In addition to no longer having a choice on whether they need a digital strategy, most business owners are almost incapable of being experts in their field while being experts in social and digital media. Social and advertising platforms experience constant changes that have potential to alter the success or failure of a campaign if left unmanaged. That’s why it’s so important to hire or outsource a dedicated digital marketing team.
If you’re currently looking to outsource these tasks, there are some important tips to keep in mind. Given the requirement for photographers, graphic artists, data analysts, community managers and video production to execute an effective digital strategy, there are often many opportunities for mistakes when executed using vendors who do not collaborate together with the same vision. Additionally, timelines in the digital space are short when it matters and can be a challenge to prioritize. Often, by the time a company has decided to execute on a time-sensitive idea, it’s too late without a dedicated team. Generally, this converts to lost revenue.
We have seen significant changes in the Facebook and Instagram algorithms over the past two months, most notably with Mark Zuckerburg’s announcement in January that content published from business pages will not be organically promoted on newsfeeds. This change means it’s likely a great time to ask your marketing department or the agency who runs your digital media some questions about how your brand is being marketed online.
Here are some questions to ask whoever is managing your brand’s social media presence:
What is your marketing department or agency doing to make sure that your content drives engagement? Is their content custom and curated? Are they producing high-quality and compelling photography, videos, animations, live feeds and copy? Does the content follow a consistent plan or editorial calendar and, most importantly, does it represent the voice, vision and message around your business?
2. Outreach Methods
Whether proactive or reactive, the method in which your business reaches its audience will affect impressions, clicks and conversions. How will your brand use social media to be proactive in connecting with your ideal customer online? Have there been workshops and strategic documents produced that review response strategy, conversation outreach and KPIs associated with this deliverable?
We have found that answering questions and comments on Facebook advertisements, responding to reviews and reaching out to the ideal audience online produces a much higher conversion rate. This also increases the value of your brand online in the form of customer service, loyalty and confidence. Simply put, treating the current or potential client with a sense of urgency matters. Are you aware, as a client or company, of the pros and cons of a broken outreach strategy? The last thing your company or brand wants is to have your outreach backfire with negative results, the way we have seen with automated responses, a lack of empathy or an inconsistent voice, message or tone.
Advertising should never be “set and forget.” Are all the tracking mechanisms attached to your ads and websites? Has your digital marketing team reviewed the audience profile with you and how they plan on reaching this demographic (behaviors, interests, personas)? Has the objective of the ad campaign been established? Does your social media manager have a relationship with their own Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn representative?
Social platforms can be very complicated to navigate, even for experienced companies, and having a close relationship with an account manager can mean added targeting capabilities, information on updates and feedback on what could net a better result. There have been times where our agency has been given priority in testing new placements because, for example, of our relationship with Facebook or getting assistance with having an account verified.
4. Ongoing Education, Certifications And Connections
How does your marketing team or agency stay on top of the constantly evolving trends? In our office, we have regular trainings taught by top consultants in the industry in the departments we specialize. Our most recent team retreat was run by Daniel Tawiah, the VP of global brand digital marketing innovation at Nike, who discussed how brands can create a buzz through disruptive content and how to inspire each other to be more creative. We attend trainings around the software we use and go to annual conferences in our field.
How does the team or agency you work with alter the strategy based on the constant evolution of platforms, advertising and social? While every business or brand’s objectives are unique, we have built our three-point system around content, advertising and outreach. If we see one leg of our strategy helping to reach a client’s objective faster or more effectively, we will optimize so that we can deliver an even higher return on investment.
The purpose of most social and digital media strategies is to produce measurable results. What software is being used to measure the results and how are those results being communicated to you, as the client? Are you being given reports and data from your website and social media efforts? Are you aware of what this data means?
You should always be confident and able to share with your executive team the tangible ROI from a digital campaign. For some, this might be ad conversions, while for others it could be click-throughs to the website, impressions, number of customer service inquiries or snapshots of particularly engaging content.
You could be outstanding at what you do and have the best product, service or team, but if nobody knows or remembers you, then your opportunity to win is limited. As we advise in our workshops, take a good look at your competition. How is your brand being disruptive? How are you using your unique opportunity to connect with your audience? Success is a marathon, not a race. Ultimately, you need to stay the most educated, open to new strategies, and you need to continue to overdeliver for the clients who have prioritized their digital strategy.