What our customers think we do

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My friend Chris Brogan says he’s not a social media expert.

The question is, what do other people believe? When I take a look at two SEO tools, they tell a very different story. For terms that Chris’ website and blog rank well for, we see:


The red arrows are social media search terms. The orange arrows are terms that are closely related to social media, in that many people believe blogging is a form of social media. His site ranks for 2 social media terms and 3 related terms within the first page of Google results.

Here’s a look at the search terms that, in one tool’s estimation, are driving the most search traffic to Chris’ site. Again, red arrows are social media search terms, orange arrows are tangibly related terms:


His site’s top traffic-generating pages include 4 social media pages and 4 related terms pages.

While Chris may say he’s not a social media expert, Google says he is. In turn, Google sends people to him pre-conditioned to believe he’s a social media expert. Part of this is due to his authoring two prominent books on social media. Part of this is due to a legacy fan base that still associates him with the rise of social media.

My friend and mentor Tom Webster has a wonderful Venn diagram that goes something like this:


When what you say you do overlaps with what your customers think you do, there’s magic to be had. You and at least some of your customers are on the same page. Your interests are aligned. Chances are, they’ll buy from you.

So where does this leave Chris Brogan?


Right now, if his business is to experience magic, those two circles need to be joined somehow.

The lesson here for all of us as marketers is that what we say we do has to share some common ground with what our customers think we do. If there’s no overlap, our customers have no reason to think of us and will give their business to someone else. Run this exercise on your own website and see how much overlap there is between what you say you do and what your customers think you do!

What if you don’t want to do what your customers think you do? You have to get new customers — and that’s a tall challenge for any of us.

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3 responses to “What our customers think we do”

  1. It also might have something to do with him keynoting at such events as “Social Media Marketing World, brought to you by Social Media Examiner .The largest gathering of social media pros, period! You’ll rub shoulders with the world’s top social media authorities, book authors and practitioners from major brands when you attend Social Media Marketing World.”

    1. Well, there’s that. 🙂

  2. I usually tell people “do whatever – it can’t really bite you.” SEO proves that this isn’t entirely true. If you want to try on a few “identities,” remember that the web will hold you to your words. Quite literally.

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