, and other digital platforms takes a lot of time and hard work. Simply creating a blog and your social media accounts is easy, but it’s only the first step. Creating engaging content is vital, but even great content by itself doesn’t automatically lead to digital marketing success – you have to attract subscribers, friends, and readers to your blog and social media accounts, and that requires time, resources and effective networking techniques. Unfortunately, there are individuals and businesses online that promise “shortcuts” to success through various questionable, illegitimate and even illegal means. Too often legitimate businesses and organizations are swayed by the promise of cheap, overnight results, only to find these results don’t live up to the hype, and their reputation and online properties are often left damaged as a result.

Keywords and Advertising

There is a legitimate “shortcut” to digital marketing success – search engines and social media networks like Google, Facebook and Twitter offer keyword and advertising solutions that can result in higher search engine rankings, premium content placement and more exposure for your brand. However, many businesses still don’t get the immediate or guaranteed results they want, and often seek other, less reputable solutions.

Legitimate Internet Marketing Doesn’t Promise Results Overnight

There are many legitimate ways to promote your digital brand and content online, but they all require time, patience and hard work. The old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” applies to many of the promises made by illegitimate marketers. For instance, every individual or business with a Facebook Page wants more “Likes,” because Facebook Likes are a measure of the popularity of a Page and provide a rough estimate of how many Facebook users follow the Page and receive content on their feeds. Now, imagine if someone promised to provide 10,000 Likes on your Page! It sounds great at first, but how likely is it that this person or company is going to provide 10,000 Likes through legitimate means? More than likely, some sort of automated tool or system will be used to produce the Likes, which means that those 10,000 Likes, while making your Page appear to be popular, don’t actually represent legitimate users and potential customers, and it is extremely unlikely that those 10,000 Likes will result in anything close to 10,000 potential new customers or sales. The same applies to marketers who promise the “too good to be true” success with SEO techniques, affiliate networks, link exchanges and email marketing – more often than not, businesses end up paying for results that are either false, unsustainable and even damaging.

The Perils Of A Damaged Online Reputation

When an illegitimate or even illegal marketing technique is used to promote a business, poor or useless results aren’t the only real-world consequences – companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter can impose costly penalties as well. Google regularly tweaks their search algorithms to reward legitimate content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and punish illegitimate content and techniques, and a website or blog can literally plummet in search rankings overnight. Additionally, companies can suspend or even delete online accounts if they believe that that the account holder has violated their Terms of Service (TOS) in some way, and most social media services expressively forbid purchasing followers or using illegitimate techniques and services. Finally, email spamming can lead to steep civil and even criminal penalties.

Maintain Your Reputation

A legitimate adviser or consultant won’t promise a certain number of Likes in a month, but they will promise to help you implement strategies and techniques that have been proven to produce real, quantifiable results over time, leading to more new clients, customers and sales. If you do decide to go with a third-party to help with your results, it is imperative that you make sure that anyone you hire or contract to promote your content or accounts uses proper and legitimate means to do so, helping you grow your digital brand the right way and maintaining your good online reputation.