If you’re one of the businesses still to take a leap into digital, it may feel frightening but it needn’t be - there are methods that can be used to break the process down into bite-sized chunks. Taking things step by step ensures you can be confident the approach is right and minimises the risk that always comes with trying something new.
As with anything, the starting point is to define what the long-term goals are. You need to be clear what you want from your digital engagement, how the planned activity will support your wider organisational objectives and what the company needs to do to make your efforts a success. With the latter, for example, you’ll need a process in place that sees any data and feedback from online activity cascaded back into the business, you may need a dedicated customer care team handling online enquiries during the day, evenings and at weekends (not forgetting there should always be a crisis provision), and there is a definite necessity for social media guidelines to be put in place for staff from the outset too.
Working on the assumption that as a business you can easily define and communicate your unique selling points, the next job is to be clear on who your audiences are. These should of course include your loyal customers but also those you’d like to convert into clients and key influencers.
Understanding the specifics of these groups and how they behave means you should quite quickly be able to work out which channels you will use to share content. To illustrate, if you want to target teenagers, there is no point developing a page on Facebook – Twitter, Instagram and messenger app’s such as Snapchat are currently much more popular with this bunch of early adopters.
Just setting up a brand presence on the relevant channels is not enough. Having decided which technologies, media and tools you will use, significant time should be spent on agreeing what the content will actually be – just pushing out a sales message will get you nowhere. Engaging with people means delivering relevant information in visually appealing and shareable formats, including images, infographics and video, not to mention ensuring you are giving them ways to get involved with your brand. This could be by asking them to share their own images or stories, vote for their favourite product or by entering a competition. Co-creating content will help to build your own community and should also result in customers becoming an active advocate of your company. This is not to be sneezed at - third party endorsement and word of mouth are two of the most powerful ways to generate new business, after all.
Finally, there is one other key area that mustn’t be forgotten - the metrics that will allow you to monitor and report progress. Before activity starts you will need to decide on what your key performance indicators are and what success looks like. How else will you know that what you are doing is working, be in a position to swiftly change direction if the need arises and convince the management team to allocate more to the marketing budget? If you’re working with people who think digital activity is madness, you need to be able to show the method in it!
Hopefully this has helped as a starting point and there is plenty more information out there if you look. For a great visual reference, it is worth visiting www.digitalengagementframework.com - pin it by your desk, you’ll be glad you did.