Digital marketing is not a game of luck. Far from it. It’s a game of strategy and a game that only the smartest marketers will win. Organisations that consistently outperform their competition online have a few things in common. The most significant: they address their digital media systematically and strategically. We know these organisations for their many followers and fans, viral videos, and high engagement. But getting there isn’t luck. If you want to be like them, you need a rock-solid digital engagement strategy.
The payoff is significant. Building a digital engagement framework helps you identify the value creation opportunities of engagement for your organisation and develop the strategies, processes, and technologies to structurally engage your audience to maximise your co-created value.
How do you get there? It takes time and effort – but these nine steps can help you begin to build that value.
1. Know your audience
In marketing, everything revolves around your audience. All decisions you make, and everything that drives towards digital engagement, can and should be influenced by the people you’re actually trying to reach.
Research your audience by gathering demographics about your customers and simply asking them some questions. Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can be invaluable in this process.
2. Choose your channels
Based on what you know about your audience, it’s time to embrace the channels that you want to market through. Most often, more than one makes sense, whether it’s search optimisation or Instagram. Which of them make sense for you, though, depends largely on the audience you defined in step 1.
The demographics of social media networks can vary drastically, from young teenagers all the way to seasoned professionals. The channels you choose should be based on your audience’s habits, interests, and desires.
3. Set your goals
No marketing strategy can be complete without something to strive for. Without it, how could you claim to be successful? These goals are the overarching objectives, the reason your organisation is building a digital engagement strategy, to begin with.
Most experts recommend this as the first step. I prefer defining the audience and channels first because both can influence your goals. Effective marketing goals are specific, measurable, and defined within a certain time range.
4. Create your story
Now, it’s time to get creative. What is the story you want to tell about your organisation? Ideally, this story connects directly to your mission, vision, values, and long-term organisational goal.
This step can be difficult for commercial companies who sell convenience goods. It’s exponentially more straightforward for non-profits like yours.
Whether you run a charity or local hospital, your business likely revolves around a raison d’etre, a fundamental belief in making life better. That’s the beginnings of your brand story.
5. Build a content strategy
A story is an abstract concept that probably won’t ever get in front of your audience in its entirety. It is the foundation of your content strategy – but you still need to build a more comprehensive strategy.
Digital engagement can only be possible with content your audience wants to read, react to, and share. That’s why content marketing has become such a major success in recent years. Ask yourself:
- How can you tell your brand story in visual (image, graphic, and video) formats?
- How can you adjust your story and related content for various digital channels, such as Twitter vs. your website?
- How can you gather feedback about the content you publish that informs your strategy moving forward?
- How can you maximise the impact of your content by posting on the right channels, at the right time, and the right cadence?
6. Take an active role in content generation
Your content strategy, of course, is only the beginning of an actual engagement. To realise its potential, you have to start realising content creation in a way that makes sense for your specific organisation and situation.
Generating that content is probably the most time-intensive step in this process. Many organisations make the mistake of chasing after a viral moment, which — more often than not — tends to be random. Instead, start by building solid, relevant content that effectively tells your story. The viral opportunities will come more naturally over time.
7. Get top-level digital buy-in
The best digital campaigns receive support from the top. They get the leverage they need to get creative, building more than just cookie-cutter content. They also get the flexibility to make slight shifts in pursuit of larger goals.
Budget buy-in is just as crucial. You need consistent human and financial resources to effectively run your digital operations. As the CEO, keep that fact in mind; as a manager, involve your CEO in the planning process to integrate them from the start.
8. Engage your entire organisation
It starts at the top, but the best digital strategy reverberates throughout your entire organisation. Corporate culture can be the biggest impediment to digital transformation; at the same time, it can also be your best asset.
Engaged and involved employees become ambassadors who share your content, and live the brand you’re building online on a daily basis. They help you create content and even chip in with ideas. The more you can engage all of your internal stakeholders, the better.
9. Embrace Social
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of your audience. Yes, they’re crucial for your channel and strategy development. It doesn’t end there. Ideally, they’re an active part of building better digital engagement.
Social media is a perfect example. Every commenter, positive or negative, is an opportunity to engage. Everyone who shares your posts is worthy of accolades. Personal messages can lead to deeper conversations.
And of course, you can tap into your audience for content creation, as well. In fact, user-generated content almost always outperforms content posted by brands. If you do it right, your digital strategy becomes truly social.
Are you ready to build value through Digital Engagement?
Through these steps, you can build your digital strategy into a machine that produces actual value for your organisation. From brand equity to better revenues through more engaged donors and clients, you build that value in a way that sustains your business.
To get to that point, a strategy is key – but the seams cannot show. The best organisations embracing digital build all of these steps into a seemingly spontaneous, natural, yet very strategic approach to social media.
Ready to start working towards that same goal? Get in touch with us to discuss your digital engagement strategy, and how we can partner to improve it.