Digital marketing is an attractive marketing channel for many businesses as it:
- gives your community a resource to come back to
- stimulates excitement in your network and industry
- increases traffic to your website, blog and profiles
- can be done internally with minimal bottom line expenditure
But to achieve real benefits and avoid costly mistakes and pitfalls, it is important to execute digital marketing campaigns with as much understanding and thorough forward planning as all other marketing activities.
Here is a list of tips on digital marketing good practice to integrate into your digital marketing strategy:
(1) Values and Vision – Always make your company values part of your digital marketing strategy and ensure that all messages fit with and reinforce your brand positively.
(2) Informed Staff – As every tweet and post should be ‘on message’ and informed responses are often expected immediately, the staff member responsible should have a thorough understanding of all the organisation’s activities and be closely in tune with the company strategy. The job of updating social media sites should not be left to part time temporary admin staff.
(3) Think before you Post – Ever heard the saying: “A lie can travel half way round the world while the truth is still putting it’s shoes on”? The same is true of bad PR from ineffective or damaging digital marketing. Remember, while the instant viral capacity and huge reach that can be achieved is a benefit for great digital marketing campaigns, but it also means mistakes are amplified. Messages posted on social media sites are much more difficult to recall than an incorrect print job.
(4) Risk Assessment – When assessing marketing channels and activities for risk, ensure you accurately note the risk of non-participation. Many organisations avoid social media as they see it as a risk to the organisation. What is often not considered is the risk of non-participation. People will take about you both on and offline whether you like it or not, so it is better to be an active participant in the conversation and change the conclusions for the better, than to miss out on the PR opportunity.
(5) Integrate into your Marketing Plan – Digital marketing should not just be done for the sake of it, and social media platforms should not just be used an afterthought to send out news too late for other channels. Your approach to social media should fit with your marketing strategy as a whole and your ‘voice’ should match that of the rest of your brand in order to be taken seriously online and achieve results across the board.
(6) Observe and Monitor – Don’t just post once a day and leave it. You should be regularly observing and monitoring what others say about you. Use platforms like Hootsuite to stream and highlight key words and phrases in order to pick up everything that is being said, and – if relevant and useful – join in. Set up tools to regularly update you on these conversations. This can include alerts, bookmarks and subscriptions, so information is provided to you direct.
(7) Patience is a Virtue: Wanting a quick fix is a common theme, when organisations speak to me about what they can achieve with digital marketing. But as a ‘social’ media, digital platforms should be about relationship building, not quick fixes. And when building long-term relationships, patience is important.
(8) Short-term Measures – Your return on investment (ROI) should be measured in metrics rather than sales. Look at engagement and reach, as it is through conversations and sharing over time that you will see real results. No instant increase in sales does not mean no success. See point (7). Information on some free measurements tools here.
(9) Long-term Measures – Instead of ROI, think ROR: ‘return on relationships’. As well as short-terms metrics such as reach (see point (8), measure long-term factors such as customer satisfaction, loyalty, interaction and feedback, plus some other suggestions here. Use them to make longitudinal comparisons to show value over time.
(10) Engage, Don’t Interrupt – Listen to conversations online and look for influencers with sentiment, authority and reach. Once identified, begin to join in relevant conversations with them, where you can offer useful and welcome input. Whatever you do, don’t but in with sales messages.
(11) Understand your Target Audiences – Knowing the needs and engagement style of the people you want to connect with will give you a much better chance of having a positive experience with the conversations you join. Take time to find this out and work with the information.
(12) Don’t Dive In – Before reacting and getting involved in groups, blogs, discussions, think carefully about your approach. It’s good for you to take part quietly at first by just adding your experiences to build awareness of your knowledge, before taking an opinion-based stance.
(13) Turn Negatives into Positives – If the tone of the conversation is negative, be polite, be honest and offer positive support. Listen out for negative feedback. If the comments aren’t accurate, politely offer the accurate information. Always thank people for feedback, both positive and negative, and use the negatives to look at ways you can make improvements – then let people know you have taken on board their feedback and are doing something about it, then offer them the chance to ‘try you again’.
(14) Give – Always offer something to provide benefit and value for the people reading your comments and thoughts. Proactively create your own useful social media content, and reactively share useful information from others.
(15) Be Genuine and Honest – You must always be genuine, informative and authentic, providing the personable side of your business or organisation. Don’t try and hide or delete feedback you don’t like, as this will give the impression you have even more to hide than you actually do.
(16) Entertain – People use social media for entertainment as well as sharing, so try to make what you do fun and entertaining. If you’re creating groups, apps or widgets in social media networks, then be entertaining and genuine. This will encourage them to share information with their networks. Have personality, but without compromising your brand personality.
(17) Right Time and Place - Be there for your target audience when they want you to be, and in the place where they normally spend their time. If your customers use Facebook at work, offer them useful ideas on Facebook during office hours. If they like to tweet and share links in the evening, then make sure you’re on Twitter answering their questions after tea. Remember, you should be seen to be active in real time.
(18) Be Social – It’s not about you. People will quickly become bored if you’re always talking about your brand, product or service. When you encounter a post, or series of posts, that you can add value to, do so. Referral is best when coming from a trusted relationship.
(19) Practice - Refining your social media efforts by testing different ways to improve your engagement is a good approach. There isn’t a single best practice approach, and you will need patience whilst building awareness and relationships. Find what works best for you and your audience.
(20) Don’t wait it won’t be worth it - Plan your approach to create a strategy which makes your presence online more effective and connected to your other marketing initiatives, but be prepared to take instant action on new opportunities.
If you would like to discuss moving your digital marketing strategy forward, then give me a call on 011 33 20 21 21 or visit my contact page.
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