The Importance of Digital Branding for Your Business
Being noticed in the digital landscape can make or break your business. Come on in and find out more about The Importance of Digital Marketing for your Business.
Everywhere you turn, it seems social media has infiltrated our daily activities. From the newest TikTok dances (we’ve all done them, don’t deny it) to following the latest election activity, anything you need is available at your fingertips. Social media networks have almost tripled their user base since their inception in 1996. With 4.71 billion people actively using social media platforms, the average user has 6.6 different social media accounts.
What does that mean for your business? If you’re not using social media for your company online, you’re missing a massive portion of customers. Your social media account doesn’t have to be a boring page either; bringing online personality is essential. But more importantly, establishing your digital footprint to make yourself visible is critical to your company’s success. This starts with recognizing where most potential customers are and how you’re going to remain visible in front of them online. In a sea of competitors, finding your unique selling point (USP) can help you stand out. Likewise, having a personalized voice online (instead of boring company jargon) can help you attract new viewers.
Everybody is Online
As technology increases our connection to the world around us, more people are joining social media than ever before. Studies have shown that 60.99% of the world’s population uses at least one social media platform. A monstrous 85% of those users are accessing social media through mobile sites (meaning, they’re checking their accounts from their phone). But social media isn’t just personal. Nearly 40% of all users globally use social media for work purposes.
The Global Web Index has shown that millennials or Gen Z-er have the most significant social media accounts, with approximately 8.4 accounts per user. Social media’s influence depends on the country they reside in (for example, India has the highest social network tally, sitting at 11.5 accounts per person) but remains standard among age brackets. In 2020 and 2021, growth hit approximately 13%, gaining over a billion users every day.
What does that mean for your business? The larger the number of active users, the bigger the net a company can throw out into the sea. Users receive instant, real-time updates, statuses, and postings every time they check their phone. Most social network platforms are free for company profiles, making it free marketing exposure for anyone with an account.
People are Savvy
Consumers pride themselves on being educated, especially when it comes to purchasing items or services online. People want to see a company that can stand on its own, with a reputation, presence, and professional background. With identity theft and phishing attempts continuing to plague shoppers, staying educated and informed is an essential safety tip.
Most buyers or interested consumers will run an internet search online of the product, service, or company they’re looking to use before stepping foot into the store. If you’re not listed on the first page of results, there’s a good chance you’re losing hundreds of potential leads. But it’s not just the search results that matter – a potential customer is going to check your website, social media accounts, and online reviews too. Reviews from past customers will significantly increase your brand’s authority overall (even if you receive some lousy feedback). A shopper wants to see how a company handles negative experiences just as much as they want to read positive reviews. A negative review allows you to approach the customer, make it right, and retain the relationship. New viewers are likely to give your business a chance if done correctly (with the customer experience in mind).
Social media is another avenue for potential customers to interact, engage, and investigate your company before buying. Consumers will browse through your online posts and interactions, see what’s shared, and get a better understanding of the brand before committing to buy. People love knowing the personality behind the brand—so stand out and let your true colors show. While not all social networks offer business pages directly, most allow accounts on behalf of a company through their network. For example, Instagram doesn’t necessarily offer a business profile, but anyone can create an online account for their business and promote products or services to their followers. Always remember that creating your own brand still must remain professional (even if you are using humor, sarcasm, or memes on the page). Never share anything political, condescending, or derogatory in any way.
It’s All About Time
Home deliveries have come a long way – with catalog shopping and the standard six to eight-week timeframe seeming disgusting. The retail landscape is rapidly changing, with many focusing on Amazon as the industry turning point. As eCommerce sales approached $3500 trillion in 2019, society is heading toward an increasingly demanding eCommerce platform. “The Amazon Effect” of how online shopping should work is paramount for business. Consumers log on, place an order, and receive the product the next day. Customer service backs the customer in virtually all instances of problems with delivery or product imperfection.
The Amazon Alexa allows consumers to add products, reorder, or start a shopping list with a simple voice command. These voice-controlled devices are directly connected to a consumer’s account, simplifying the buying process overall. While this functionality isn’t feasible for most businesses, it does serve as an important reminder for simplified buying process, automated responders (suggesting refills, for example), and fast processing times for businesses placing orders.
How does Amazon influence your online business? Simple—it has set the precedence for any retailer trying to compete. Online users know that Amazon can bring them millions of products with retail pricing (or minimal markup) and free shipping. The consumer is aware that typical shipping rates are two to three days (although many offer same-day shipping or next-day delivery). As a business, it’s important to benchmark these industry standards. They are increasingly becoming the norm for eCommerce and online shopping demands. While you may not be able to match the shipping speeds (without eating a substantial portion of the cost), you may be able to offer a customized experience with exceptional customer service. Business isn’t always trying to match another competitor; sometimes a business simply needs to stand out as unique in a sea of competition.
The New Business Card
Once upon a time, businesses had to use word of mouth, steep advertising or marketing efforts, or television commercials to promote sales or available products. Magazine advertisements, newspaper flyers, direct mail, or flyers were king in building interest. Yellow pages were filled with advertisements, contact details, and full-color ads throughout. Networking seminars and conferences had industry leaders flying all around the world in hopes of connecting with complementary companies. Business cards were passed back and forth, held closely in a Rolodex of contact information.
As technology has evolved, so have marketing efforts and strategies. We’re shifting toward an online realm, with minimal direct contact with the consumer. What used to appear in magazines is now shown on Instagram. Any television commercial can be a YouTube advertisement. If you want to promote a flash sale, Facebook pages and advertisements are the places to be. What used to work in a traditional environment simply doesn’t pull the same attention now. The ability to share and interact with posts puts consumers closer to businesses than ever before.
But what happens to these connections during a global pandemic? As the influence of technology continues to push businesses and consumers online, the pandemic changed the entire social landscape. While networking seminars were used to fill auditoriums with professionals, COVID-19 forced shutdowns. Business cards that once went hand-to-hand were impossible to share with social distancing. Instead, we developed a new wave of social networking online. Companies could connect with others globally without having to leave their home. Building connections through Facebook pages, Instagram tags, and Twitter became a streamlined marketing opportunity.
Traditional brick-and-mortar sales are continuing to push online, with social media channels guiding the mass of consumers. The sad reality is, if you’re not maximizing your social media marketing, potential customers are finding your direct competitors instead. Take a few moments to get to know each social media network, how it functions, and how to attract new viewers, followers, or fans to the account. Every network runs differently, so becoming comfortable with navigation and integration is important. The last thing your company needs is a social media oopsie while you uncover how to make a story or share a video on Instagram.
While there are currently thousands of social media networks available to individuals and businesses, only seven platforms bring over a billion active users (four of these networks are owned by Facebook). When deciding which channels to use for your business, you’ll want to identify your target audience. For example, if you’re looking for a steady source of sponsored advertising that brings in an older crowd, Facebook may be a decent network to start with. If you’re targeting your products toward teenagers, TikTok will easily be the best option.
Although you don’t want to simplify your social media strategy too much, having multiple profiles that are used minimally isn’t as effective. The focus should be quality content (over creating random, untargeted content). Build the social media profile to match your company’s brand and image to stand out above the competition. Anyone can have a company account that only share “professional” content. Show your funny side, adventurous spirit, or even your sarcastic attitude your family rolls their eyes at. Remember, social media isn’t just a way to advertise—it’s a way to be social with your potential and current customer base.