Marketing your business in the digital age has its advantages and challenges. By understanding the tools available and how they can work best for your business, you can increase your reach and improve your bottom line.
To help you achieve this, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the main aspects of digital marketing and how they can help you leverage the success of your business.
Social media gives you access to a marketplace that is both global and local. These platforms give you the opportunity to build brand awareness and strengthen customer loyalty. But there are important points to keep in mind for a successful social media strategy:
- Differentiate: What works for Facebook may not work for Twitter, and so on and so forth. When considering your social media plan, make sure you tailor your content for each platform.
- Localise: While social media gives you a global reach, don’t forget it is the local touch that often has the greatest impact. Use geolocation tools, hashtags and mentions to establish yourself within your community. This is also a good way of building community ties.
- Personalise: Quick response times and personalised responses are highly valued by social media users. If a follower asks you a question on social media, make sure you have the tools and resources to answer promptly. It is also a good idea to plan how you will manage customer complaints, and whether a social media policy is actively in place for your business.
- Watch out for trends: Be it the mannequin or ice bucket challenge, staying ahead of trends on social media can help you position your brand and stay relevant. While it may not be appropriate for your business to jump on “trend bandwagons”, it pays to understand what is influencing public thought.
Melbourne-based mezcal bar Mamasita is one business that has built a strong social media presence across multiple platforms. From short Facebook videos to recipes and memes, Mamasita provides an engaging mix of content that speaks to the interests of their customers. What’s more, there is an overarching social media plan to integrate all platforms. Twitter posts link to Facebook events, Facebook to TripAdvisor and Instagram to the website. This strategy helps define the brand’s image, increase website traffic and user engagement.
Peer review sites
Platforms like these can have a dramatic impact on your business. Like word-of-mouth marketing, these sites help spread awareness and strengthen your brand credentials––especially in the food and hospitality industry.
Today, an increasing number of sites like Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor or LocalEats are informing consumer decisions. A 2014 study by Google Consumer Surveys found that 67 per cent are influenced by online reviews. So, what does this mean for your business? To make the most of this growing form of customer engagement, follow these considerations:
- Promotion: If your business has a good rating, advertise it. Many websites will provide you with marketing collateral to showcase your score. This is one easy way to connect your online performance to your real-world business.
- Think in categories: Another point to keep in mind is how to ensure your listing appears in search results. It is one thing to have a good rating but if your business doesn’t appear in search results returned to users, it will be of limited use. Incorporate typical search filters like “date night”, “family friendly” and “budget” into your business profile to help with optimisation.
The cafe 2 Fat Ladies in New South Wales, for instance, is number one of its category on TripAdvisor and also has a strong Zomato presence. By actively responding to reviews—both negative and positive—the management show that they care about customer feedback. Importantly too, there is personality to their comments. Be it “Thank you for calling in for a visit. The quiche is pretty awesome” or “Can’t go past the good ole ham, cheese & tomato sandwich”, the cafe has a warm and personal tone that helps differentiate them from their competitors.
Another way to market your business in the digital age is through content. Providing value-adding content that enriches your reader’s experience is a powerful way to build customer loyalty and strengthen yourself as a thought leader.
This can be achieved regardless of the size of your business. A small business, for instance, might focus on creating a monthly email newsletter while a larger company may consider creating a specialised blog or digital magazine. Think about what will work best for your scale and resources. Here are some other considerations:
- Plan ahead: Be it a monthly newsletter or a daily blog, it is crucial to organise your content ahead of time. A blog that begins weekly but drops off to every now and again will do little to promote your business. Creating an editorial calendar is a useful way to bank up ideas and structure future posts or news items.
- Don’t overdo it: It is important to be realistic about your capabilities and priorities. Setting up a high-tech food magazine may not be within your reach but perhaps it is possible to send out a personalised recipe once a month. What’s important is that you provide high-quality content that speaks to your customer’s needs and interests.
- Integrate with social media: If you do decide to use digital content to promote your business, make sure that it is shared across all your social media platforms.
Abbey Beach Resort has been able to build customer loyalty via its newsletter, blog and integrated social media strategy. The resort shares regularly updates to its followers on upcoming deals and also invites them to share their own content. This commitment to digital content has allowed the business to define its brand voice and strengthen customer relationships.
Digital media has made marketing more accessible, scalable and personalised than ever before. Be it social media, digital content or peer review sites, there is a wide range of platforms that can help improve your business—now is your chance to use them.
About the Author
Melissa Kitson is a bilingual journalist who has worked for the Buenos Aires Review, Fodor’s Travel Guides and Oxford University Press.