You know that your business needs an online presence. You already have the website, the Fan Page on Facebook and a Twitter profile. Where do you start? What do you post? How do you actually get people to buy from you using social media?
This is where business owners and managers most often get stalled, especially when they are not familiar with social media marketing. Most of us have a Facebook account, or participate in at least one social network. That does not mean that we know the best way to promote our business on them. Having a plan is the key to everything.
Some will argue that plans never come out as we thought, but that is not the point. Of course things can change, especially in the digital world, where they change every minute! The real advantage of having a plan is to focus your efforts and resources. That way, even if change happens and you have to adapt, you won’t lose sight of your goal. This holds true for any kind of business strategy. So why does Digital have to be any different if it’s just as important?
WHY DO I NEED A DIGITAL STRATEGY?
A Digital Strategy is what defines your business’ marketing goals online and the actions that will allow you to fulfill them. You know better than anyone what you want for your business. Here are our 8 reasons why you need a Digital Strategy to make that happen.
You need to see where the finish line is before you start to race. Digital requires a set of objectives in order to map the road to completion. Two or three main objectives are more than enough. A good starting point into defining yours is making sure that the next characteristics apply to them:
– It conveys all the necessary information so that anyone involved in the strategy can understand what needs to be achieved.
– Measuring criteria can be defined and applied from the start.
– It is realistic, meaning it is within your abilities and resources to carry out the actions that will lead to results.
– You can easily identify the relevance of the goal and how its success will benefit your company.
– You can create a time-based plan in order to achieve them.
Having a Digital Strategy defines what criteria can be applied to measure the results of your actions. How will you know if you’re doing it right or wrong if you don’t have any way to assess your strategy?
You can’t go in the right direction without knowing where you stand or where you’ve gone. Set metrics from the start so you’ll always have a baseline to evaluate your progress.
- Competitive advantage
Digital is already a fundamental part of business strategy for companies in the US, with 9/10 of marketers including social media into their marketing strategies during 2014, according to the last report by eMarketer.
It is never too late to get into the game; however, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to obtain the results you are looking for. If you’re not visible online, and your competitors are, they will be getting all the potential customers that surf the Internet. And you won’t.
- Customer Feedback
Social Media has given a strong voice to consumers in a way that is unprecedented. The relationship between companies and consumers has never been this close, and it has become one of the most important sources of customer feedback. Before the era of social media, most companies couldn’t know what people thought about them unless they carried out complex market research.
Now, there are many tools to collect information about what people think, feel, want, or dislike about your brand. Social Media provides this feedback from your target market. Keep in mind, just as any social analysis, a method and metrics are required. You can define these with a structured Digital Strategy in place.
Social Media is all about conversations and interactions. Trends are defined by what people are talking about or what they’re interested in. Wouldn’t you like to be updated with this information? Also, the people that are looking for your products or services often turn to social media to find them. Wouldn’t you like to be found? For that, you need a plan.
Having a Digital Strategy will allow you to build a professional and trustworthy online presence, for these purposes, and in turn will generate new potential customers for your business.
- Wasting money
Time is money, and in this case it’s not figuratively. The time you spend managing your social media without having a strategy might be time wasted. This is especially true when you’re actually paying someone to do this. A lot of managers and business owners get disappointed when their online presence doesn’t yield results.
However, benefits can only be properly assessed when you have a strategy, with defined goals and expectations. It is also the only way to determine what can be improved in order to yield better results.
- No Crisis Management
With or without a social media presence, the fact remains that people might have negative opinions, or someone from the company might do something that will spark negativity, and your brand will be associated.
Social Media Crisis Management is one of the most delicate aspects of a Digital Strategy, because it contains your contingency plan of action. Whenever a situation arises, you’ll know what to do. Without a Digital Strategy, if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation and do not know how to react or you don’t do it quickly, you might wind up in the “The Top Social Media Fails” yearly compilations, like this one.
- It’s the Present and the Future
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. It has redefined the way customers relate to brands. A rule that applies to all things digital is that early adopters have better chances of being successful. The sooner you hop onto the digital bandwagon, the better results you can expect, for now and the future of your business.