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How to get started building a digital media strategy

Jonathan Hassell | Feb. 6, 2013
Too many companies take a reactionary approach to social media, pouring resources into the 'next big thing' that's already happened. It's better to develop a comprehensive digital media strategy that targets the right social platforms, customers and disruptions and addresses the necessity of remaining flexible and responding to criticism.

It's a different world out there. In 2013, digital media-social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, plus other digital avenues such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others-will become increasingly important to brand awareness.

Frankly, too many companies are entirely reactive when it comes to these platforms. There is no comprehensive strategy, no cohesive plan to interactions across all aspects of digital media.

Let your organization be different. Start the New Year right by establishing a new digital media strategy or updating an existing one. Here are several key points to consider as you build your plans.

Target Digital Media Efforts in the Right Places

What's most important about a digital media strategy is knowing where your customers are. It does your business no good whatsoever to have a presence in a place, a network or a community where your customers are not looking. Worse, it could indeed be detrimental-to those folks who aren't your customers but who see your unresearched, unstrategized presence in these incorrect places and networks, your brand seems out of touch and dense.

It is paramount, then, to find out what sites, forums and social networks your customers frequent. When examining those places, ask yourself and your digital media team the following questions:

  • Do people look for engagement from your company on those places or forums, or are they on those sites primarily to interact with other users?
  • How do your customers behave on those sites? Have they come for product support, to seek out advice or ideas, or primarily to rate your product and recommend it-or complain to others about it?
  • Are there contributors or customers who are frequenting the community? Do some of the same names come up in searches and in examination of site activities?

Understand the Power of Customer Influence, Referrals

The real power of digital media takes the reach and the influence that traditional media has had and distributes it among your customers, their friends, your prospects, their families and even complete strangers. This power to build awareness, to hold conversations and to shine light on companies and products magnifies and multiples with each passing interaction.

This is really what "going viral" means: Something is passed from person to person, building a popularity "snowball" that reaches proportions that in the past only the most costly, sophisticated traditional media campaign could have hoped to achieve. This distributed influence is powerful. In the world of digital media, it can turn with you-or against you-almost in the blink of an eye. Every move your company makes and every headline your organization generates can trigger a reaction.

For teams without a plan to manage this reaction, it can be simply overwhelming. What's worse is that a lack of engagement with that reaction can develop into another reaction itself, on the order of "Why is ABC Corporation not listening to its customers?"


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