Back to basics – what exactly is digital and social media marketing? In its most simple form, it is type of marketing that utilises digital technologies through the internet, social media, mobile phones or any type of digital platform.
The main point of difference for digital and social marketing is that it is primarily data-driven, giving you access to insights that allow you to facilitate more personalised content / advertisements which, in turn, drives a higher engagement and results for your brand.
There are three clear areas that make digital marketing a very powerful tool for any marketeer / brand:
- Instantly measurable: results are immediate with most forms of digital marketing, so you can tell within a few hours how impactful your campaign is and what results are being delivered
- Instantly optimisable: with the immediacy of results, this also means you can optimise your campaign in real-time to ensure you are constantly delivering against a KPI – rather than waiting for the campaign to end and then applying learnings the next time
- Targeted: more so than any other marketing discipline, digital marketing allows you to be hyper targeted, ensuring you are always hitting the end-user that you want to reach
In terms of the digital marketing and social media channels at play, there are three clear paths for any brand:
- Owned: these are the channels that the brand “owns” – including website, email marketing and, of course, social media channels
- Earned: this is the advocacy part of digital marketing, converting influential online users to speak favourably about your brand – i.e. influencer marketing
- Paid: this is where there is investment to pay for visitors, reach or conversions through search, display ad networks or affiliate marketing
Digital Marketing Strategy
This is the master plan for your brand across all the various digital platforms. It is the blueprint that sets out your brand objectives, the tools at your disposal and how you will get there.
The overarching digital marketing strategy helps you to define digital marketing campaigns – think of it in the sense that it is your long-term approach / goal and the “campaigns” are the roads you are paving to reach that end point.
An overall digital marketing strategy focuses your campaigns throughout the year, allowing you to be single-minded on the end goal. But it should have a level of flex within the plan to ensure you are continually optimising as you go – test, learn, apply should be the approach.
Having this established strategy allows you to ensure that all touchpoints are aiming in the right direction – especially if there is a number of agencies with different disciplines looking after different channels (i.e. social media marketing agency vs. email marketing agency).
The other benefit of having this in place is that you can then align to wider marketing comms, ensuring your brand is singing from the same “marketing hymn sheet”.
Here is a simple guide to get you started on your digital marketing strategy:
- Define your brand – This is where your brand guidelines come into play – what is your USP, what is your tone / style and what do you want consumers to think, feel and love about your brand
- Develop customer profiles – Do you research around your audience and build a demographic profile for them – age, gender, location, habits (including online habits) and the motivations that drive them
- Define objectives and KPIs – Agreeing what you want to achieve – which needs to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound
- Agree key digital channels – Flowing on from your customer profiles – which channels do they use and where do you need to appear
- Perform competitor analysis – Look at what your competition is doing and conduct a SWOT analysis – this can be great learning for what you should (or shouldn’t) be doing
- Manage and allocate resource appropriately – Ensure you have the manpower (both internally and externally) to put into action what you want to achieve from your digital marketing strategy
- Review and optimise – Test, learn and apply – this is the mantra for digital marketing and should be continually applied throughout the course of your campaigns