What The Heck Is Digital Communications?!
Now that I’ve defined what digital communications is and calmed down the paranoid around “social media” (hopefully), what is digital communications, what are the channels of digital communications, and what are the wrong ways to be effective at digital communication?
Effective digital communications can take many forms, but the basic premise is the understanding of how your customer receives important key brand messages while completing an online transaction, entering a contest, giving a comment or feedback, creating or engaging in a conversation, and so much more! We refer to this online interaction as an experience that creates an emotional connection with customers.
Digital communications for any business use to be limited to experiences strictly on your website. However, in the past five years, the multitude of channels for experiences has grown immensely. Advances in technology and software development have created new channels that shifted the population towards the new phenomenon in Facebook and social networks. This ultimately shifted the communication away from a company’s website to numerous channels.
This shift in communication has forced businesses to have less control over the experiences of their brand(s) and more engagements with their customers. Businesses are now forced to pay attention to or own multiple channels of possible congregating fans, such as:
- Facebook Pages
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Messaging
- Mobile Apps
- Social Gaming (eg: Farmville)
With an abundance of channels and an infinite amount of online experiences, your customers can never have a neutral experience with your brand. Your brand will either go up or down. There is no middle ground!
Engagement techniques have been around for a while now, just not in the same form as we think of them today. Tip: Don’t talk back to a customer that wants to talk to you. You only turn them away!
As Scott Stratten pointed out in last weeks Unmarketing Conference, “It’s not your job to tell your audience how to consume your content, you just want them to consume it.” In otherwards, don’t kill the spread of content by creating new channels that force customers to engage elsewhere than where they are use to talking. They won’t come!
Second, be cautious of engaging on multiple channels. Creating content for Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blog, and website may not be necessary for your brand. The danger with this approach is that you can spread your resources, time, and content too thin across the digital spectrum and your customers may begin engaging on a medium you’re not comfortable with. Then you really are S.O.L.
I highly suggest building up one or two platforms at most that provide high levels of engagement, such as Twitter and/or Facebook. Having said this, there is no question that you need to own a presence on all, if not most digital channels, but your content and resources should be heavily focused on just one or two channels.