When you’re running a business in the modern day, it’s important to have a digital marketing strategy. Whether you like it or not, we live in a digital age where most people will check how many likes you have on your Facebook page before they read through the testimonials on your website.
We are constantly checking our emails, scrolling through our newsfeeds, and tweeting about big and small brand names. Social media and email campaigns are no longer things that can be tacked on later – they must be at the forefront of your marketing strategy.
Today I’m bringing you five easy steps to kickstart your digital strategy and build up your online presence.
Step 1: Pick your outlets
This can seem like a daunting task because there are so many email marketing tools and social media platforms to choose from. But fret not, dear reader, for I am here to hold your hand through this process!
Let’s start with the email marketing tools. The two most popular tools, in my experience, are AWeber and Mailchimp. I recommend AWeber for developers or anyone with even minimal experience in coding and I recommend MailChimp for people who prefer to create their newsletters by dragging and dropping sections into a template. There are, of course, many more options, and I encourage you to shop around and find the tool that is easiest for you and your team to use.
When it comes to picking your social platforms, the sky is really the limit. Some of the most popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. My advice here is to start with one or two that best suit your business and see how your fans respond to your efforts. If you run a blog dishing out paleo recipes every week, you might experiment with both Instagram and Pinterest, but find that your Pinterest posts generate more likes and repins. Play around with several different platforms and then narrow it down to the two or three that best suit your needs, engage your users, and are easy for you to manage consistently.
Step 2: Establish your digital uniform
This might seem like a no brainer, but it never ceases to astound me just how many people lack consistent branding across all their digital platforms. First off, you want to make sure that all your usernames are the same across all your social platforms. That means that if your Twitter handle is @TheDailyPaleo, your Instagram handle, Pinterest username, and all other usernames should be TheDailyPaleo. This makes it a thousand times easier for your fans to find you across the web and helps search engines identify which social accounts belong to your brand.
On a similar note, your logos, cover photos, and theme colors should all match your overarching brand as well. When a fan comes to your Twitter page, they should know within the first 10 seconds that they have reached the right page.
Step 3: Build a posting schedule
Pick a schedule that is realistic. Saying that you’re going to send out 6 emails a week is great, but if you send out 6 the first week, 1 the second week, 3 the third week, 0 the fourth week, etc… your readers aren’t going to know when to expect your content, and that tends to leave them feeling more than a little uneasy.
Start slow to get into the rhythm of things, hire out help in the form of a copywriter or content manager if you need to, and use automatic schedulers and editorial calendars to help keep you on track.
Step 4: Create interactive + shareable content
Yes, your social platforms are an outlet for you to share your own blog posts and announcements. But in order to truly engage your fans, you’re going to need to branch out and show them that you are also an industry thought leader. Mix up your posts and throw in some fresh industry reads, ask questions of your audience to foster discussion, or just post a funny cat video to give your fans a mid-week smile.
The idea here is to create a forum for dialogue. The more your users engage with your posts and with one another, the more likely they are to keep coming back for more. Turn your Facebook page into a digital home for all your fans to come to everyday.
Step 5: Track your results
There is no foolproof method for social media marketing. It’s a process that needs to be examined and tweaked almost all the time. Check your statistics often to see who your biggest fans are, when they are most responsive to your blasts, and what they are liking and commenting on the most. The answers may shock you, but you must give the people what they want! Use this newfound information to modify your posting schedules and content going forward.
This should be plenty to get your digital strategy up and off the ground. But the most important tip I can give you, is to have fun. If you’re having fun with your digital strategy, your fans will too. Digital media is a place for people to take a break from their never-ending to-do lists and distract themselves from the hustle and bustle of the day to day. If you remember that and treat your digital spaces as a place to build a community, not just to make sales, the likes and follows will come in naturally.