In today’s marketplace one-way communication mediums (or, as I like to call them, one-sided broadcasting tools) such as print, radio and television aren’t enough to get you the sale. Potential customers want interaction, engagement and most importantly to feel like they have a stake in your product or service. Opening up a two-way dialogue helps in building and being involved in the community your target audience is part of. This is one of the most effective ways to break out your brand and specific product or service. As they say, actually I don’t know who “they ” are, I just heard it said before: “E-commerce has become R-commerce.” Relationship building, interactive dialogue, and community involvement are today’s keys to building an amazing business both online and off.
Effective Uses of Digital Communication
Give your audience and potential consumers priority over your company. Instead of trying to build a community, it’s waaay easier to join the existing community.
Example: Mozilla (Firefox browser!), is passionate about ensuring the internet remains a public resource and is accessible by everyone. Mozilla is totally non-commercial, there’s no fee to download Firefox, there are no ads you have to view in order to use Firefox. They are passionate about maintaining an open source application and a free internet, and it’s something the existing community online relates to and responds to Mozilla’s passion.
What is your company passionate about besides making sales? Understand that your company needs to be more than the bottom line when it comes to building a community.
Teach your audience/community about your company and products/services in a non-invasive manner. Prove how your product or service makes their lives easier, point out the benefits of doing business with you rather than the features. No one cares if you have the biggest or fastest mousetrap, they want to know it is going to capture more mice. Identify and diagnose your potential customer’s problems then show them how your company, product or service can solve those problems.
Be a “Real Person”
Putting the human element in your business is key. That can be putting your actual face out there, on your website and at real life events or giving your company its own personality. Give people someone they can relate to and identify with. Use your photo as an icon for social media channels and blog posts. Forget the stock images of the cool looking executives, that’s boring, be the person your audience can and wants to connect with.
Going Beyond Marketing
To be truly involved in the community you need to be present before AND after the sale. Don’t lose sight of consumer support and don’t try to fake it with automation, your customers are smart, they will be able to tell it’s automated. Being a reachable, useful resource to potential and existing customers and providing support will not only mean great customer service but will further your role as an industry influencer.
Moving from a “web development strategy” to a “web communication strategy” will step up your site, business and product or service into a larger, thriving marketplace. As you move your business from a narrow focus and your company’s website into a broader focus, your website will be incorporated into your overall internet marketing and communication plan and you’ll begin to see and feel the potential.
Implementation of your digital communication strategy should include tools like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and whichever platforms your audience is on, and a blog. In addition, you can search Google for forums and blogs that are related to your product or service and join and participate in those larger communities with a genuine interest in benefiting that community (like Reddit or Facebook Groups).
Passion for Success
In the end, passion is absolutely required. If you’re not fucking passionate about what you do and love your own product or service you will have a difficult time implementing a plan. Soliciting help is definitely something to consider. The task of planning and implementing an effective online communication strategy can be somewhat daunting.
Utilize the knowledge of someone who is an experienced Social Media Strategist (*cough*), you’ll be easing your load successfully and strategically.