Create an online strategy and diversify your digital portfolio.
Seems like a few short years ago the basic requirements for marketing your business included; being listed in the yellow pages, having a great store front, a slick logo, a quality business card, and perhaps a solid handshake. Today, your business requires a digital strategy – a digital handshake, if you will.
Where to start?
Digital Media makes it easier to market your business. The many digital channels allow you to complete the 4 P’s of marketing; Product, Place, Price and Promotion. However, online these P’s can become fragmented and even elusive. It’s not always easy to keep up with the growing number of Social Media options, but even if you start (or have started) with Facebook or Twitter, it’s quite easy to create and expand from here into other digital channels.
A great example is Instagram, an easy to use and popular photo sharing App, that can be integrated and posted to both your Twitter or Facebook feeds. If you were wondering how popular Instagram is, there are currently 31,992,000 unique monthly users, on both iOS and Android devices.
Should you consider joining other digital networks?
Social Media is where your brand comes to life. It’s where you tell your story. It’s where you personify the unique voice of your brand and use it to connect with past, current and future customers. It’s where you “post the walk” and “type the talk”.
Digital is not only migrating to mobile Apps – but also diversifying into new social media networks. To most users, Facebook is considered to be the current Social Media medium of choice, however to younger users, it’s already passé. They have moved on to SnapChat, Twitter or Whisper. Adults are changing too – Facebook is not the primary Social Media for many adult users, who have also expanded into other channels; Pinterest, LinkedIn, BBM, and Instagram.
I would suggest it’s certainly worth the time to investigate new social media networks. Several have grown in popularity over the past 12 months, including; Reddit (13% growth), LinkedIn (9%) and Pinterest (6%). When you do find the right fit and create a successful presence on any of these new networks, you’ll need to monitor and possibly adjust your content – the only investment this takes is your time. If you don’t have the time, there are many on-line tools available to assist with creating & monitoring your digital brand. Before you start, however, it really pays to create a digital strategy.
What’s a Digital Strategy?
Amber Horsburgh (Strategist at Big Spaceship) has a great slideshow “Explain Digital Strategy to your Mum” which I encourage you to review. Note: If you tweet from this page, you’ll access a free PDF download!
A quick over-view:
1) What are your goals and objectives?
eg: More exposure for your brand (building “brand equity”), more sign-ups for your email marketing (or “prospects” – people who have actively requested more information from you) or increased sales (often called “conversion”), or to empower fans of your brand (or “brand advocates”) who are positively sharing/endorsing your product/service. Set these objectives and create a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) document to measure these.
2) – Identify your audience
– Who is your target audience? It can be beneficial to create a “persona” using;
– Demographics (name, age location)
– Pyschographics (goals, motivations, values)
– Consumption Patterns (Amount, Sources, Pain Points, and Influences (Who, What, Why)
3) Figure out the Problem (Barriers that could stop you from reaching these objectives. These
are more about the target audience’s problems, not your company.) Seek insights to this
problem – or problems.
4) Develop a Strategy (all that you need to do to reach your goal, expressed in one creative idea)
5) Create some Tactics (everything you need to do to bring the strategy to life)
6) Measure and Optimize. Based on the tactics, set some Benchmarks to see how they perform
towards achieving your KPI’s and Objectives. When things begin to deviate, correct these with
Where should you start?
Take time to discover where your target demographic spending time on-line. Social networking is most popular among 25-to-34-year-olds. Research indicates; 29% of Facebook users, 31% of Google+ users, 32% of Pinterest, and 31% of Twitter users fall into this age range. However, when it comes to Instagram (39%), Tumblr (45%) and YouTube (32%), which are graphic based Social Media (photos and videos) the biggest users are aged 16-24. Read more.
It makes sense to keep your business active across several digital networks – if they’re a good fit. Ask yourself “What benefit will my company provide to users on these networks?”. Some Social Media channels will work for your brand, others may not. If it’s not a good fit for your product/service, it’s perfectly acceptable to not use it, regardless of popularity.
Facebook and Twitter are a great start, but have you investigated; Instagram, Reddit, FourSquare, Google+, Pinterest, Jelly, Medium, Chirpify, Vine or Yelp? These could become strong networks for your company to increase it’s on-line profile, accessing new markets, and possibly influencing new/current customers.
For business owners, LinkedIn is a recognized digital business network, utilized to attract new employees (or help find new careers). LinkedIn is also perfect for your brand to connect and interact with current professional networks, through the creation of a LinkedIn company page. There are many educated and affluent people on these networks, who will benefit from the knowledge you can share on these pages. Keep it up and they will soon look to you (or your company) as a trusted resource – or a potential employer/supplier.
- Remember, trying and possibly failing gracefully is not a bad thing. If things don’t work for your company in these digital channels, shut it down and move on.
- It’s becoming increasingly evident that your business needs to be active on several Social Media networks to remain competitive.
- Use the digital strategy (outlined above) to create a roadmap that would best serve your business and engage your target audience.
- Don’t be surprised if you are required to adjust this (or even change direction) as you move forward
Invest the time to remain active and monitor these networks, keeping in mind the benefits these Social Media networks can provide your customers – and ultimately in the long-term, how they can help grow your business.
Happy posting – and remember to keep monitoring those digital channels and adjusting your strategy to ensure positive results for your company!
– Darrin Searancke