The advent of the internet, and the subsequent rapid adoption of digital and mobile technologies has disrupted the way many companies conduct business, compete for market share and interact with customers.
On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries per second. In order to make your business stand out, you need to put the work in to position your brand appropriately not only offline, but where the masses are searching, communicating and engaging – and that’s now online!
Today a company’s most public face is on the internet. Companies often do business without physically having met a person – for example via the phone, ecommerce or by email. Your biggest visual presence is online, and this is where clients are most likely to have contact with your brand, so it’s important to focus on your online presence as part of your marketing campaign and business strategy, not just as part of your communication strategy.
The Changed Business Landscape
Nowadays there are numerous touch points and platforms for companies to communicate and interact with customers, while the pace at which things are moving is much faster than before.
Everyday a new website or app goes life. Not long ago, as a business owner or a marketer you could send out a piece of communication, switch off and patiently wait for responses to come in. Today, your business needs to be switched on all the time. If a piece of content is created and sent out, you need to be monitoring and responding in real time. It is not uncommon for customers today to dictate to businesses and brands how they want to interact.
Customers no longer accept waiting for a response from your business, as being acceptable – they want access to you all the time and reassurances that your company is listing, or they will happily take their business to your nearest competitor. The simple fact is that customers are becoming more demanding of companies and brands. Customers have found their voices and know how to use them to complain, raise awareness and even promote!
Keep up with changing trends
It’s important for companies to evolve and keep up with changing trends of how business is being done today. Using outdated technologies can inhibit your business processes, and ultimately your bottom line. Today we do a lot more skype calls, tele and video conferencing, which means less time spent on managing meetings and time travelling out of the office, ensures that matters are dealt with effectively and timeously.
If you are not staying ahead of your competitors in terms of communication and online visibility, you probably won’t win as much business as companies that do using digital technologies such as email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, PPC and SMS marketing. Chances are they are able to compete on price too!
Social Media Marketing
A powerful trend in business is the development of social media as a platform for companies to communicate with customers and stakeholders on. As digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even WhatsApp have gained popularity, the use of social media has become more of a prerequisite and a must have as part of your marketing and sales plan.
As a business’s owner you should to consider how they proactively and reactively engages with clients and how to leverage these platforms before you get start using them. So why all the fuss about social media? Social media has given voice and power to the unpublished to publish, and to publish rich relevant content, instantaneously and, on any platform, for any audience, at little to no cost. Essentially, customers are happy to express their opinions and too do so publically. In terms of customer relationships, this means that your brand is no longer perceived as what you say it is , but as wheat your costumers are telling their fried they are!
So what should you do?
Firstly be absolutely clear about your objectives and your expectations of Social Media.
Secondly you need to create a compelling narrative and brand message from internal and external sources that add value to an online audience and meets your objective, easier said than done!
Finally, you should be open and authentic in your communication on any and all platforms.
Do’s and Don’ts of Digital interaction
When communicating through any digital channel, follow the same rules you would follow in regular, personal communication. Stay true to your brand and corporate values. Be the same company online as you are offline.
Don’t say anything to a person on email or via social media that you would not say to them in person. Furthermore it’s important that you communicate in a personalised way. In the 21st century you can’t dictate a one size fits all solution. Your customers want personalised communication and feedback, or they will go somewhere else.
Consider your customers as partners in your business and treat them as such.
Neglecting your online presence, be it a website, social media or Search engine rankings, is one of the works mistakes and moves you could possibly make!
If you create a twitters account simply because you feel you should be on Twitters, but never interact on the platform, it tells your customers that you aren’t a responsive company. The same goes for your website, not regularly updating your website with relevant and engaging contents can be considered the same as not looking after your physical office. Would you just leave the rubbish in the bins… we don’t think so!
In our next issue we will continue the discussion with how to manage your online reputation