Got Digital Presence?

Of course you do!  Virtually every business and every person in America has a digital profile whether they like it or not.  The question is what are you doing with that digital Presence?  Are you building your brand?  Are you gaining customers and relationships?  Are you collaborating and informing?  Are you listening and learning?  Are you ensuring your business sustainability?

What is a Digital Presence?

A digital presence is everything digital about you and your company. It’s everything the company has said or anything that has been said, posted, tweeted, videoed, captured and otherwise put on the Web. Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, Google Places,  Pinterest, a blog or comments on a video, our digital footprint tells a story and only some of these stories can we control. A complete review of our digital presence also includes information about us that we cannot control. For example, many people write reviews and share information about you, your employees and your products with their friends.  Services scan the web and put together a collection of facts that this service thinks represents a person or company.

Why a Business Needs a Digital Presence

Customers are changing and are actively engaged in the messages that businesses send out. We know that Consumers are using digital methods (websites, friends via social networks, mobile apps) to research and buy products. In fact, according to a study by InterBrand, more than two-thirds of global consumers, young and old alike, seek online reviews or recommendations from others.

They want access to social networks, relevant content about products, reviews, videos, and more. People are becoming “hyper connected.” By focusing  on the behaviors of connected customers vs the tools they use, we are able to determine what they value and what they will pay for.  David L. Rogers in his book The Network is your Customer, lists five key network behaviors of today’s customers: the desire to access (anything and now), engage (content relevant to their needs), customize (choose from an array of information, products and services), connect (share ideas and opinions) and collaborate (on collective projects).  Basically summed up as I want what I want, when I want it.

Hyper-connected Consumer Trend

Most companies are aware of this growing “hyper-connectivity” but haven’t acted on it and do not have a strategy to address it. Taking advantage of this change requires a strategy that acknowledges the “hyper connected”  mentality and the need for constant flow of information.

According to David L. Rogers “a digital strategy is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have. Every business today is shifting from a world of mass markets and mass production, to a world of customer networks that are interconnected, dynamic, and powerful.”  All of the connections between consumers, between consumers and business, are a network. The customer was once isolated and passive, relying on a one-way flow of information from the mass media. Now they interact and share so that their videos, review, and campaigns can reach millions and have profound impacts, both positive and negative, on companies.  Brand management, advertising and PR are no longer about constructing and broadcasting a message, but about dynamic, immediate interactions  with the message within this new network enabled by social media, the web, mobile devices, and the hyper-connected user.

Complexity Demands a Strategy

The complexity of the digital network and the speed of change demands a company approach their Digital Presence with a strategic and comprehensive approach.   Not only can these strategies represent your brand, and capitalize on consumer touch points  but it can be used to achieve diverse business objectives, including product differentiation, speed to market, effective sales channels, reduced costs for customer service, customer loyalty and word of mouth, brand awareness among hard-to-reach target segments, customer insight, expanded innovation resources and improved knowledge management.

Because that’s really the goal, right?