Digital Communication Essentials for Boosting Organizational and Personal Brands
Understand the Definition of Digital Communication
- Building a brand: Businesses can create a brand image for a startup company or transform a brand image for a legacy organization that is pivoting in a new direction.
- Generating awareness: Companies can cast a wide net to let potential customers know about products, services, and values.
- Driving conversions: Campaigns can inspire customers to move through the marketing funnel and buy products, either online or at a brick-and-mortar location.
- Creating customer experiences: Campaigns can be customized to build unique experiences and brand affinity through targeted social campaigns, one-on-one messaging apps, or livestream videos.
- Delivering customer service: Community managers can answer real-time questions to solve issues or follow up with satisfied customers to go the extra mile.
- Managing risk: Businesses can conduct damage control by building brand affinity and improving brand reputation after a mishap.
- Providing entertainment: Marketers can give audiences more of the content they enjoy, such as engaging video series or funny articles.
- Educating consumers: Companies can address customer pain points and help them improve their lives through informative digital content.
Reach Audiences Through Email
- Discounts and offers for seasonal deals, new product launches, and customized recommendations
- Blog post roundups of recent articles from the brand website or third-party websites, which can even be categorized by vertical and distributed to segmented audiences
- Birthday or anniversary messages to check in with current customers and build affinity, which may even include a gift or deal for the occasion
- Surveys to learn more about how consumers enjoy the brand experience and services
- Exclusive content, such as sneak peeks at product launches, Q&As, or behind-the-scenes information
- Daily or weekly newsletters to keep audiences up to date on company developments, newly published content, and opportunities to engage with the brand
- Personalized recommendations for content or products based on previous customer behavior
- Segment audiences by interest, level of engagement, or demographic. For example, brands can send one batch of emails to new customers, a second to customers who need to be re-engaged, and a third to loyal customers.
- Choose a catchy, short subject line that grabs the recipient’s attention so the email doesn’t get lost in the inbox or end up in the spam folder. According to Marketo, the ideal length of a subject line is seven words or 41 characters.
- Include a direct call to action, such as “Subscribe,” “Visit website,” “Learn more,” or “Shop now.”
Launch Engaging Social Media Campaigns
- Facebook is effective for building an engaged social community, either through an official brand page or through relevant groups. Brands would be wise to invest in native video, which founder Mark Zuckerberg hopes will “encourage meaningful social interactions.”
- YouTube: As Forbes reports, brands can use YouTube to build web series, partner with influencers, create how-to videos, give behind-the-scenes looks at their processes, and repurpose website content. Since Google owns YouTube, brands should also consider using search engine optimization tactics so their videos show up in search results.
- Twitter: Topics such as television, sports, and world news do well on Twitter, according to its 2018 Year in Review. Brands and consumers use the platform to live-tweet their favorite events, follow and contribute to trending hashtags, and connect one-on-one through public interactions or direct messages. Twitter is also a go-to platform for customer service, as many brands have created separate customer care accounts for inquiries.
- Instagram: Parent company Facebook reported that 66% of Instagram users connect with brands on the visual platform. Social Media Today found that most brands use Instagram Stories, ads, and IGTV (for long-form videos) to reach audiences. Instagram provides a hub for fashion, beauty, and celebrity content.
- LinkedIn: As a business-to-business (B2B) social network, LinkedIn is useful for connecting with other companies, sourcing new hires, and engaging in thought leadership. Executives, for example, can use LinkedIn to create blog posts pulling back the curtain on their brand and engage with other experts in their field. According to Sprout Social, 70% of consumers feel more connected to a brand when its CEO is active on social media.
Build a Community on Facebook
- Buy Facebook Ads: Organic reach may be on a downturn, but brands can still use Facebook Ads to get their content in people’s news feeds. They can also use this tool to target specific demographics and A/B test content to see which text and visuals generate the best response.
- Invest in video: Forbes reported that over 500 million people watch Facebook video every day, officially unseating YouTube as the most watched video platform. Mediakix also reported that Facebook Live videos are watched three times longer than standard videos, and most videos are viewed without sound.
- Use Facebook Messenger: According to eMarketer, there are over 149 million mobile messaging app users in the U.S., the most popular of which is Facebook Messenger. Brands can use this chat app to deliver customer service, automate interactions through chatbots, and send sponsored messages directly to consumers.
Harness the Power of Mass Media
- Shift TV budgets to digital video platforms: Emarketer expects digital ad spending to overtake traditional ad spending (such as on print and TV) for the first time by the end of 2019. Marketing Land also reported that TV budgets are more efficient when combined with YouTube and Facebook budgets. Brands can advertise natively in digital video or buy pre-roll and interstitial ads on YouTube and Facebook.
- Advertise on popular podcasts: Brands can sponsor podcasts, pay for shoutouts in episodes, or even produce their own podcasts that align with consumer interests. As Forbes notes, advertisers can pay for baked-in ads that live in a podcast episode forever or dynamic ads, which are programmatically inserted based on the content and audience.
- Produce digital content inspired by traditional mass media content: Brands can piggyback on traditional media reach by creating articles, videos, and social content based on trending movies, books, or TV shows.
Create Digital Advertising Strategies
- Banner ads: Programmatically placed on websites, banner ads exist at the top or side of a webpage or in the middle of an article. They’re typically paid for by impressions or clicks.
- Native advertising: Marketers pay publishers to create original content that seamlessly incorporates their brand or products. Native advertising is considered more user-friendly than banner ads because it fits into the surrounding content and doesn’t disrupt the user experience.
- Social media advertising: On Instagram, for example, advertisers can buy photo ads, video ads, Instagram Story ads, and carousel ads of multiple pictures or videos. These ads can be targeted to specific social users based on interests, demographics, and behaviors.
- Influencer advertising: Brands can tap social influencers with target audiences to create content on their behalf. A YouTube creator, for example, can create a sponsored video that creatively incorporates products into the narrative. The influencer can then invite viewers to learn more about the products and offer a customized discount code or website link.
- Google AdWords campaigns: Brands can bid on certain keywords and search queries for a chance to have their websites show up at the top of Google search results. These campaigns can be effective for building brand awareness and guiding prospective customers toward a brand website.