In the past, the notion of a Digital Strategy was often thought of as simply sending out a few posts on some Social Media platform, such as Facebook or Twitter. This was done mostly to show that a company has a Digital presence – effectively, a tick box on the company’s to-do list.
Today’s leaders are instituting more analytical, creative and adaptive approaches to theirpowerful and tactical Digital Strategies – and they are getting results.
Whether you are a large or small business, you can and should have an effective Digital Strategy. In some cases, the smaller a company is the more important the Digital Strategy becomes. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way to reach your business goals – but you need to do it right.
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO HELP OPTIMIZE YOUR DIGITAL STRATEGY:
1) START WITH THE END
You've decided to develop or optimize your Digital Strategy – why? What do you want to achieve? Are you looking to generate sales leads? Promote your business? Position yourself as a thought leader?
Think of your Digital Strategy as a road trip. If you don't know your destination, there's no map in the world that can get there. Sure some road trips can be enjoyed without a map – meandering around aimlessly, but this doesn’t really work for business. Identify your Digital Strategy end goals and the steps you need to follow to meet them.
2) BE SPECIFIC, MEASURE RESULTS, ATTRACT THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
It is important to measure progress toward achieving your Digital Strategy goals – to keep your strategy on track and make modifications as needed.
For example, your goal is to increase sales leads for a particular product. To help achieve this, you want to generate more “likes” on your company’s Facebook page. A measure for this is the number of new likes your page receives over a period of time.
Lead generation is also about attracting the right demographic for your company’s products (e.g. age, gender, geographic location, income)? A measure for this is the number of new page likes you receive from a specific target demographic group.
The more definitive you are, the better you can identify specific actions that help you achieve your Digital Strategy goals and attract the right audience for your business.
3) THINK LIKE A DATA SCIENTIST - ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
To a Data Scientist, Social Media and Digital Channels are simply a collection of data - conversations and people - that can be classified and codified. As you look at optimizing your Digital Strategy you will also need to think like a Data Scientist.
For example, you decide that you want to identify people who are talking about a specific topic. To do this you will examine the available data, filter out the data you don’t want, and analyze the remaining data. There are many Social Media and analytical tools available to classify, codify and filter data (e.g. Tools such as Audiense, Hootsuite, Sysomos and others). Some analytical tools are built into the Social Media platforms as in the case with Facebook. Ultimately, by drilling down into your data, and testing various filters, you will find the group you are looking for.
Don't be concerned if the resulting dataset (e.g. number of people) is smaller than you expect. It is better to focus on the real influencers in any demographic and they are smaller in number than you might think.
4) CONTINUALLY REVIEW AND ADAPT YOUR TOOLS
Social media and Digital Channels are not going away. They are here for the foreseeable future and beyond. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube remain top contenders. As with any competitive landscape, things will change and evolve. Snapchat is vying for its share of the social market and I would expect to see much more engagement on Snapchat over the coming months and years.
Simply put, Digital is a powerful and cost effective way to promote a company, build leads, listen for insights and gain competitive intelligence. However, a Digital strategy that worked last year on Twitter may need to be modified in order to leverage the evolving strengths of some other key tools.
For example, generating leads may have started by listening to conversations on Twitter, with a goal of identifying thought leaders, and then going over to LinkedIn to send direct messages to them. As tools like Snapchat evolve, you may find you need to engage leads through other platforms as well.
That's the beauty of social - it creates a variety of touch-points to reach your audience.
These are just a few ideas to keep in mind as you develop and optimize your Digital Strategy. If you have questions or other recommendations to add, feel free to share in the comments section below.
By: Karen Johnstone-Hobbs and John Hobbs, DATAMASH
Grow your business faster, smarter: Optimize Your Digital Strategy - DATAMASH can help! www.datamash.ca