Many businesses assume that digital marketing is just an easier, cheaper alternative to big, high budget ad campaigns. So they set up a Twitter feed and a Facebook page and hope that things just develop from there. But digital marketing is much more than using social media sporadically. It is an extension of your traditional marketing strategy, one that just happens to use a different set of tools.
Many businesses are not well-versed in how to use digital marketing to reach certain goals. In fact, many businesses don’t even know what goals they want to reach.
Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of the digital strategy firm Leader Networks, and one of Forbes’ Top 40 Social Marketing Masters, knows all about how businesses can make meaningful progress with their brands using digital media.
Plan Wisely, Measure Accordingly
DiMauro emphasized how important it is to identify your digital marketing strategy before you begin. She suggests first setting your “go-to-market strategy,” a blueprint detailing how your company will reach its customers and win a competitive advantage. In other words, what do you want to accomplish with digital marketing? How will your organization’s social business strategy align with its strategic objectives and how will it leverage DM for business benefit? What tools do you want to use?
When setting your digital media strategy, DiMauro suggested you start by asking yourself these questions:
- Who is our audience?
- What platform does our audience build community around?
- What does success look like to us?
- How will we track our results?
Smart Insights offers what they call a RACE planning framework that summarizes the key online marketing activities that need to be managed as part of digital marketing. The RACE pneumonic stands for
Reach > Act > Convert > Engage
Beware of Falling Prey to Numbers
DiMauro cautioned against the lure of what she calls “vanity metrics” (a large number of followers and likes). She says, “A million followers doesn’t necessarily translate to successful outcomes.” If you pursue the goal of just driving up your number of Twitter followers, for example, then you could be wasting a lot of time.
The better strategy is to spend time and effort really engaging the followers who have the power to buy your services. Instead of just counting your followers, DiMauro suggests, a better strategy is to “capture what’s being said about your company and then engage with those users.” You can do this by:
Googling your company. When people have a bad experience with a brand, they like to talk about it. Monitoring blog posts and comments for your company name allows you to not only see what kinds of things are being said but it lets you reach out to a disgruntled member and work on remedying the situation.
Setting up Google alerts. By using specific keywords and phrases, you will receive e-mail notices whenever your brand and other search terms are mentioned. These alerts include links so that you can read the content and respond.
Finding the social media your audience uses. If you’re a restaurant, you might want to engage people on Yelp. If your company has a product that would benefit from people seeing it in action, post videos on YouTube.
In 2015, a German supermarket chain called Edeka released a touching Christmas-themed video ad showing an elderly man alone at Christmas because his grown children were too busy to visit. The video was the most viewed Christmas ad on YouTube, racking up 33.5 million views within a week. The success of the video shows just how engaging users can take off.
Using Twitter. With Twitter, you can microblog news about your company. Then you can use an application like HootSuite or TweetDeck to follow hashtags and search terms, and receive updates as they come in. Type the name of your company in your Twitter app and you’ll see results from people who have mentioned your brand recently.
You can get creative with Twitter. According to a story on CIO, in May of 2015, Dominos let customers request delivery of their favorite pizza by tweeting a pizza emoji to its @Dominos Twitter account, or by using the hashtag #EasyOrder. Not only did this action get a lot of pizza orders, but the tweet-based order system earned Domino's media coverage from the likes of Forbes and Good Morning America (a Titanium Grand Prix award at Cannes).
Not an Instant Reward
DiMauro says that, because social media is so instant, people expect immediate results from using it. She says to give it time for relationships to develop online. “Gaining trust of an audience is a six- to nine-month lifecyle.” That’s because you have to find the right people and then engage, nurture and educate those people so they become true fans of your brand. They will carry those positive messages forward to more people.