Digital: Do it right or don’t do it at all

IF you’re reading this paper I’m going to make two assumptions. First that you understand business and second that, at some point, you’ve had someone approach you in a panic saying that you must be on social media or your entire business will collapse.

The truth is, smart businesses have long since surpassed the novelty period of simply being on social media and, more importantly, so have consumers. We are now in an age of social media fatigue and this is precisely because for too long many businesses have been convinced that by simply being on a certain platform they have already won the race.

A wise person once said that nothing worth doing is ever done quickly and the same rule applies as much to notable social media activity as it does to any major corporate or financial institution you can think of.

Both started somewhere from humble beginnings, both involve ongoing two-way dialogue with consumers and both become successful because they use this dialogue to build up client trust by providing valuable information on an ongoing basis. There is no quick fix, and an ad hoc program of firing content out into the ether is never going to yield the kind of noticeable bottom-line results your boss is going to want to see to justify the investment.

So what do you do? The answer is the same thing you’ve always done. Focus on your core product, how it adds value to your customer, where it fits within the broader product and services offering and then the most important thing – how can you increase your visibility so you can be found, more easily, by potential new customers at the precise moment they are searching for the products and services you offer?

It is this last point that is key. When it comes to what we define as digital strategy, social media is only one part of a much broader picture, within which consistent visibility is key across a variety of channels including search, social, video, mobile, email and e-commerce to name a few. Having a strategic plan in place to offer valuable content consistently will help you build and maintain a loyal community of consumers over time that are already, by definition, open to receiving information about your organisation. This should always be your primary goal when looking at digital communications.

Both digital and traditional marketing and communications share a common origin. Namely, that with a strategic approach you can put steps in place that will boost your visibility among your target audience. By ensuring that your marketing and communication departments are aligned with your digital team, to ensure all content is optimised across channels, will boost visibility of your company’s online presence in the all-important Google search results page from day one – mission critical for driving traffic to the point of sale. Make sure they are talking to each other and, more importantly, that they are all working under one unified communications strategy. After all, each of these departments shares one thing in common; they are all creating content designed to help consumers recognise and find your business first and over your competition.

Like anything in business, integrated strategic thinking is the key to success.

Bryce Keane is a digital strategist for global communications and public relations agency Cohn and Wolfe