Engaging with existing and prospective customers on social networks effectively, growing those audiences, and racking up followers and ‘likes’ or stars is a matter of providing audiences with useful and engaging content. But the number of followers you have, and the amount of likes and stars you accumulate shouldn’t be your primary goal. Far from it.
Pardon the buzzword, but on social channels, engaging effectively with people requires producing what’s known as “snackable content” (short-form content that is easily and quickly consumed whether on a mobile device or otherwise; like a tweet, short video, or an infographic). At other times, and depending on the subject and social platform, it also means consistently producing long-form and long-tail content of high quality that is either educational, informative, or which provides value to your intended audience in some way. After all, as business strategist and author Dion Hinchcliffe once wrote, “we need to understand that digital engagement is a moving target.” Indeed.
Recognizing and understanding that necessity is crucial to evolving your company into what’s known as a “next-generation enterprise.” Certainly, the ongoing development of various technologies – social tools, analytics, big data, the mobile web, the Internet of Things – and their convergence with digital marketing, as well as the personalization of content, is the key to cultivating and unleashing your business’s digital DNA.
“Your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person – a real person you know, or an imagined person – and write to that one.”
– JOHN STEINBECK
Making the Social Transformation
It’s worthwhile to note in its “Building Your Digital DNA” report, professional services consultancy Deloitte recommends companies consider three core factors when looking to enhance their digital maturity levels: leadership, talent management, and organizational design.
Concerning organizational design, the report states, “Culturally open, dynamic, and flexible structures built on mutual trust are the basis for the information economy, and should be a long-term aspiration for many organizations.”
Thus, becoming what’s often referred to in digital marketing circles as a “social business” does not mean creating a company profile on every social network under the sun and blaring out your marketing messages with wild abandon. Furthermore, your social media marketing strategy should not be concocted outside of your overall marketing blueprint. It’s an integral part of that plan, not an afterthought or an outlier.
Cultivating your digital DNA and contending with rapid change requires asking questions about how and what your firm does what it does, why it matters, and to whom. Doing so will not only help you define a thoughtful, well-rounded digital marketing strategy, but it will also spur your employees to think of new innovative ways to do their jobs, and in turn, grow your business.
Enabling New Business Opportunities
Your social strategy needs to be bold and in-depth. It needs to be about more than simply chasing click-thrus and growing follower counts. Using social media tools effectively for business is not a meaningless popularity contest. It demands less navel-gazing and more listening to what your audience is saying. To put it another way, no one cares about photos of your grinning employees at a conference they’re attending, posted without context. They are more likely to care about what those employees think about or heard from others on any given subject at that event.
If it’s a broader audience you’re after, then you need to put their interests and concerns at the forefront of your social strategy. You need to think of your followers or readers as prized acquaintances that must be respected and intelligently engaged. That may require your company to adapt and quickly to address their concerns or satisfy their demand for knowledge as it relates to your business’s products, services, or industry.