Successful digital branding, or using digital networks and assets to build and convey a business’ position or purpose, can be the deciding factor in growth or decline. In 2016, it requires approaching marketing as a digital brand experience. People connect to social media channels 24/7, 365 days a year. What does that mean for digital marketing?
People don’t want to be bombarded with information; they want to engage with material by choice. Companies can no longer afford to push brands, but need to inspire interaction through listening and conversing, instead.
Where Do You Start?
Nurturing a relationship via communication is the fastest way to engage a customer. But digital branding strategy, and managing digital engagement, is the only way to build a company. It is important to know the difference between paid, owned and earned media, and tailor your strategies to the current marketplace through these three forms of marketing:
Paid Media – anything paid for that will increase the visibility of a brand. For example, Facebook advertising, which allows businesses to target audiences based on demographics, locations and other metrics. Other examples include SEM (search engine marketing) and PPC (pay per click).
Owned Media – any channel a business has complete control over, such as websites and online profiles.
Earned Media – “free” promotion generated through social media and word of mouth.
Ways to Invest in Paid Media
Ad-blocking will be on the rise in 2016. Counteracting this are engagement ads. They work by expanding a lightbox into a larger window, should a user hover over the box for longer than 2 seconds. The bigger box will display video, purchasing, and other brand interactions to draw in the customer.
Good Practices for Owned Media
The key to fully using a website is to keep it relevant, up-to-date, and consistently offering new, useful, high-quality content. This content does not and should not remain static on your website, but be distributed among other channels. One way to increase good content is to research, use infographics and repurpose the data collected.
Along with video, the popularity of infographics is growing. Today, this form of visual data is shared more often by Twitter users than any other form of content. One benefit of infographics is the way it clearly lays out statistics and research. Audiences respond to this when the information is relevant, and either factually or conceptually derived from social media and customer comments.
It can also provide a researcher with potential new blog topics. Charts can be broken down into smaller, more in-depth articles and posts to be distributed to target audiences and used on the business’ website.
Making the Most of Earned Media
Knowing current trends and what technology is available will help manage/optimize strategy.
Real-Time Will Lead to Real Profit
The inclusion of video segments, VR (virtual reality) clips, and live broadcasts will attract larger audiences. Not all of these may be options right now, but it is good to be aware.
Businesses that use real-time posts to offer relevant coverage of events and affairs that appeal to customers and fans grow audiences more effectively than those focusing on product-centric narratives.
Choose Your Platforms Wisely
Instagram and Snapchat continue to appeal to millennials. Periscope is also gaining traction. Use the social media channels that best engage specific target audiences.
Familiarize Yourself with Digital Activation
This year companies will begin to weave together data regarding the different aspects of production and its media channels and “activating” that information in ways that will drive their businesses forward. Digital activation is about using all of the information collected. How are online networks contributing to sales? Which resources should be allocated to which media?
Automation and management software can help manage social media channels, but activation will take data to the next level. Management of digital brand engagement is about awareness. The future is in the statistics of today.