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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.

To guard against this phenomenon, develop an engagement plan with your digital media team that includes factors such as the following:

  • The tone of your interactions with customers and visitors, whether it's short, conversational, casual or more formal
  • The level of engagement with your visitors, including whether you are having a conversation or sharing their content or simply pointing them to existing resources such as customer service and technical support
  • The frequency with which you will post to these digital media locations
  • What types of posts you will make--be they company news, updates, product suggestions, responses to customer service and support inquiries or others
  • How you will approach negative posts and manage the negative reactions that will surface

Digital Media Strategy Should Be Innovative, Disruptive

In this day and age, falling in line with another brand's digital media strategy is only half the battle. To be seen as a real contender-a brand, company or product on the cutting edge-you have to be disruptive. Turn customs on their heads. Create powerful energies that run against what is seen as normal. Be especially eager to embrace changes, and even powerful disruptions, if they are implemented with a view toward enhancing or improving the customer experience.

At the same time, being disruptive involves taking risks. Traditionally, corporations have run their communications through public relations and advertising departments. This method has worked well for a while in controlling messaging and ensuring less potentially offensive or tone-deaf communications are released. With social media, however, things are less buttoned-down, which creates more room for error.

It's important to be careful that the overall reality of current events, the environment and the "mood climate" are all taken into account when considering new, untested plans and strategies. For example, it's advisable not to run promotions when natural disasters strike, and sometimes it's unreasonable to continue to post to social media when tragic events like the Sandy Hook massacre happen.

Take care to consider whats happening in the world at the moment. Otherwise your brand could have a reaction disaster on its hands.

Know What Your Social Business Strategy Should Avoid

While building a list of things to do in digital media is important, there are also a couple of points to avoid. Here are two very big don'ts to add to your list.

First, don't be cheap. Social and digital platforms, especially consumer services that are free to join, often evoke thoughts in executives such as "Free advertising!" or "This shouldn't cost much." This is the complete wrong way to approach digital media. While you won't have a budget in the millions like you did with traditional television and radio advertising campaigns, you do have the cost of being unique, attentive and interactive. This means you'll need a staff, a marketing budget and tools such as analytics software to adequately service digital media properties.


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