In this column Joanne Sweeney-Burke of Media Box looks at the sweeping impact digital media technologies are having on business and whether organisations’ should consider digital and social, a friend or a foe? Here Joanne gives you some top tips on how to embrace digital so that it aligns with your corporate goals and delivers a return on investment.
Digital Media – Embrace, or Your Business Will Be Left Behind
The ever-growing and ever-changing nature of digital has left many businesses in a state of confusion as to how to develop a digital strategy. So whatever stage you are at in your digital programme here are some key tips:
1. Business Objectives: Establish in the first instance what your business needs to achieve from a digital strategy – is it brand awareness, brand loyalty, customer engagement, online PR, generate sales or leads, meeting like-minded organisations or strategic partners? Don’t make the fatal mistake of “doing it because everyone else is.” Otherwise you will find yourself in ‘digital limbo’. Your digital strategy goals should align themselves to your corporate goals as laid out in your business plan.
2. Website: Your website is the hub of all your communications, or at least it should be. Very often I see organisations ignoring their website in favour of their Facebook page, or in some instances, not setting up a website because they have a Facebook page. You must understand, that while Facebook pages are indexed in search engines, nothing can compensate for having your own registered domain and website. Don’t make the fatal mistake of ignoring your own website in favour of social media. It’s not good digital business.
3. Digital Platforms: Now that you understand what you need your digital to deliver, you can choose the platforms that suit your business. Don’t jump in head first and set up Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or a Blog without first understanding what each platform can deliver and secondly if you have the content and expertise to keep them current. Don’t make the fatal mistake of having multiple platforms that are as vacant as an empty shop window. It’s not good for your brand and tells a story in itself.
4. Expertise: Can you set up, customise and populate each platform yourself? If not, can you upskill a staff member or will you outsource it at the preliminary stages then bring it back in-house? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. Don’t make the fatal mistake of losing control of your digital platforms that are effectively the ownership of the organisation so make sure you retain and maintain administration rights and relevant login details.
5. Branding & Design: Just as you would invest time, money and expertise into designing your publicity material, signage, stationery or campaign visuals you must give due brand and design recognition to your brand online. Make sure your digital designer adheres to the dimensions of avatars or banners. Image is everything. Don’t make the fatal mistake of uploading old imagery and logos that don’t fit into profile banners. It’s not a good look.
6. The Digital Strategy: The Digital Strategy is made up of the following elements:
– Approach – the framework and plan for your strategy, how will it align to corporate or organisational goals?
– Audiences – who are your target audiences, can you define them, where are they congregating online? You need to research this.
– Analysis – how will you measure success against input, what results do you want to achieve and in what timeframe?
– Activities – the digital plan – what digital platforms are you going to use and what is your budget?
7. Digital Campaigns: Campaigns have a lifespan, they have a beginning, a middle and an end. They also have a budget and clear goals and outputs. A campaign sits within your Digital Strategy.
8. Going Digital: Assess the level of expertise, budget and digital infrastructure currently within your organisation. Be clear on the objectives of digital media for your company and start at point number one above.
Digital Marketing Wheel – here are some of the digital technologies you can embrace which are low cost but require investment of time.
Digital is not going anywhere, it is with us so we must embrace it in some shape or form. But whatever you do, be informed and make sure you have the correct skillset and strategy to make a positive impact on your organisation.
Digital skills are highly transferrable from sector to sector so I would advise considering upskilling staff if possible. If you need to out-source then be clear on what you need from your supplier/agency.
Digital media is an opportunity, so embrace it.